Skip to main content

A flat tax is not simpler than a progressive one

This man wants a flat tax.
Andrew Sullivan:
And my sympathy for it lies primarily in its simplicity. There is a direct relationship between the complexity of the tax code and corruption. The rich can afford accountants to keep their taxes low - shifting money and valuables around in myriad ways. The people doing that kind of work could actually be doing something productive.
I suppose a piece of paper with "9 percent" on it would be, literally speaking, slightly simpler than some kind of rate schedule—or, better yet, a mathematical formula with smoothly progressive character.  But what Sullivan's talking about is entirely a function of all the tax credits built into the system.  Yglesias:
Our tax code differs from what Perry is proposing in two ways. One is that the definition of taxable income is complicated because you can deduct home mortgage interest, non-reimbursed business expenses, a whole suite of small-bore tax credits, charitable contributions, and various other things. A second is that we have multiple tax brackets, such that a rich guy pays a higher marginal rate than a poor person. It’s changing the first that makes a tax code simpler. There’s nothing complicated about calculating how much you owe in taxes once you’ve calculated your taxable income. The second change just helps rich people pay less taxes.
It could be a one-step process. Income goes in, taxes come out. Making it flatter wouldn't change that at all.

Comments

  1. This message needs to reach more people. The tax code is thousands of pages of how to decide what taxable income is, the rates only hit the result at the end.

    If there was a simple "you pay tax on every dollar that receive", we could still have a progressive tax system likely with lower rates (as more dollars would be taxed). However, it would effectively end the accounting industry which would put hundreds of thousands of people out of work :(

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

The Conversational Downsides of Twitter's Structure

Over the past couple years, as I've had a steady writing job and ascended from "utter nobody" to "D-list pundit," I find it harder and harder to have discussions online. Twitter is the only social network I like and where I talk to people the most, but as your number of followers increases, the user experience becomes steadily more hostile to conversation. Here's my theory as to why this happens. First is Twitter's powerful tendency to create cliques and groupthink. Back in forum and blog comment section days, people would more often hang out in places where a certain interest or baseline understanding could be assumed. (Now, there were often epic fights, cliques, and gratuitous cruelty on forums too, particularly the joke or insult variety, but in my experience it was also much easier to just have a reasonable conversation.) On Twitter, people rather naturally form those same communities of like interest, but are trapped in the same space with differe