WORKINGMAN'S CANCER SORE


 "Go down Moses
  Way down in Egypt land...


        A favorite saying among members of the working-class of the United States is, "There is nothing certain in life except death and taxes".  Another probable certainty to add to enhance this brief list (in addition to corrupt politicians, smog and laundry) is the word "unfair", for there is perhaps no instance in the history of human civilization where taxation has either been fair or remained fair for any discernable length of time.  One argument often heard in America, generally put fourth by those who are fortunate enough to already possess adequate medical coverage for themselves, is that we should not pursue national health care here as is currently the case in most European countries, because doing so would ostensibly, raise our taxes to their extraordinarily high level.  The truth of course is, that for the most part, we are already taxed at or near the same level as our European counterparts.  Many Americans simply fail to realize this due to the deceptive nature of modern United States taxation methods.

        For example, a typical middle-class family of four with both spouses together earning $75,000 per year will easily pay well over sixty percent of those earnings back in some form of taxation.  The reasons are myriad, among them being federal income tax, state income tax (in most states), local taxes (in many areas), property, rental and leasing taxes, state, county, city and local sales taxes, fuel taxes, utility and communication taxes, lodging taxes, entertainment taxes, license and registration fees and the significant extra costs added to goods and services due to the taxes and license fees paid by the corporations and small businesses who produce them.  Some Americans have been deceived by the rhetorical trickery of various self-serving politicians of gross malfeasance into accepting the totally erroneous conclusion that, by taxing corporations more, individual taxpayers will somehow be better off.  In reality, business taxes, licenses and similar fees only add to the cost of goods and services, thus consumers in the eventuality, pay all of the taxes, including all corporation taxes, import taxes, export taxes, excise taxes and similar levies, license fees and permit costs.

        Over the years, a great variety of solutions have been proposed to revise and/or otherwise, eliminate our current telephone-book fiasco of a tax system. Unfortunately, most of these sometimes deceptively simple sounding solutions are either intrinsically unfair and/or, they would eventually if not immediately, result in even more complicated and oppressive systems.  Some of these include a sales tax only system (which has some validity but tends to favor the wealthy at the expense of the poor), a limited-deduction system (usually with such deductions favoring property owners over those who rent and those with children over those who choose not to add to the planet's population burden) and various flat-tax and semi-flat-tax systems.  Most if not all tax 'reform' that has been proposed by various elected officials in recent years is largely cosmetic and habitually caters to various special interests, usually favoring the upper income and wealthy elite at the expense of the middle class and poor. Some tax revolt citizen groups, in the twisted name of supposed constitutional freedom, propose eliminating all taxation, which would lead to a total decay of our civilization as we know it; there would be no funds to pay for military, fire, police and other protection, nothing to pay for schools, libraries, roads, national parks and a myriad of other things most of us now simply take for granted.

        Herein therefore, is yet another proposal in contrast to our current multi-layered boondoggle of a taxation system, somewhat lofty in aspiration, overly simplistic perhaps in design and impossible to hope for in all probability, due to the lack of opportunity for political malfeasance.  Because business taxes and fees are in reality, eventually paid by the consumer, a politically risky approach of eliminating corporation and other business levies is presented here.  Costs of goods and services would drop quickly and dramatically if taxes and the great myriad of fees levied on business were eliminated, thus the proposed tax percentage may appear to be much higher than in reality, it comparatively is. This is perhaps the fairest solution that can be reasonably presented without inducing more of a headache than one would care to encourage and if nothing else, it is arguably considerably more tolerable than the encyclopedic library of categories, exemptions, exceptions and special interest deductions that currently serve to rob the majority of hard working American tax-paying citizens from before the cradle to an early grave and well beyond.

        Quite obviously, it is not possible to present a comprehensive income tax plan in the short space allotted here and, though most of the concepts listed below are in need of some further tinkering and adjustment, the general ideas outlined will hopefully cause a few beleaguered citizens to pause and consider some of the many ways our elected officials could dramatically improve the lot of the average taxpaying American---that is, if they were somehow thus inclined. Notwithstanding, it is likely to be a snowy summer in Blythe and a sweltering winter in Nome before fair taxation with equitable representation becomes even remotely, a halfway reality here in the theorized and mostly ethereal 'democracy' we call the United States of America. . .



        A)  All citizens, regardless of income, would receive an-across-the-board poverty-level deduction, such poverty level to be calculated annually county by county.  For example, the deduction for a family of three living in New York City would be much greater than for a same-sized family residing in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.  Likewise a family of six would receive a much greater deduction than a family of two making their home in the same county, as their poverty level would obviously be considerably higher.  In the case of married individuals (or unmarried individuals raising children together), dependents could be applied to only one of their poverty-level deductions if filing separately or to both incomes together if filing jointly---in other words, overlapping of dependents would not be allowed. This poverty-level deduction approach is perhaps the only fair and equitable way of offering a base deduction that would truly be advantageous to working class and poor families without being grossly unfair to higher economic class and single taxpayers.

        B)  Wage earners with a severe disability, such as blindness, deafness or paralysis, would receive one extra poverty-level deduction for each such severe disability.  We as a society are responsible to give those of us with severely debilitating problems a helping hand, as regardless of wealth or position, any of the rest of us could easily be next.  To qualify for a deduction, certification of a severe disability by a government appointed board of medical experts would be required, thus an extra deduction would not be received for many of the slight aches and pains that currently gain some Americans a largely undeserved disability check.

        C)  All income above the poverty level, regardless of how much, would be taxed as follows:  Federal taxes (other than social security), 9%; Social Security, 4%; State, 6% (includes funds for free education through 4-year college level); County, 2%; Local (for all incorporated cities and towns), 1%; Infrastructure Tax for combined highway and railway construction and repair, 3%; Unemployment Insurance, 2%; Health Care, 5%; Poverty Alleviation, 2%; Catastrophic Disease Research, 1%; *

        D)  All income given to a bona fide charity above the poverty level deduction would be 100% tax deductible, regardless of how much; any government that does not encourage charitable giving with 100% deduction is a foolish government by both Human Rights (moral) and historical definition (see Fleeing Sodom for more details).  In order to qualify as a "bona fide" charity, a non-profit organization must give at least 80% of all acquired positive assets directly to the cause it claims to support; organizations not meeting the 80/20 criteria would lose non-profit status for all years following the immediate non-taxable year until such time as they do. Religious organizations not giving at least 80% of all acquired assets directly to the aid of the sick and poor would not qualify for tax exemption; it is entirely against The Constitution Of The United States and everything it supposedly represents for the government to grant tax breaks to religious organizations which are not otherwise, overtly philanthropic. **

        E) Regaring privately owned business, whether sole proprietorship or corporate (partnership, LLC and other considered as corporate), all expenses applying directly to the business would be deductible.  All other income would be taxable as noted above.  Items such as automobiles, office rent and similar would be deductible only as far as used for business purposes.

        F)  All citizens over age seventy, having resided at least twenty-five years within the United States as legal U.S. residents, would henceforth be entirely free from taxation, regardless of income; i.e., our seniors have labored long and hard enough and in their retirement years, deserve a break from further governmental procurement.  To help compensate, seniors whose income extends beyond the basic poverty level determined for their county of residence plus 25% would no longer receive social security benefits incrementally downward to zero at 100% beyond, as such is unnecessary for their general health and welfare and therefore, a foolish waste of the people's funds which could and should instead be used to help those who are in greater need of assistance.  Individuals older than seventy who have been legal U.S. residents less than twenty-five years would become eligible for tax exemption after such time as they reach that number; i.e., allowing otherwise would open up the floodgates for seniors from other nations to immigrate to the United States for the sake of avoiding taxation within their own countries of
origin.
***

        G)   Estate taxes on assets above a determined threshold would be assessed as follows:  All citizens in possession of assets beyond a threshold of one million dollars per immediate legal heir (threshold to be determined every ten years at census based on legitimate inflationary statistics) would maintain the right to have such assets dispersed by will and private executor to bona fide non-profit organizations of their choosing (bona fide as outlined in above "D"); "immediate legal heir" defined as and limited to, holder's surviving children (spouse treated as noted below).  Family ownership of business enterprises could be maintained and generationally passed down, but the assets apart from such family-owned enterprises of each family member would likewise, be subject to disbursement above the threshold amount per immediate legal heir.
       Prospective inheritors could not be granted assets in excess of the threshold prior to the death of the holder, the holder thus being enabled to avoid legitimate disbursement of assets of substance.  Excluding reasonably normal gifts, assets granted to inheritors prior to the death of the holder would be subtracted from the threshold amount, thus all assets above the threshold would be disbursed equitably and fairly as noted without shelter of exception.  Those who die possessing assets greater than one million dollars per immediate legal heir who do not designate charitable distribution of their own choice would upon death, have their assets beyond the threshold due immediate legal heirs assumed by the federal government into the general fund for the express use and purpose of research to eliminate catastrophic disease and poverty and to aid victims of such.
       For legal purposes of distribution of estate taxes, both partners would be considered as singular ownership; i.e., either surviving spouse would be allowed to keep 100% of all assets free from these conditions until the time of their own death. In the case of divorce, spousal and/or child support would cease upon death of the payer.  A legally divorced surviving spouse would not be eligible for any inheritance, although surviving children of the deceased who are residing with a divorced spouse, as immediate legal heirs of the deceased, would be eligible to receive an inheritance up to the threshold amount.
****

        H)  Export taxes of a flat 2% would be assessed with no reduction or exceptions for any special-interest or other reason.  Import taxes would be the same in the case of friendly trading partner nations.  The Senate would have the power by two-thirds majority vote to raise import taxes as high as the Senate may determine equitable on any nation who, in the opinion of the Senate, is directly involved with or encouraging unfair trading practices against our own and upon any nation found in violation of basic Human and Civil Rights tenets (again, in the opinion of the Senate by two-thirds vote).  Governmental leverage such as this is historically necessary to protect national interests against unethical foreign trade partners and the fundamental Human Rights of our planet's inhabitants.
*****


        That is it, no other taxes and no other exemptions for any reason.  No special interest exemptions, no sales tax, no fuel tax, no property tax, no license or registration fees, no corporation or business taxes and no to all other taxes. And what would this ultimately amount to in actual piles of revenue in the coffers of our various federal, state, county and local government agencies? Conservatively, at least double what is now currently collected, that is, if every citizen were forced to pay his or her fair share. ¹   And how would we be forced to pay our fair share?  A good start would be to deduct this 35% automatically from all income payments (other than for citizens over seventy as noted above), including payroll, commission, retirement, residual, dividend, interest and other types of income payments---those who pay out income of any kind should be legally required to deduct, regardless of method or reason of payment.  Poverty-level deductions would be reimbursed at the end of the taxable year, preventing unwarranted complication and forcing taxpayers to save towards a year-end accrued benefit.  Unfortunately, a few lawyers, tax accountants and internal revenue service agents would be forced to find other means of employment, but after all, this would undoubtedly be fair and just recompense for capitalistic enterprisers of such unethical inclination and dubious societal benefit.

 ...Tell ol' Pharaoh,
    'Let my people go'"


The Library of Congress
"NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION"


DEDICATED TO:  The sons and daughters of the American Revolution.  One of the seemingly lesser-known facts of American History is that the original revolution was instigated against King George over an issue involving 3% total taxation. Undoubtedly if a few of these folks were to rise from the dead some early 21st Century evening, modern-day America would be a smoking inferno before dawn of the following morning.


Credits:

1. Some argue that eliminating corporate income taxes would remove such a large source for government revenue that doing so would bankrupt the United States.  According to Monthly Treasury Report statistics, a report compiled by the U.S. Treasury Department (http://fms.treas.gov), corporation taxes in 2002 made up less than ten percent of the total federal take when social security taxes are included and less than 12 percent, even if they are not.  Quite obviously, if all personal income above the poverty-level deduction proposed here were taxed and everyone were forced to pay their fair share by required automatic deduction as also proposed here, there would be more rather than less, total government revenue. Eliminating the myriad deductions that now unduly favor the wealthy at the expense of the poor and which also, encourage a great many taxpayers to cheat substantially, both American government coffers and the average American would be far better off.  And because of the poverty-level deduction, poor Americans would also be far better off, as they would not have to pay sales, rental and other taxes that currently take way too large of a bite from their already far too meager incomes.


*FootNote:  Although the amount of 35% may seem high at first glance, this is considerably lower than what virtually all honest income-earning Americans currently pay, as with no taxes on business, costs for goods and services would lower dramatically in a short time due to normal market competition forces.  The elimination of taxes up to the poverty level is a decided advantage for lower-income individuals and families, thus this proposal is overall, a substantial positive gain for most Americans (except those currently enjoying large, unfair special-interest exemptions and/or, otherwise deliberating cheating We The People out of fair and just taxation for equitable services).  In truth, a well-organized and efficient government should be able to get by on less than half of the 35% across-the-board taxation proposed here.  But this presentation is indulging in enough whimsical fantasy without utterly suggesting the insanity of the impossible; that is, to actually suggest that a governing body of human beings might conduct itself even halfway efficiently anywhere on the face of this morally and politically corrupt planet.

**FootNote II:  It is fundamentally and entirely against the First Amendment to allow tax exemption for religious organizations at the expense of those Americans who do not believe in or choose to support a particular religion.  The author has never heard a rational argument to the contrary.

***FootNote III:  The purpose of the Health Care, Catastrophic Disease and Poverty Alleviation taxes thus proposed is historically obvious:  If we as a nation do not take care of our sick and our poor, we as a nation will not survive.  Ezekiel, Jesus and agnostic historians all strongly agree; i.e., if the sick and poor are ignored, either a) they will revolt, b) they will lose patriotism and aid and abet their country's enemies and/or c) they will develop severe sickness leading to plague, which ultimately spreads to the wealthy classes and consumes them along with everyone else---this sad lesson (usually in some combination of these three) is repeated over and over again in the ongoing historical record of human civilization.  (See Fleeing Sodom for more information.)

****FootNote IV:  As much as we value our seniors, allowing a tax-exempt existence is a much greater advantage for those of upper-income level, as the small monthly stipend of social security benefits becomes a decided disadvantage when weighed against the greater advantage of tax-exempt income (that is, for upper-income seniors).  The fact that wealthy seniors paid into the general fund during their pre-retirement years would be offset by the far greater advantage of complete income tax exemption.

*****FootNote V:  Many of our wealthiest Americans agree that leaving too much for their offspring is a great disadvantage for both the country in general and their immediate inheritors in particular.  There is no logical and most certainly, no moral reason why individuals who are fortunate enough to be born into wealth, should be unfairly supported by the majority of the less fortunate by allowing them a tax-exempt or for that matter, any inheritance beyond a reasonable threshold.  In all fairness, for the greater good of our country and the planet as a whole, they should of necessity be required to "earn it the old fashioned way", the same as the rest of us.  Wealthy individuals should likewise in their years of wise age, accept and take pride in the greater maturity of giving back to the people as a whole by working hard toward a large disbursement for charity upon their death.  Such a system could hold citizens of wealth in great honor of achievement, in that their lives of creative production would lead to a better life for the community of We The People as a whole, rather than the fruit of their labor being lost to pointless excess and foolish squander by their perhaps, not all that wise offspring.





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Copyright © August 20th, 2003 by Richard Aberdeen.

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