February 11, 2011

ProJo Blames Conservatives in Congress for Complicated Taxes

Marc Comtois

The ProJo Editors came out against tax fiddling and focused on a couple areas of "trouble" related to taxation and the implementation of President Obama's health care program. They think that the 2.3% tax on medical devices is no big deal because the manufacturers of said devices make a lot of money now and will make even more thanks to the health care reforms, so they should pay more. Except, with their usual blinders, they don't account for reality: the manufacturers will probably just pass that tax increase off to consumers (or, by extension, their health insurer, which is us...so how does this work?).

They ProJo Eds are particularly troubled by the complicated tax code, in general and are in favor of making it "flatter" and simpler (here here!). And they blame...conservatives?

The biggest problem is Congress’s (and especially its “conservatives’ ”) tendency to promote such fiscal dodges as tax credits instead of transparent taxes and spending. The taxes that folks don’t pay because they get a tax credit are taxes that someone else must pay. But members of Congress like to make it all as opaque as possible.
Huh? Well, you see, from the Eds perspective, the Democrats fell down on the job because they "believed the insurance lobby was just too powerful to overcome in Washington" and the Republicans who all voted against the Obamacare plan somehow benefited from the insurance lobbyists...it's pretty confusing rhetoric, really. Never mind that they ignore the fact that nearly every reform plan that aims to make the tax system "flatter" (at least to my knowledge) has come from fiscal conservatives (from Steve Forbes, to Paul Ryan to Ron Paul, etc.). Cognitive dissonance strikes again.

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How's this for a tax plan? No taxes other than sales taxes. Ranging from 1% for things like milk, bread and infant formula to 10% for candy bars, donuts, coffee, to 50% for boats, airplanes and non-primary, non-investment properties, to 100% for tobacco products.

Figure out much of what is purchased, figure out a rate for each and go with it. Fire the entire IRS as there'd no longer be any tax filing. No one gets a rebate, they pay as much tax as they want to. You earn a dollar, you get a dollar. Very low taxes for essentials and higher taxes for "nice to haves" and toys.

Posted by: Patrick at February 11, 2011 2:26 PM

Patrick, how about that idea, except to make it a little more palatable and sane for middle and lower classes, implement a moderate income tax on an annually-indexed top 10% of earners? Everyone else would be exempt from even -reporting- their income.

I'm convinced that switching to a consumption-only tax would really hurt the folks down at the bottom, to the tune of 18 times as much as the Chafee plan.

Posted by: mangeek at February 11, 2011 2:31 PM

"The biggest problem is... “conservatives’ tendency to promote such fiscal dodges as tax credits instead of transparent taxes and spending."

That caused a high-velocity ejection of coffee onto my screen.

Really?! Virtually every conservative I know favors a very simplified tax code, and it's the liberals who want to monkey with things to make all the animals as equal as the others.

Posted by: mangeek at February 11, 2011 2:39 PM

I am so glad that I stopped funding these people more than a year ago.
Every week AR cites yet another reason to not care about the Urinal or their opinions and hectoring.

(tax plan - any number can play)
Steve Forbe's plan works for me. A high personal deduction -$36K for a family of 4 was proposed some years ago - then 20% thereafter. No more Sch A, B etc. Likely to wind up with a similar revenue/income profile with many fewer machinations.

Posted by: chuckR at February 11, 2011 2:56 PM

I like the idea of a regressive sales tax. Classifications would be complicated, but certainly not any more so than an income tax and it would vastly reduce reporting costs.

We should be raising as much revenue as possible from state lotteries or gambling establishments, i.e., "the stupidity tax." The gamblers are happy to throw away their money on it, so it's a win-win for everybody.

Part of me likes a vice tax because I don't drink or smoke and it's nice to have opt-outs, but I know it would be abused in the worst possible ways and extended to all sorts of feel-good nonsense by progressives as another control mechanism.

Any tax would be less philosophically abhorrent than a personal income tax, which effectively makes us all wage slaves to government.

Posted by: Dan at February 11, 2011 3:51 PM

I know what they are talking about at the Projo. They mean the "Earned Income Tax Credit" that pays low income wage earners a larger refund than the actual tax they paid in.

That must be who the Republicans are working to siphon our hard earned money to so those minimum wage folks can improve their fat-cat lifestyle.

Posted by: John at February 11, 2011 4:31 PM

"But members of Congress like to make it all as opaque as possible."

... um, yeah, as Mangeek said, the Repubs in Congress accomplished that completely alone over the last six decades despite the strenuous objections and unanimous "nay" votes of the Dems and liberals.

"the "Earned Income Tax Credit" that pays low income wage earners a larger refund than the actual tax they paid in."

Now THAT'S complicated! Not to say ridiculous.

Posted by: Monique at February 11, 2011 5:10 PM

There is no such thing as "Obamacare". If you are referencing the Affordable Health Care Act, you should use it's actual title. You cannot possibly interested in real discussion when you open with disparaging name calling. Your mind has been made up on the subject for quite some time, so you have abandoned any claim to objectivity. The first step in your recovery from your gross prejudice is to acknowledge the act's proper name.

Perhaps the following would help.

H. R. 3962
To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes.

OCTOBER 29, 2009
of California, Mr. STARK, Mr. PALLONE, and Mr. ANDREWS) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Education and Labor, Ways and Means, Oversight and Government Reform, the Budget, Rules, Natural Resources, and the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes.

You once bristled at being called "Marc Comatose". So I assume you are unaware that you are actually name calling when you use the phrase. Now that it has been pointed out to you, perhaps you will be gracious enough to refrain from its use in the future.

If you want to use names, you should at the least, refer to the law as the DINGELL, RANGEL, WAXMAN, MILLER, STARK,PALLONE, ANDREWS and hundreds more bill. I assume you are politically aware enough to understand that Barack Obama alone did not write and pass this bill into law. It took hundreds of others to enact it.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at February 12, 2011 11:28 AM
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