Well folks, I’m finally back. Long lay-off; a lot has been going on.
My first posts concerned how convoluted the U.S. Tax Code has become, where I identified some of the far out perversions the “Code” has taken over the years:
- growing by 50,000+ pages in just 4 years between 2006 and 2010, BEFORE ObamaCare; with the IRS being the “gate keeper” for that “cluster”, there’s no telling what the Code will grow by in the near future;
- taxing assets at death, assets that were built from income that has previously been taxed, just like taxing corporate dividends as income, dividends paid out of corporate income that has already been taxed (let’s not forget, Congress raised the rate these dividends are taxed at from 15% to 20% for higher income individuals in the “Fiscal Cliff Legislation”);
- allowing spouses to gift, tax free, to each other in an unlimited fashion but placing limits on everyone else’s ability to gift assets to other parties;
- allowing Private Jets and Over the Road Tractors to be “written off” over 5 & 3 years respectively, when there isn’t any realistic way they only have an economic life of 5 or 3 years; etc.
There are many more perversions of the Code; however, let’s cut-to-the-chase. I am an advocate of a “Flat Tax”; taxing EVERYONE at the same rate. Talk about fair. EVERYONE taxed at the same rate on ALL their income, from the 1st dollar to whatever dollar thay make; what could be more equitable than that?!?
A “Straight Flat Tax” would be the simplest, most equitable, most fair means of taxing American citizens and business; cut out all deductions, carve outs, loopholes and tax everyone on whatever income they make at the same rate, but I know that will never happen. The government can’t do ANYTHING easy; it has to make EVERYTHING difficult, and let’s face it, all the K Street Lobbyists have to get paid, so here come the deductions, the loop holes, the “special interest” carve-outs.
You want to support the housing industry, more support than the satisfaction of owning the place you live in or do business from as opposed to paying someone else for the privalege, then allow deductions for mortgage interest. However, how about limiting the amount of interest you can deduct, say to the 1st $250,000 of principal on a mortgage. Give an incentive for lower income folks to purchase property, but if you can afford a loan of more than $250,000, then you can afford to lose the deduction for any interest you would pay on that larger loan.
You want to support charitable interests, the entities that help folks not so fortunate, more support than the good feelings of helping people less fortunate, then allow deductions for Charitable Contributions; however, with this one, allow any and all Charitable Contributions to be deductible, but tighten the value confirmation process significantly! Let’s face it, the IRS will have a lot less to do with a Flat Tax, so let’s give it something to sink its teeth into. Allowing ALL Charitable Contributions to be deductible would have a dual effect:
- supporting the industry that supports the less fortunate, allowing the government to step back from its entitlement mentality, and
- giving the more fortunate a way to lower the tax they have to pay;
not a bad idea, don’t you think? As I said, there would have to be a more stringent means of verifying the value of contributions being made, but I’m sure the government could take care of creating those standards.
This carving out of areas for tax avoidance could go on and on forever, but that is exactly why the U.S. Tax Code is the way it is today. Make it simple, make it straight forward, don’t muddy it up by putting in some deduction or incentive for every special interest imaginable and you clean up one big mess, otherwise known as the U.S. Tax Code.