Lower Taxes, lower spending, simplified tax system
No one likes paying taxes, but we must have some system of revenue for government. The issue really is whether or not taxes are being used wisely, legally, and efficiently. In addition, is our current system the best way to collect taxes? I would say no to both of those issues.
Our government punishes people for saving money, getting out of debt, and selling products. We actually tax all the things we should encourage: we tax people when they buy, when they sell, when they produce, as they work, when they retire, and when they die. Taxes are so complicated that people need tax preparation software and tax advisers. Every decision we make in life seems to boil down to one question: "How will this affect my taxes?"
The conversation in DC centers on needing more "revenue." The conversation should be about spending less and changing the way we tax. There's no question that the system MUST be simplified, and we must spend money more efficiently. Currently almost 50% of all people pay no federal income tax; that inequity must stop. Every person in America should pay something in taxes, even if it is a small amount. When someone receives benefits not from his own work but from the work of others, that is the redistribution of wealth. Instead each person should carry his or her own load.
Corporate taxes, payroll taxes, income taxes, estate taxes, fees, and, now, value added taxes are being discussed on top of the other taxes. The time is long overdue for a massive change in our tax burden and our tax code. Our outdated tax system does not need a remodel; we need to tear it down and create a new system. I propose changing our system from taxing income to taxing consumption with a simple system like the FairTax. The FairTax eliminates the income tax, estate tax, corporate tax, and payroll tax and replaces it with a simple system of an across-the-board consumption tax for all Americans. If you are wealthy and buy more products, you pay more tax. If you purchase very few products, you pay very little tax.
The income tax did not become an American fixture until 1913. (By the way, the income tax was originally only on the "wealthy" in America.) The form 1040 in the year 1935 was accompanied by a two-page instruction booklet; the corresponding instruction booklet for 2007 was 155 pages. In fact, today's short form, at 48 lines, has double the number of lines of the 1945 version of the standard 1040 tax return. To put this in perspective, the current tax regulations are NINE times longer than the Bible at over seven million words. If you want to get answers to your tax questions, there are more than 1,700 publications, forms, and instructions on the IRS website.
The IRS was appropriated $11.6 billion in fiscal year 2010, which is more than the amount Congress appropriated for missile defense programs. In January 2008, the IRS had an annual payroll of nearly a half a billion dollars and employed more than 100,000 people--more than the combined number of employees (as of January 2008) at the Departments of State, Labor, Energy, Housing & Urban Development, and Education, along with the Census Bureau. When you pay your taxes, remember that a huge portion of your tax burden is used to pay for the collection of your taxes.
Keeping all this in perspective, the enemy is not the IRS or the staff at the IRS. The tax problem is based in Congress and career politicians who write the tax rules. They have gone to Washington, DC, year after year with promises to make this better; instead they have made it worse. We do not need a tweak in the tax code; we need a flush. The tax code has become a method of behavior control, and Americans have allowed it by continually electing people who enjoy the power.