October 1, 2012
Reynolds: With Liberty and Taxes for All
According to a national poll last week, 79% of Americans think that all Americans should pay income tax, regardless of their incomes. That includes 85% of Republicans and 83% of independents. Even Democrats agree, by an overwhelming majority: 71%. Politicians should take note: these are huge margins.
These Americans understand instinctively what a recent report from the Tax Foundation said: "Aside from the revenue impact of not having 58 million Americans pay income taxes, economists worry about the social and political effects of having so many people disconnected from the cost of government — a phenomenon known as fiscal illusion. The concern is that when people perceive the cost of government to be cheaper than it really is, they will demand ever more government benefits because they either don't feel the cost directly or believe that others will be paying those costs. Indeed,when one takes into account those who do not file, about half of all households pay no federal income tax, making the situation particularly worrisome in a majority-rule democracy." ...
With the likelihood of some sort of tax reform in the next four years, we should look to structure things in ways that discourage overspending, and over borrowing, by your elected leaders. Giving everyone some skin in the game might do that.
I'd like to see a system where everyone pays some minimum amount of tax — enough to notice, say 2%-5% of gross income. And that amount should go up noticeably when the federal government spends more, and go down noticeably when it spends less.
In a given year, that might only affect some individuals by a few hundred dollars, but as anyone who has followed local-government property tax fights knows, people can get pretty exercised over a few hundred dollars when they know it's coming out of their pocket and not someone else's.
We're going to have to get federal spending and borrowing under control. Making over spending painful to the electorate is a good way to start. And a lot of Americans seem to get that. Politicians, take note.
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Pay your "fair share," forty-seven percenters!
Posted by: Woody | Oct 1, 2012 4:52:11 PM