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Taxing My Mind Featured

I have some thoughts on the recent tax legislation. Tax them for what their worth: This is no way to run a country: The modern system of governance seems to be gain a majority and then ram through a major bill that your base wants while you can. The pattern of the Republican tax plan follows the ACA almost exactly, including a special election getting folks off the sidelines. Whether you agree with the outcomes or not, this isn’t what the Founders intended. Don’t place the word “only” in front of any amount of money: That was a favorite saying of my late uncle and I’ve thought of it often while those opposing the tax bill have taken to various media to explain how the bill will “only” save the average family so much money. When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, any amount of money is a big deal. There is a case for higher taxes: The Republican stance is lower taxes for all, although the rich benefit the most because they pay the most. The Democrat stance is lower taxes for some, but higher taxes for the rich. True conservatives, liberals and moderates should probably favor higher taxes for all. Why? If you’re a tax-and-spend liberal, the spending should be more important to you than the taxing. In order to get money for all your “good” ideas, like universal pre-school and paid family leave, you need a lot of money. That means everybody has to kick in. Also, if everybody pays, more money goes to the poor. That’s how it works in Scandinavia. If you’re a small-government conservative, you should take liberals on their word that taxes are the price we pay for the things we choose to do together. And you should present the people with the bill for those things. Then ask, “You sure you want all those things?” Finally, moderates, the people who are uneasy with debt and the deficit, should want higher taxes just to pay for what we already spend. You call this reform?: In the end, there are still plenty of deductions and, the even bigger issue, a focus on taxing income. A mostly flat tax on almost all people’s income with consumption taxes is a better system. A flat tax is transparent, which is good. Consumption taxes are better than deductions or credits for getting people to change by making “bad” behavior more expensive rather than making “good” behavior cheaper. Also, they provide a fiscal tool during a downturn so the government is less reliant on monetary stimulus. Any way, I’ll take what I can get. We don’t live in a perfect world.

Ted Craig

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