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#$#%^$ Taxes!

Well, I finished working up my taxes, then I did what I always do these days - I took my finished work to my tax preparer anyway.

Why? Well, in spite of some of my posts, I am not a complete idiot, and where the government is concerned I have learned - through painful experience - to take as few chances as possible. If the blinkin' tax code would stay the same from year to year, I could have confidence that I could learn how they want things. But the Congress of the United States lives - to some degree - to serve other interests than the needs and ideals of the common taxpayer, so every single year they change the rules.

EVERY.

SINGLE.

YEAR.

I have more than a sneaking suspicion, that there is not a single person who has been elected to the House or Senate, who has done his or her own tax preparation in many years. If there were, they would long ago have noted that this ritual of self-disembowelment to satisfy the IRS that we are complyng with their draconian edicts. I'm not blaming the Internal Revenue Service, actually, but those narcissistic mandarins in D.C. who contend that the fairest tax system must be one where everyone is led to worry that they have made a mistake which will cost them, and to miss a few details which could let them get a few bucks back. So we are driven to either deliberately short-change ourselves in the hope of staying out of trouble, or else we pay someone to check our work and get a little bit more of our own money back, but for which we pay a fee.

Withholding from each and every paycheck is not enough, we have to do more paperwork to prove what is already known.

And I do not recall a single politician in the last half-decade, who seriously proposed a bill to change that racket.

Well, that's my rant for today, but I am strangely confident that someone else may share my sentiment.


Comments (15)

"And I do not recall a sing... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"And I do not recall a single politician in the last half-decade, who seriously proposed a bill to change that racket."

http://linder.house.gov/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Resources.Home&Resource_id=1

Will this do? I've read as... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Will this do? I've read as much as I can find on this, and it looks viable to me. However - as you point out there's a hell of an entrenched base that doesn't WANT things to be simple, for us to have control of what we pay.

http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_main

The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality, and, through companion legislation, the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

The FairTax Act (HR 25) is nonpartisan legislation. It abolishes all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, and self-employment taxes and replaces them with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax administered primarily by existing state sales tax authorities.

Oh jeez, DJ. You opened th... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Oh jeez, DJ. You opened the door to all the Fair Tax© zealots. They're nearly as mindless in their devotion as the Randbots are to extreme libertarianism.

Please, JLawson, I have asked this several times before and not one Fair Tax© proponent has answered this: OK, I'll grant on day 1 that the Fair Tax© is less draconian and byzantine than the current tax code. How do you keep it from becoming just as crazy as the current tax code? How do you keep the pre-bate from becoming a kick-back to special interest groups? How do you keep congress from exempting certain products or industries from the retail tax?

kbiel:How do you ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

kbiel:
How do you keep it from becoming just as crazy as the current tax code? How do you keep the pre-bate from becoming a kick-back to special interest groups? How do you keep congress from exempting certain products or industries from the retail tax?

The fact that you've asked these question indicates that you don't understand that which you criticize. Lemme guess.. you must be a 'Liberal' ?

Lemme guess _Mike_, you don... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Lemme guess _Mike_, you don't have an answer so ad hominem will have to do.

Just so you know _Mike_, I prefer a flat tax backed by a constitutional amendment as the best solution. I am also aware that perfect is the enemy of good and I would gladly support the fair tax if it ever started going anywhere. That does not mean that it is the ideal tax structure.

Further, I am not impressed with the fact that people seem to defend the fair tax as a matter of dogma instead of pragmatism. It does not speak well of the fair tax movement that you have to defend it by classifying anyone who questions the dogma as a 'Liberal'.

kbiel,First, let m... (Below threshold)
Sky Captain:

kbiel,

First, let me say that I am far from a "zealot" on the Fair Tax.
I truly believe that every taxpayer in the US needs to read _and understand_ the Fair Tax, yourself included.

Having done the reading on it, I do believe it is _far_ more viable than our current tax code.
It is even more viable than a "flat tax", as it _may_ allow people to keep more of their earned money.

Most importantly, many companies would soon invest their funds in the US as the taxes on investments would have disappeared.

Finally, kbiel, if you really have a problem with people treating the Fair Tax as dogma, how do you feel about "the Goracle"?

The title alone is a big pr... (Below threshold)
LenS:

The title alone is a big problem -- "The Fair Tax". Fair is a very subjective term and tends to be defined by each person differently.

And kbiel is right, Fair Tax advocate tend to treat it as dogma and opponents and critics as heretics.

Give me a flat tax any day over any sales tax. In a few years, it'd be riddled with as many exceptions and distortions as the current system. And anyone who thinks it would be easier to collect and regulate has clearly never dealt with sales taxes from a business perspective. But finally, any tax that targets consumption is one just itching to start another Great Depression.

How about a law: all member... (Below threshold)
John S:

How about a law: all members of Congress must calculate and file their own taxes: no software, no calculators, just a pad of paper and a pencil. Oh, and how about MANDATORY audits for each year they remain in Congress.

Easy now, the retards in co... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Easy now, the retards in congress have a lot of retarded friends/relatives (something about birds of a feather) that need employment at something not too 'taxing' so they become tax perparers. I do like the 35% + reduction in taxes I paid for 2006 compared to 2001. I'll do just what they think, waste the refund on something worthless instead of letting them waste in by paying off their contributors by buying 24 billion dollars worth of Spinish and peanuts.

Lemme guess _Mike_, you ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Lemme guess _Mike_, you don't have an answer so ad hominem will have to do.

Hardly. You failed to demonstrate even the most basic understanding of that which you were attacking. I suppose referring to people as zealots and Randbots aren't ad hominem ?

Let's revisit a couple your basic questions for which I criticized you.

How do you keep it from becoming just as crazy as the current tax code? How do you keep the pre-bate from becoming a kick-back to special interest groups? How do you keep congress from exempting certain products or industries from the retail tax?

If the rate and the methods are specified as part of a Constitutional Amendment, Congress would not have the power to alter them.

It does not speak well of the fair tax movement that you have to defend it by classifying anyone who questions the dogma as a 'Liberal'.

I didn't classify you as a 'Liberal' for a statement against the fair tax but rather for criticizing something which you, apparently, hadn't bothered to read and comprehend. My response was, in tone, no different that your post (e.g. those zelous Randbots).

kbiel -Like the cu... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

kbiel -

Like the curret tax code isn't a friggin' honeycomb of special-interest legislation, drippin' out for everyone EXCEPT the average taxpayer...

Do yourself a favor, kbiel - go to the site and actually READ about it, go through the FAQs, go through their calculations, and realize that 'Fair' means EVERYONE gets the same. Not "Hey, they're getting more than I am, and that's not fair!" sort of 'Fair', but Warren Buffet would get the EXACT same prebate as Rosie Minimum-Wage and would pay the EXACT same percentage on anything he would buy. No exceptions, no provisions, no special-interest deductions.

It's not hard to understand at all - but if you're used to thinking the government DESERVES your money, and you're grateful for the bit it lets you keep and maybe gives you back when you file your taxes, I can see how it's hard to comprehend that our current tax structure is 'progressive' only in the way a large anchor could be described as a 'mobility asset'.

It really is worth your time to examine, and not hard to understand at all.

kbiel, as long as we have a... (Below threshold)

kbiel, as long as we have a congress we will never be safe from their machinations and manipulations of taxes. You can't stop them from all the things you're worried they'll do. They're doing it now as it is. And in abundance. However, no one has yet come up with a better idea than the Fair Tax. The fact alone that it will provide an unprecedented boon to our economy, which the current tax system stifles, and would bring more companies back to the states which have left for tax havens in other countries, is enough to give it serious consideration.

It's not a matter of being a Fair Tax "zealot", a term you have applied so lovingly to we who have actually read the book, heard the arguments, attended lively debates and evaluated the pros and cons of such a system and come up with a determination that it's a far cry better than what we have. It's a matter of your seeming attitude that while it may be better, it's not perfect, so let's keep the horrible one we have now?

As much as despise the curr... (Below threshold)
stakeHolder:

As much as despise the current tax code, I think we would be no better off with a flat tax. It would be the incarnation of what we have now. Just let one special interest get a loophole, then the flood gates open and were right back where we started from.

The issue for me with the current tax code and a flat tax is privacy. Both of these require me to report income, investments, charities, etc. Why does the government need to know that?

The FairTax eliminates this this type of reporting.

Hardly. You failed... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
Hardly. You failed to demonstrate even the most basic understanding of that which you were attacking.

Really? And how have I done that? I have only asked one question that not one fair tax proponent has yet to answer (you're answer was nonsensical as I'll demonstrate in a moment). Instead you and Sky Captain assume that I haven't read the information presented at fairtax.org. You also both assumed that I could not be a conservative because I am questioning the fair tax.

I suppose referring to people as zealots and Randbots aren't ad hominem ?

I did call you zealots and I compared you to Randbots. Your response and that of Sky Captain have demonstrated my contention that most fair tax proponents prefer dogma over reason. Ad hominems are quite effective if true and pertinent to the question. Calling me a liberal is neither true nor pertinent to the question. I should not have started out with an ad hominem, but even when I've tried reasoned discourse with the fair tax proponents that I have discussed this with, I've never gotten very far. JLawson didn't even read my question and not only assumed that I haven't read the web site, but that I preferred our current tax code. Oyster at least read my concern and answered honestly. I'll get back to him in a minute.

If the rate and the methods are specified as part of a Constitutional Amendment, Congress would not have the power to alter them.

And you accuse me of not reading the site, _Mike_? The only constitutional amendment proposed is to repeal the 16th amendment. That does not restrict congress from doing to the fair tax what they have done to our current tax system.

It's not a matter of being a Fair Tax "zealot", a term you have applied so lovingly to we who have actually read the book, heard the arguments, attended lively debates and evaluated the pros and cons of such a system and come up with a determination that it's a far cry better than what we have. It's a matter of your seeming attitude that while it may be better, it's not perfect, so let's keep the horrible one we have now?

Oyster, you seem to prefer to not be considered a zealot and yet you falsely assume that I have not also "actually read the book, heard the arguments, attended lively debates and evaluated the pros and cons of such a system". I've never accused the fair tax proponents of not honestly "determin[ed] that it's a far cry better than what we have", but most of you have a hard time understanding that someone might have read the same book, heard the same arguments, attended the same debates, and evalutated the same pros and cons and yet still have questions. I do think the fair tax would initially be better than what we currently have, but the fair tax does not solve the real problem. The real problem is congress and its inability to say no to special interests groups asking for a special tax break. That problem will manifest itself whether it's a flat income tax, a federal retail sales tax, or the current "progressive" income tax.

I've already stated that I would support the fair tax proposal if it actually gains some traction and that may happen as one of my senators (John Cornyn) is co-sponsoring the Fair Tax Act. In my estimation, a flat income tax backed by a constitutional amendment would be best. The fair tax backed by a constitutional amendment that does more than repeal the 16th amendment would be my second choice. The current Fair Tax Act is my third choice. An abolishment of all direct taxation would be my fourth choice. And keeping the current income tax system is no choice at all.

kbiel: your "seeming" atti... (Below threshold)

kbiel: your "seeming" attitude was just that. You jumped in briefly using negative adjectives with no real substance other than stating age old problems we're all accutely aware of. And to be honest, _mike_'s statemnt that "You failed to demonstrate even the most basic understanding of that which you were attacking," was correct. You didn't give any indication that you were well versed. No, I don't have "a hard time understanding that someone might have read the same book, heard the same arguments,..." etc. That's why I ended it with a question mark. Otherwise, thank you for expounding further on your opinion. You're much clearer now.

Your statement, "That problem will manifest itself whether it's a flat income tax, a federal retail sales tax, or the current "progressive" income tax," is more to the point what I would rather address.

This is an issue that will rear it's ugly head no matter the system. These people are pros at manipulating whatever system is in place. Therefore it must be addressed separately to protect us from all their manipulations whether it be taxation, social issues, economic issues, etc. Backed with a constitutional amendment? Yes.

I think stakeholder hit one nail on the head too. We will be afforded much more privacy which will put a crimp on some of the special interests. They won't be able to gather the data they can also manipulate to justify their behavior. They, as politicians, are quite adept at using this data to incite class envy as well. John Edwards' "two Americas" commentary is the first to come to mind.

And the Fair Tax is my first choice. As I stated, because I think the privacy issue is extremely important and I think it would do far more for our economy than any other system.




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