Friday, February 27, 2015

No New Taxes

No New Taxes is a hard slogan to run an electoral campaign against.  Walter Mondale discovered that when he was honest enough to declare that new taxes were necessary.  George H W Bush, #41, raised taxes after campaigning long and hard on “read my lips, no new taxes.”  His own party fried him in Texas oil and has not forgiven him to this day.  Even without examples, it is hard to imagine anyone running a campaign asking for a tax hike.

But what are we to do?  “No new taxes” has gotten us into the mess we are in.  Jobs that drift offshore, through the roof deficits, and a Debt that is threatening to drown us all.  Yet we refuse to pay.  That is what taxes are: payments on our indebtedness.

Frankly, I want to “broaden the base” (that awful Republican slogan), I want to raise taxes on those who are so underpaid that they have no federal tax obligation today.  They cannot afford a 1% tax but they should pay it anyway, they need to own their shared responsibility for our national welfare.  I want to hike taxes on the successful and especially the super-successful, I want them to pay their fair share, or more than their fair share (it all depends on what you consider fair; I think that a very progressive (AKA "graduated") tax rate schedule is fair as it asks those with the most money to pay the most taxes).  Then there are those others who pay no taxes, those who live off their wealth and those whose “income” is all taxed at a special capital gains rate.  The special capital gains rate should be abolished and capital gains income should be taxed as regular income, at the higher rate that income is taxed at.  And capital gains on the net income (profits minus losses) of this year’s cashing in needs to be rethought, else it will always be translated into large refunds for the rich and famous who then turn around on January 2nd and re-purchase the stuff they sold on December 31st.  Then there are those who live off their wealth, no income at all.  Wealth – one’s Net Worth – needs to be taxed too.*  A property tax where all forms of wealth are property that can be taxed.  But don’t worry your pretty little heads, I mean a Net Worth that can legitimately be called “wealth,” you know – like millions of dollars or gold bars.

Yes, I know this sounds oppressive, tyrannical even.  But we do have a government and no one is suggesting that we should choose anarchy over a government.  What is anarchy?  When people hear the word, it feels like chaos to their ears.   But anarchy MEANS "no government."  And no one is really suggesting that.  And yes, we choose to have government provide us with services – a standing military, a Court system, education, roads and bridges and dams, national parks, libraries, police forces, fire fighters, etc, etc, etc.  And if we choose to have these services, is it oppression or tyranny to ask those who receive these services, who benefit from these services, to pay for them?  And if we ask those who benefit the most to pay the most, is that oppression?

So, man up, America, we have a Debt to pay down and we have to do it with higher taxes.  And if this means you, be thankful that you earn an income worthy of being taxed at a higher rate; you are a benefactor of your own country, so stop your bitchin’!

* (lifted from my own post on Obamacare) Perhaps 5% of everyone's Net Worth (assets minus liabilities) ought to be added to each tax payer's "taxable income."  Yeah, I know, this sounds really awful because you are probably thinking: "what will that do to MY tax burden?"  And for most of you the answer is: not much.  In the tax overhaul that I would recommend, middle tax brackets would be taxed at lower rates than they are now,  A home-owner with a $400,000 home (mortgage all paid up) would see his taxable income increase by $20,000, and that extra income might be subjected to a tax rate of 30% for additional taxes of $6,000.  But the lower rates that he would be paying over-all would result in less taxes than he pays now.  Taxing wealth as income really matters when the wealth is really significant.