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The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Flat tax!

Andrew Sullivan:
The politician who allows every citizen to fill out her tax form on a postcard with a simple calculator will become one of the most popular in history. It takes a president with a real mandate and a pliable Congress to achieve this kind of breakthrough, which is why the last success was Ronald Reagan's in 1986. And that is Bush's opportunity right now.

I agree. I would love to have a flat tax. It is an issue of fairness.

There is no reason why a John Kerry or a John Edwards should be able to hire accountants to reduce their tax burden to 13%, while I'm stuck paying much higher rate.

Unlike Edwards, I don't have team of accountants to declare myself a corporation.

The current tax code reeks of government breaks to interest groups: the housing industry, farmers, health providers, the elderly...

K Street in Washington is populated by special interests whose sole objective is to secure tax breaks for themselves and the people they represent. Whole industries have thrive doing taxes for people because the current forms are such a morass of confusing jargon and interesting math.

My wife and I do ours using software. We each do our taxes once, and we compare the numbers. They never agree. We usually pay the higher amount because we don't want the IRS giving us a call.

You would think liberals would be all for revising the tax rate so that everyone pays a fair share.

Hell, throw them a bone too: every household making under $200,000 could pay 22%; above that amount, you pay 25%.

Why not?

The reason they'll oppose it is that it decreases government power to influence people's behavior.

In their thinking, people are dumb economic machines that respond to incentives from Washington: we have children and buy houses because we get tax breaks when we do so...

Tax breaks are goodies that politicans can throw out there to get votes.

No tax breaks means reduced federal power.

This, unfortunately, is why a flat tax will never happen, and the tax reforms of 2005 will only make taxes MORE complicated.

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