Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to pay taxes? If we got to keep 100% of what we make? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Our country has grown to be the most powerful and advanced country in the world. With that comes responsibilities we all must pay for. We need a military to protect us against bad guys. We need highways that allow us to travel this great country. We need bridges to go along with the highways so we can cross waterways. We need a justice system to protect our citizens from evil doers.
As we prospered and grew, we also realized that as a civilized country we need to take care of those of us that can not care for themselves. This includes the elderly and mentally incapable. To assist in caring for older citizens, we set up a plan where everyone helped pay into a fund so as we outgrew our productive years we would have a basic income to keep us fed and housed… we called it Social Security.
In addition we felt it was the right thing to do to provide healthcare to those past a certain age that were no longer covered by employer provided insurance. We called this MediCare. We realized that the very poor, disabled, and mentally incapable of our society were unable to afford medical health coverage so we set up a fund called MediCaid and asked States to contribute. It was agreed by most all that everyone that had an income in our great country would contribute a small portion of their earnings to maintain and provide these services. This we do by paying our fair share in taxes.
As time went on, some individuals came up with new programs that they felt were in all of our best interests. Then it started to get complicated. Some “special interest” lobbyists started bargaining with our elected officials to promote their “special interest.” In return they promised to do the same when that elected official had their own “special interest” project. Soon it got out of hand. Public relations experts were hired and great sounding names were given to these “special interest” projects. Names that made us ordinary citizens say, “Yes, that sounds pretty good.” So our taxes went up to pay for these so-called “needed” programs.
As incomes climbed, those making the most said, “Boy, I’m paying an awful lot in taxes.” So began the quest to come up with reasons and ways to lower the taxes the wealthiest were paying. Although they were making more than they could spend in a lifetime, they insisted that if they didn’t have to pay so much in taxes that they would build new businesses and invest in other businesses so they could grow and hire more “regular” people. The Public Relations experts were good at their jobs. Soon many of the “regular” taxpayers agreed. Some felt they (the wealthy) must be smarter since they made so much money, so if they say they need to pay less % of income in taxes in order for the rest of us to prosper, maybe we should believe them.
Here we are… paying higher taxes for things we really don’t need and a higher % of income in taxes so the wealthiest can trickle down some of their tax savings to the rest of the country so we can all live a better life.
What should we do?
First, we need to get rid of programs that do not benefit everyone equally. We need to leave the programs that care for the elderly, disabled, and mentally ill alone. Those programs need to be shored up and re-funded with savings from “special interest” programs. I can’t believe that every government agency could not cut 2% out of their budget in the next 90 days. Everyday citizens have had to cut their budget more than 2%. Stop complaining about it and do it.
We could spend years trying to close “loopholes” so the wealthy don’t get breaks the rest of us don’t get… we could raise the minimum tax rate so the very rich pay at least as much as a percentage of income as the average citizen – the Buffett Rule. But these are band-aid solutions. Better than doing nothing at all… but still a band-aid where stitches would be preferred treatment. We need to heal this illness – not have it linger and fester.
If we eliminated “Income Tax,” and began a brand new “Consumption Tax,” then we would not have to argue what the rich pay vs. what the poor pay. We would not need to file complicated tax forms. We keep 100% of what we make. We only pay a tax if we purchase a service or product. Medical & Food would be exempt. A rebate would be given to those making less than the new adjusted poverty level. No more loop-holes… no more special deductions for your 2nd, 3rd or 4th vacation homes.
We cut government spending. Figure a plan to pay off our deficit in 10 years – and stick to it. Create a budget we can live with and stick to it…. do not spend more than our budget allows. Have contingency (rainy day) funds for unforseens such as wars, natural disasters. Put “X” amount every year into that fund. In 10 years be a debt free nation.
This can be done. It may take some sacrifice… especially from the wealthy who have been used to having more and paying less. Stop the excuses and special interest campaigns… stop the partisan bickering. Start with 2% cut across the board and go from there.