What changes to the federal income tax would you like to see?

Today’s the deadline for Americans to pay their income tax. Today’s Question: What changes to the federal income tax would you like to see?

  • Clark

    A flat tax with some progressivity and limited deductions would be nice but I don’t expect much to change given lies on both the right and left.

    There are not enough wealthy taxpayers in the U.S. To solve our spending problem.

    It’s a huge mess and I am not optimistic of a positive outcome.

  • marybird6

    I would like to see (just like the temporary Bush Tax Cuts) a temporary Buffet Rule to assist in tackling the deficit..

  • If I earn a modest living based without doing anything fancy with my money, I shouldn’t have to hire a fancy accountant to know I’m doing my taxes right.

  • Hiram

    I would like to see the tax rates on unearned income be the same as taxes on earned income.

  • Kurt

    Simplify the form, eliminate all credits and loopholes and require everyone to pay something-even the 50% or so who pay no Federal income tax but want the other 50% to pay ever more.

  • Phil

    I went back to school a few years ago and, at one point, I had to write a paper on the tax system. I did a lot of research and discovered, there is very little fairness. As a percent of income, the more one makes the less that individual pays. I would like to see fairness.

  • Emery

    If the budget is a government’s primary concern, then the evidence is that reforms which close loopholes and broaden the tax base are a more efficient way to bring in more money than higher taxes for the rich. Unfortunately, where politicians are concerned, that is a very big if.

  • Christopher Correia

    What change? How about abolition! A simple income tax with, some years ago, two pages of instructions has now become a monstrosity that requires even households with relatively simple financial situations to have to pay for, minimally, software, if not a professional to make sure that they are properly completing their reporting. If it’s too complex for a sixth grader, it’s too complex.

    Tax us when we buy goods or services, but don’t require the entire country to go through this extravagant and ridiculous quasi-religion and onerous ritual every year.

  • James

    How is it that the 1% can be paying 40% of the taxes, and yet raising their rates would have little effect on the deficit?

    One of these numbers has to be wrong (hint: ‘federal individual income tax’ is a small proportion of the total; payroll taxes are much flatter and are paid primarily by the middle class)

    Honestly, guys, if you’re making over 350K/year, the difference in your life from paying 25% or 35% in taxes is not very much. If you’re making 65,000/year, the same is NOT true.

    Us 5%-ers (I don’t quite make the 1% myself) have a very good life. We need to take a long, hard look at the consequences if the broad populace decides we’ve fixed the system? Calling ourselves job-creators sounds great, but what happens when people find that we’re better described as yacht-buyers and Chinese-job-creators? The response is unlikely to be rational or helpful.

  • reggie

    Tax all income at the same rate, including dividend and capital gain income accruing to “investors” like Mr. Romney.

    Tax as income the contributions received by churches and other non-profit organizations.

    Provide a personal deduction equal to a realistic assessment of the federal poverty level, then have a progressive income tax structure with few or no deductions above that.

  • Gary F

    So, you folks want capital gains and dividend income to be taxed at 30%?

    Really?

    So, the golden goose will keep laying golden eggs even though it’s being hit on the head with a 2×4?

  • Steve the Cynic

    Simplify! Put the likes of H&R Block out of business.

  • Bruce

    Eventually, we will have to enact measures to reduce the deficit. These measures will necessarily have to include higher revenues. Initially, they may be called user fees, offsetting receipts or other euphemisms, but they will raise revenues. Polls show that Americans are not averse to soaking the rich or taxing big businesses. Eventually, these will be enacted as well. After maybe ten years of doing this, Republicans will finally support a VAT as a tax reform, which will be used to undo many of the previously-enacted revenue increases. They will rationalize their support for a VAT on the grounds that they are not raising taxes, but only changing their composition. But in fact it will be a retroactive tax increase.

    Personally, I think it would make more sense to avoid a decade of economic and financial pain and do what is necessary today. But there is no possible way of getting even a trivial tax increase through Congress today, let alone a VAT.

  • Gary F

    We don’t have an revenue problem we have an income problem.

    No level of taxation will keep up with our current level of spending.

    If you tax something, you get less of that activity. Increase the tax on cigarettes, you get less smoking, increase the tax on gasoline, you get less consumption.

    You increase the tax on work, you will get less work.

    Better start finding out who John Galt is.

    What happens when the producers aren’t willing to produce? Do you put a gun to their head?

  • Robert

    Complex tax codes mean that all taxpayers, rich and poor, pay more for accountants, bankers, and lawyers who seek to exploit loopholes. This is, on an economy-wide basis, pure and simple waste.

    Imagine what those accountants, bankers and lawyers could do with their brain power if they lost their current tax jobs and set their creative abilities towards more productive uses. And over time, there will again be more people training as engineers and not sharks.

    Tax complexity also drives businesses away from the USA, meaning lost jobs.

    Government will grow with tax complexity, particularly at the IRS, but also at lobby groups seeking more tax loopholes.

  • Gary F

    We don’t have an revenue problem we have an income problem.

    Correction. We have a spending problem.

  • Larry M

    When it comes to capital gains tax I think we need to reward only long term investments such as dividends and interest. To give breaks to speculative and even micro trading is just bad for our economy as American companies are more worried about their quarterly reports than their long term future. That mind set had a lot to do with American auto companies needing bailing out and them only investing in large high profit vehicles at a time when consumers needed smaller more efficient models.

    I also think that the wealthy need to pay more taxes. From the 1950’s to the 1970’s the top tax rate ranged from 70 to 92 percent. We built our highway infrastructure, the internet, put a man on the moon, our educational system was the envy of the world and the middle class was thriving.

    I’m tired of the wealthy whining like babies about how high their taxes are when they used to be much higher.

  • Gary F

    “We built our highway infrastructure, the internet, put a man on the moon, our educational system was the envy of the world and the middle class was thriving.”

    That’s because Japan, England, Germany, Italy, and France were bombed to smithereens and they had to spend all their time just trying to recover.

    We have to compete on a global market. It’s a lot tougher these days.

    And look at Europe and the shape they are in, aren’t we supposed to learn by other people’s mistakes?

  • Larry M

    To Gary and how could we afford to win the war? We had a tax base to support that too. We didn’t put if off budget and “pay” (borrow) for them with supplementary bills like Bush did with Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Rick

    I’d like to see three or four basic rates with no deductions/refundable credits. Get rid of the free money in the tax code.

    Oh, and maybe provide a primer on how the marginal tax works. I get tired of hearing people talk about the ‘fact’ that they’re paying 35% of their income in taxes if they’re in the 35% bracket.

  • P. Nielsen

    One that is much simpler and fair, with provision for exempting the very low income. One that has the ability to go after and track down those who have not or will not pay their fair share…that means having enough dedicated staff to do the work, something that is not being done at present. A tax code that allows no person, family, corporation, etc., to offshore their money or investments in secret accounts in order to avoid paying their fair share. Deductions allowed only for medical expenses over a certain amount, and appropriate charitable donations. Absolutely no business or corporate expenses should be allowed.

  • Adam Ruggiero

    Christopher Correia ~ Hallelujah! Could not have said it better myself (though apparently I’m trying right now).

    The same principle should apply to the financial system as well: if it’s too obscure and ridiculous for a sixth grader, throw it out! Try explaining that instead of giving me $1 for an apple that costs $1 (or less), you’re going to take the apple on credit, not give me anything – see, I’ll be paid by an outside entity ten states away (and don’t forget to mention that I will pay THAT institution a small fee for extending the credit to you, which allowed you to take the apple in the first place), and at the end of the month, you will then pay that institution the $1 for the apple, which is now LONG gone, as well as a small amount of interest (and possible other fees which were made explicitly clear in the 40-page, 6-point font document you must have read when you were initially granted your “credit card.”). Also, you should know that the company ten states away that lent you that dollar sold your debt to another company fifteen states away, and they have bundled the cost of your apple with the apple, orange, coloring book, tree house purchases of thousands of your friends – so be sure to read THEIR 40-page, 6-point font terms and conditions and don’t be surprised if that apple, which is now fertilizing someone’s lawn, puts you back $5 or even $10.

    And oh yeah, here’s your 1040 EZ (note: that apple is NOT deductible). Any questions?

  • georges

    I would like to see proper enforcement of income laws.

    All things of value that are received from an employer ARE compensation for work done by the employee. They are income, and need to be included, and taxed, as ordinary income. Examples:

    1) Medical insurance. The value of any insurance paid for by the employer is income and needs to be taxed.

    2) Party!!! Such as the GSA party in Las Vegas. The cost of hotel room, food, drink, clown uniform, etc. that accrues to an employee must be claimed as income.

    3) Housing. If one receives the use of a house or apartment, or any other thing of value, from an employer, one must claim the fair market value of said living quarters, etc., as income. Because such things are income.

    For instance, the president of the United States gets part of the White House to live in, as well as a great many other things. Now, the fair market value of the living quarters area of the White House is very high. There are wealthy Wall Street types that would pay in the range of 500 million dollars a year to rent it. Therefore, 500 million dollars is the value of the compensation. On which the yearly tax would be about 150 million. And, the living quarters is only the beginning of presidental income. In fact, the present president cannot afford to be president.

    The president is an employee. Nothing more, nothing less. About time to treat him as such.

  • Ann

    Is there any other country where citizens spend so much money and time in the process of paying their income taxes? What a waste! I think income taxes should be simplified. Sales taxes make much more sense to me because the more you spend, the more you pay.I agree that employees shoud be taxed on the medical insurance they get from their employer. Those of us that don’t get those benefits subsidize the ones that do get them. We have to pay their portion of the government bills. We need do something to promote competition in health insurance so that all of us can buy it.

  • Howard Roark

    I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need.

  • Ron

    Simple fairness … something like a flat income tax on all income (ALL income, including investment income) with the first $xx of earnings tax-free to cover basic living, indexed to cost of living by area.

    I worked at an accounting firm when the Tax Reform Act of ’86 went into effect. That convinced me that this will never be simple or fair – too much money being made by accountants, tax attorneys and the like who then kick money to the process by way of lobbyists. And I am guessing that is just a fraction of what the wealthy kick into the process to skew it in their favor. both parties are corrupt in this.

  • Lance

    Abolish it and replace it with a national sales tax. We all benefit from some parts of government. We all need to share in its cost. When everyone is taxed equally, maybe we’ll stop raising taxes on the other guy and fighting for special breaks for me, me, me. Also, when we ALL share in the cost, we’ll all have a giant cow when they talk about raising rates.

  • I would like to see the federal income tax become a flat tax of 20%. Just add on a standard deduction of $20,000 for every tax payer and all income (including capital gains) should be taxed at 20% beyond the first $20k. That way it’s still a progressive tax system and we eliminate all special interest loopholes that litter up the current tax code. The poor and average person would still be protected since they are allowed to earn $20k/year tax free…the rich will always pay nearly 20% with no loopholes for capital gains. The best part of that type of plan is that Washington DC can no longer hand out political candy (tax breaks) for every special interest group out there…the tax code would no longer be used to punish or reward groups/industries based on politics.

  • Jim G

    To make our income tax system fair we must make capital gains and wage income equal in how they are taxed. No special treatment should be allowed for capital gains which are taxed at a much lower rate than are wages. These low capital gains tax rates have produced our huge and growing wealth disparity, one which is unsustainable. The complexity of our current system allows the rich to write the rules for their benefit. The winners in our economic system must pay for the civilization which provides opportunities to amass huge fortunes while 50% of our population struggles to provide the necessities of life.

  • James

    First to the “simpler” point.

    I did state and federal taxes for 5 people last night in about 3 hours using Turbotax. That includes filing. Yes, the tax code could be simplified, but you don’t need an accountant to do your taxes.

    Having just completed my taxes, I am reminded yet again of a couple of changes I would like to see.

    1) Everyone should pay something. Perhaps there should be a minimum tax rate of 10%.

    2) The AMT needs to be revised. I earn a salary. I own a modest home. I take a few charitable deductions. May marginal federal rate is 35%; my average federal rate is 25%. I am not the kind of person who should be getting caught by the AMT. The AMT should be catching the Romneys and Buffets.

    3) Education expenses should be deductible. Ironically, a child’s scholarship is tax-free if there are offsetting education expenses. But education expenses are not otherwise deductible.

    4) As stated several times today, health insurance should either be a taxable benefit if provided by your employer, or deductible if paid for personally. The “personal pay penalty” is unfair.

  • The income tax was born from prohibitionist policy. Back then, the government was funded largely by an excise tax on the liquor industry. Prohibitionists weren’t going to get their way without stopping the government’s dependence on the liquor industry, so the income tax was born, followed by prohibition. But when prohibition was repealed, the income tax stayed.

    What I would like to see is the entire tax code scrapped in favor of something else, whether that be a national sales tax, a flat tax, or other ideas. But when our tax code creates corruption, special interest favoritism and limits economic growth, then that suggests, to me anyways, that something better must be possible and ought to be put in place. Complete and total reform of the system should be our goal.

  • David Poretti

    As I see it, the conundrum is that tax policy is used to modify behavior – we tax “bad” behavior (tobacco use), we incent “good” behavior (deductions for charitable contributions).

    Yet we base our tax on income (even though earning money is a good thing in a capitalist system).

    Given that the income tax will not be replaced by another revenue stream to run our civilized society, I would like to see all income for all those above the poverty level taxed on a progressive scale. Investment income, inherited income, gift income, worked-up-a-sweat income. All on a linear, progressive scale. I would also like to see a clearly defined set of deductions that are reasonable available and applied fairly for all. Religious organizations should not have a tax-exempt status. For the most part, they are clearly a business, selling hope. Since corporations are now “people”, they should pay an income tax on the same scale as the rest of us. Finally, in the interest of free market economics, eliminate the loopholes and tax breaks given to the industries with the deepest pockets and best lobbyists.

  • I’d also like to point out payroll taxes are the most regressive and hit the working poor the hardest. We absolutely should end this tax and finance Social Security and Medicare through other means, and not fund retirement on the backs of the poorest workers.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    I would limit the $1000 per kid tax credit to a family maximum of $2000. A middle income family with five kids basically pays no income taxes. EVERYONE should pay at least some income tax.

    Get rid of mortgage deductions, too.

    Add deductions for college expenses.

  • GregX

    1) Eliminate all existing deductions ( personal , business, corprorate, etc. > include kids, mortgage tax, business expenses, )

    2) flatten the tax rates – accoring the changes in #1

    3) correct the Alternative Minimum Tax rate – its ridiculous that anyone below the top 20% income should even know about it.

    4) Make all standard savings accounts up to 5X the federal poverty income level TAX free.

    5) redefine any compensation paid to or for the benefit of the employee as INCOME _ so stock options, health benefits, rental of apartments, provisions of services or staff, memberships, gifts, bonuses, .. everything is income – and therefore taxable.

  • chad

    Equality. Democracy without equality isn’t democracy. We should all pay the same tax rate.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Replacing the income tax with a VAT or national sales tax is a horrible idea, for two very important reasons:

    1. It’s regressive.

    2. The rate would have to be 25-30% in order to replace the revenue from the income tax. At such a rate, the incentive to dodge it is quite high, which would encourage the growth of a black market in everything, not just illegal drugs. At least that seems to be the experience of countries where government revenue comes mostly from a VAT. It would be a tax on honesty, and of course, anything you tax you get less of.

  • We should also keep in mind the other side of the equation…we need to limit federal spending to never exceed 20% of GDP unless there is an official declaration of war upon another nation-state. Part of the big problem with taxes and spending is that we spend far more than we bring in as revenue; just look at 2011 as the perfect case…we spent $3.6 trillion and collected only $2.3 trillion in revenues. Keeping federal government spending in line with GDP will stop government from continually increasing spending when the rest of the economy is not able to generate enough revenue to cover that increase in spending. It’s time reform the whole system, remove all the tax breaks and lock down spending…we need government to be based on real world situations and not allow it to keep growing exponentially due to a lack of courage from our politicians to ever cut a single government program or department.

  • Actually, Steve the Cynic, a national sales tax would be progressive, not regressive, as explained by the Fair Tax books. A regressive tax would be the payroll tax which currently funds Social Security and Medicare. The largest chunk of change removed from the paychecks of the working poor is FICA, which the working poor, as well as everybody else, don’t get back in tax refunds. The working poor are least likely to be able to afford this tax, but pay it they do. On the other hand, the ultra-rich don’t pay these taxes because they don’t collect paychecks. Despite not paying into the system, they’re more than happy to receive SS benefits, at the expense of the working poor. THAT is regressive taxation.

  • Sally

    Right now, middle income wage earners are hit the hardest — not because of the poor who “only” pay FICA and medicare, but because there are so many ways for the wealthy to avoid taxable income. I would like to see “unearned” income, such as dividends and carried interest, taxed at the same rate as wages; elimination of mortgage interest deduction for a second home, raising the ceiling for FICA contributions — I would also like to see social security income taxed for high income seniors.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I’m not sure what “Fair Tax” books you’re talking about, Drae, or what your definition of “progressive” taxation is, but it seems generally agreed by policy wonks that VATs and sales taxes are regressive, or at least less progressive than an income tax.

    That said, I’m not categorically opposed to regressive taxes, if they’re used to fund progressive benefits. Yes, FICA is regressive. It was deliberately designed that way. FDR wanted Social Security funded with a regressive tax, so that wealthy small-government zealots couldn’t sabotage it by complaining that it was paid for by picking their pockets.

    So, if you’re saying we should both replace the income tax with a VAT and strengthen governemnt programs that aid the poor and disadvantaged, I wouldn’t object so much, but I can tell by your other posts and the tenor of your web site that that’s not where you’re heading. Besides, you’d still have the problem that a VAT is a much worse honesty tax than the income tax is.

  • Gosh, Steve the Cynic. A quick Google search of “fair tax books” led me directly to the books of which I’m speaking. Doesn’t seem as though your typing fingers are broken…

  • CarlS

    I think ‘Phil’ @6:46 AM said it well and simply.

    To all the ‘flat tax’ proponents, who argue under the positions of “simpler” or “fairer”, have you considered the simple and fair comparison between the affluent and the working poor?

    There is a critical tipping point dividing a living income and poverty. This is the definition of wealth. Wealth means having more than enough to live, even with an upgraded lifestyle, while poverty means having less than enough, even when you’ve already cut out some essentials.The issue is impact, not a simple ‘less and more’ view.

    A 10% tax rate does not impact someone making $200K the same as someone making $20K. Right now the more affluent do pay a greater percentage, and I have yet to hear one complain about how unfair it is in comparison to a poor person.

  • Ron C

    A consumption tax is the most fair tax. Income is easy to hide and deductions are too numerous. Of course that would mean that 90% of the IRS employees would be out of work and all of the tax accountants and lawyers would be unemployed. But then they don’t contribute to the GNP anyway.

  • CarlS – [To all the ‘flat tax’ proponents, who argue under the positions of “simpler” or “fairer”, have you considered the simple and fair comparison between the affluent and the working poor?

    There is a critical tipping point dividing a living income and poverty. This is the definition of wealth. Wealth means having more than enough to live, even with an upgraded lifestyle, while poverty means having less than enough, even when you’ve already cut out some essentials.The issue is impact, not a simple ‘less and more’ view.

    A 10% tax rate does not impact someone making $200K the same as someone making $20K. Right now the more affluent do pay a greater percentage, and I have yet to hear one complain about how unfair it is in comparison to a poor person.] ***

    I already addressed this issue when I presented my 20% tax rate. The solution is to have a strait forward tax deduction for all individuals of $20,000/year…that way the poor (or anyone making less than or near $20k/year) will pay almost no taxes. Beyond that number individuals will start paying a higher % in taxes which will max out near 20%. Here’s a nice example for you of total income vs tax rates of lower income individuals under my plan:

    Income -> Tax Rate on Total Income

    $20k or less -> 0%

    $40,000 -> 10%

    $60,000 -> 13.3%

    $80,000 -> 15%

    $100,000 -> 16%

    $200,000 -> 18%

    $1,000,000 -> 19.6%

    That way everyone has to pay something unless they living at or near the poverty level.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Brae, you mean the two by the radical libertarian zealot, Neal Boortz? I thought you might be referring to a longer list of books with some intellectual credibility. Guess not. The fact remains that a VAT is inherently regressive, and to implement it in a non-regressive way requires provisions that reduce it’s regressivity (e.g., “prebates” for the poor).

  • CarlS

    Jefferson – including your earlier posting (which I read after posting my comment) I would say that you are onto something. Without an analysis your percentages seem to present a more fair idea of what a simpler tax system could be. My posting was aimed more at those who feel that one rate for everyone would be fair.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “A consumption tax is the most fair tax. Income is easy to hide….”

    That’s not the experience of countries that have consumption taxes as the main source of government revenue. Once the tax rate rises over about 20% (and the so-called “FairTax” idea includes an effective rate of 30%), people find lots of ways to hide consumption by creating an “informal economy” (i.e., a black market). That’s at least half the problem in Greece, for instance. It’s not just that the Greek government spends too much. It’s also that Greeks don’t pay their taxes like they’re nominally supposed to. If you want to promote disrespect for the law, a VAT ranks right up there with unreasonably low speed limits for effectiveness.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Remarkably, I agree with “Jefferson” today.

  • georges

    It matters little what exact method of tax assesment and collection is used.

    The problem is unrestrained Federal Government spending, and until that spending is drastically cut, the situation will not improve.

    It was suggested below that the FedGov be limited to spending no more than 20% of GDP. That is way too high. It would allow them to spend over 3 trillion dollars this year.

    Obama wants to spend 3.6 trillion this year. Paul Ryan’s famous budget wants to cut that to 3.53 trillion. Are you kidding? That’s a joke. No budget is serious unless it cuts Federal spending to less than 2.5 trillion this year. Not so difficult to do. I have already done it.

    Obama and Paul Ryan are, in fact, the same. They are “them”. We are “us”. As long as we allow them to steal from us on such a grand scale, we will always be the slaves of “them”.

    Federal spending can be below 2 trillion, with nothing more than eliminating waste, fraud and abuse, and programs that do not deserve to exist.

    Get it below 2 trillion, and there will be no need to argue about who is going to pay how much. The burden of government will, once again, be manageable.

  • Brad Delong

    I am Cassandra.

    I am here to warn you that on taxes America has, over the past generation, gotten itself onto the wrong track.

    A generation or so ago, we had a federal tax system which was roughly one-third social insurance taxes on wages, one third taxes on businesses, and one-third progressive taxes on individual incomes.

    Over the past generation we have shifted to a system in which (a) taxes on corporations have become much smaller–less than half as large–and riddled with loopholes, and (b) taxes on income have become much less progressive.

    This is not good for America.

    This is not good for America for two reasons.

    First, the market has handed us in this generation a much more unequal distribution of income that it did a generation ago. Therefore it is now extremely good policy to have not a less but a more progressive tax now than we did then–and taxes on businesses are by and large progressive.

    Second, over the past generation our our economy has shifted in directions–toward education and toward healthcare–where the private competitive market is much less effective. As a result, a good society now would have a significantly larger role for government than a good society then. And it is thus bad policy to drop any of our sources of revenue to fund government.

    This finishes my warning.

    Our tax system is on the wrong track.

    We need to pick it up, carry it over, and put it back onto the right track.

    We need to do this now.

    Thank you.

  • Wally

    Two Words: TOTAL ABOLITION.

    The Income Tax is the Meth to the Meth-head can’t-stop-spending politicians and bureaucrats.

    For a balanced budget and constitutional government, shut off the supply of drugs, i.e. OUR MONEY, to the addicts, i.e. everyone receiving federal salaries or subsidies.

    And we’d also be rid of the jackbooted thugs at the INFERNAL Revenue Service.

    And, Steve the C, sales tax is NOT regressive. Don’t want to pay? Don’t spend. And the “rich” spend more, and thereby pay more than the “poor.”

  • Steve the Cynic

    Wally, sales taxes are regressive because the poor have to spend a larger percentage of their income buying stuff than the rich do. Not spending is not a realistic option. Income taxes are more fair because they also get at hoarded wealth.

    And your caricature of IRS agents as “jackbooted thugs” is, of course, a rhetorical overstatement, not to be taken seriously. You sound like someone who got audited and can’t let go of your resentment over it.

  • @Steve the Cynic –

    The US is one of only a few countries to not use a VAT. They’re widely used in Europe. Am I really supposed to think economists in Europe would widely subscribe to and implement regressive taxation policies without riots in the streets of European capitols?

    Nor am I impressed by ad hominem rebuttals. Weak.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Drae, are you Wally?

    The use of the regressive VAT in Europe is part of a larger system where the government uses tax money to provide progressive benefits, such as socialized medicine. I would support that. But it has to come as a package. If you’re going to argue for both shifting to a VAT and shrinkng government services, you can’t truthfully say your idea is not regressive. Odd to see a libertarian ideologue hold up Europe as a positive example.

  • @Steve the Cynic – I’m not a libertarian ideologue. Nor am I Wally. If I have something to say, I’ll say it as myself, thank-you-very-much.

    Again, I’m not impressed by your ad hominem.

  • Steve the Cynic

    It wasn’t ad hominem. It was feedback. And I got the impression you were a libertarian ideologue from reading some of the posts on the blog you link to. Must be someone else’s’?

  • @Steve the Cynic – posting about the Beatles, Minnesota music, Jon Huntsman, opposition to the drug war and chocolate as a diet aid is libertarian ideology? Who knew?

    And no, it wasn’t feed back. It was ad hominem. You’re trying to dismiss my points by calling names. It’s quite prevalent around here some days.

    And I didn’t give the example of European VATs as a “positive” example, just as an example. Period. You are the one who assigned a value to my example.

  • Steve the Cynic

    So, somebody else posted those favorable comments about Adam Smith, et al?

    And how is it ad hominem to point out that a snide, over-the-top reference to IRS agents as “jackbooted thugs” sounds like it might be motivated by resentment?

  • @Steve the Cynic –

    I realize there are many so-called Free Market supporters who are better described as economic anarchists, but I’m not one of them. I don’t call myself a libertarian for these reasons – you know, the type who thinks the government shouldn’t even build a road. They take it too far, and it’s not what Adam Smith described in Wealth of Nations. It seems to me that there are people on both the left and the right who misunderstand Adam Smith (heck – maybe I’m one of them), but I think that for you to consider me a “libertarian ideologue” simply for posting an Adam Smith quote is ridiculous. You assume too much.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I agree. By that definition you’re not a “libertarian ideologue.” My opinion was skewed because the first time I looked at it something that sounded libertarian to me was at the top.

  • KEith

    A flat, or slightly progressive-rate system with no deductions of any kind. EVERYONE should pay something, even it it’s only a few bucks a year. No matter what sorts of reforms are adopted, someone will win and someone will lose, so spread the pain.

  • Wally

    Hey Steve the C.

    I ain’t “Drae,” but I sort of like the way he/she thinks.

  • DandyRandy

    Needs to be completely gutted. No credits,no deductions. Everybody pays. No more lobyists begging for special treatment