I wrote this post almost a year ago, long before the “tea parties” and “tea-bagging” made it to the vernacular of the American public, tired of paying too much of their incomes in taxes.
I feel compelled to call it out again because the topic is much more in the media than when I wrote it.
In its shortest form, I’d like to see the corporate tax abolished. In fact, I’d like to see ALL taxes on income OR profit abolished.
I want a consumption tax. Not necessarily a “fair tax.” But a tax system that is based on what you buy. Necessities will not be taxed. “Nice to haves” will be taxed at low rates, and “luxury” items will be taxed at a much higher rate.
So-called “sin taxes” can be left alone, or at least put in line with my 3-tier system. We’re smart enough to figure out how to extract enough taxes to pay the government’s bills without killing prosperity, without squeezing poor people out of the economy, and without killing innovation.
It’s really just a mathematical problem. Solve for “x” as I was always told in Algebra.
One of my favorite conservative economists, Greg Mankiw, recently wrote a piece about corporate taxes in the New York Times. There are two basic schools of thought when it comes to corporate taxes: Either treat corporations like individuals, where they’re obligated to pay taxes, or treat them like a pass-through entity, where they, in effect, pay zero taxes.
It is my opinion that the double taxation that currently exists because of the corporate income tax is onerous to the economy and to individual taxpayers. I think we should abandon both forms of taxation, both corporate and individual, and use a value-added tax (also known as a sales tax).
We are smart enough to figure out how to make this fair and equitable. But we won’t because our system is so political that the special interests will fight it out until nothing happens.
It’s too bad too, because this is the time when I think real change is not only acceptable, but sought-after.