Whatever I feel like talking about.
posted by David Friedman @ 10:10 AM
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And require that all taxes due be paid in cash and in person.
Or more possible...tax day to November.
or April 18th or so - enough time to not ding the turnout.
I read that 60% of tax forms are prepared professionally. I wonder what the percentage is for congressmen. 100%?
I don't think you answered your own question David. "How to get smaller government?" You make a suggestion that would help were it implemented, and there are lots of other ideas, for example:1. Eliminate the withholding system, make people write a check for their taxes.2. Give the voters a line item veto -- add a couple of pages at the end of the tax form where a voter can veto one of the government programs, meaning that that program's budget is decreased for every veto vote.3. Make a rule that you can't vote in any federal election if you haven't paid at least one dollar in tax. (Or at least make that restriction when voting for the House of Reps. where money bills originate.)4. Pass a constitutional amendment to term limit all elected officials, or require a balanced budget, or eliminate the fed, or eliminate the income tax and use a NRST instead.5. Make a requirement that every law that congress passes must be read out loud in the Senate/House by the proposer, and you may only vote on it if you are present for the whole reading.And on and on. I am sure your readers can come up with many other ways. However, it doesn't answer your question, how do you get these things done? There are two huge barriers:a. About 50% of voters don't care about taxes, because they don't pay a dime.b. About 100% of elected officials are obsessed with their own power, and don't want to restrict it.How does one convince the turkeys to vote for thanksgiving?
Just a follow up to my earlier comment. I was thinking about your father's book "Capitalism and Freedom", in which he had advocated a reverse income tax to replace all poverty programs.From my memory, Nixon actually implemented it, and we have it today as the EIC, however, the purpose was to replace poverty programs and the associated social engineering by giving poor people money and the consequential control. You need both sides of the coin (reverse income tax AND elimination of associated poverty programs for it to work.)However, when the government got its hands on it they only did one side, and so took an idea that would have been quite beneficial and converted it to an idea that made things even worse than they were.If I have misrepresented you father, please forgive, I am shooting from memory.The point is that all these great ideas are great until their are poisoned by the "good intentions" and hidden agendas of the people who implement them.I recently watched Star Wars with my son. When Obi Wan Kenobi takes Luke to Mos Eisely space port he gives a description that seems appropriate to our houses of congress:"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."
FraserOrr writes:"Eliminate the withholding system..."That was my first thought upon reading this blog entry, since withholding is David's brother.
Fraser Orr wrote: "a. About 50% of voters don't care about taxes, because they don't pay a dime."False. There are a lot more to taxes than personal income taxes.Which leads to another method: transparently show all taxes. Give people an easy way to find out how much of their money is going to taxes--not just income and sales taxes, but indirect taxes such as corporate and payroll taxes.
You are completely right Andrew, there are a lot more taxes than just income tax, though that is what I was primarily referring to.It is an interesting fact to look at these other taxes too. Most of them are extremely regressive in character. For example, the recent increase on the tax of cigarettes has a much larger impact both marginally and per capita on poor people than rich. Same is true to a greater or lesser extent on all non progressive taxes. (I would advocate BTW eliminating these taxes not making them progressive :-)Nonetheless, I think my question still stands: sure making taxes more transparent would be a good thing, but how do you make the turkeys vote for thanksgiving?
Either that, or move the Tax Day to Oct. 15th to reconcile with the end of the fiscal year for the congress critters and repeal withholding of all payroll taxes. ;)
why not disband and unfund something. How about the bureau of indian affairs. Are you telling me that indians cant manage their own affairs??? How about the department of energy??? what do they do for us??? How about health education and welfare - doesnt that group make you proud??? How about it. we have institutionalized failure and we are proud of it.
One way to reduce the size of government is to reduce the number of senators from 100 to 50 and the number of house representatives from 435 to 200. Let us see then how these congressman feel when they unemployed! Ask the CBO how much this saves federal Government in salaries and pension benefits. Make sure no pensions to future congressman, because they are paid well enough
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