Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Flat tax idiocy

The flat tax? What's next, yearly grain levies to the sovereign by the serfs?

The main argument in its favor so far is that it is simple. Simplicity? Since when is that important to a government's functioning? And do they mean simple like "waging war on terra" simple? 1. Oversimplifying a complex issue. 2 Act without fully considering ramifications. 3. When things spiral out of control, say they're not. 4. They're not not not not not. 5. You hate 'Murricuh if you say anything else.

The conservative sponsors of the measure currently wending through Congress have apparently included a provision for refunding certain low-income groups for their sales tax losses. Do you really trust W's government - which has overseen the biggest tax giveaway ever and has recently rammed through a giant corporate-welfare bill - to do this? Or to figure out how to prevent the richest Americans - i.e., those who stand to gain the most from abolishing the income tax - from circumventing the flat sales tax?

Thankfully, there seem to be some big interest groups arrayed against it. Retailers, for instance, would have to figure out how to administer this program and who would also suffer from being seen as gougers, much the same way the IRS is viewed now. Accountants would lose billions of dollars in tax-prep fees - and point out that a flat tax would remove one long-standing incentive to own a house (the tax break from mortgage interest), thus probably depressing the housing market and ruining one of the best middle-class investments, if not causing trillions of dollars in equity to evaporate.

Of course, with those cons on the table, it's only a matter of time before the plutotheocrats get it done.