adventures in dysthymia

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On Taxes and Stuff

I'm not running for anything! Just some thoughts I've had on taxes (yes, and stuff).

Lowering taxes does stimulate economic growth – to a point. After that point, there are diminishing returns with each decrease, until we reach a level where there is no improvement at all. The thing is to find that ideal spot where the needs of stimulation and revenue balance.

Those on the Right claim it is further down, those on the Left think it is higher. Ideology gets in the way of reason. It's probably a moving target, anyway; the needs change with the economic climate.

Income tax rates on the wealthiest probably could stand a small increase but I do not really consider this a big deal one way or the other. I would rather see them paying more to Social Security. Remove the cap and make it a percentage of ones total income tax.

And then pay everyone on SS the same amount, no matter how much they paid in over the years. As it stands, the people who need the money the least are the ones who generally collect the most. We could start by freezing the top tier of payments but raising the lower ones until they catch up.

If the above mentioned changes were made to Social Security (and, ideally, health insurance/Medicare as well), tax payments would be higher for those with larger incomes anyway. They might be higher for just about everyone but, after all, we get what we pay for. It would certainly make the Social Security system more, um, secure.

There should also be a national sales tax. I know this is not a popular idea with liberals, nor many conservatives for that matter. The point would be not so much to bring more income to the national government but to allow the states to collect sales tax on transactions across state lines. Right now, they are increasingly losing that revenue as more sales are made on line.

Streamlining the sales tax process would benefit all and the federal government could take a portion of this revenue, with perhaps a one or two per cent national sales tax. It would also be an aid to small local businesses as online and mail order sales would lose one of their advantages.

This last point is, to me, the most important. A national sales tax system would help shift the balance back in favor of local businesses, bringing more money to local governments, as well as to state budgets.

And, of course, if we were all paying national sales tax then Mr Romney couldn’t call us freeloaders anymore, could he? (As if the payment of state sales tax and property tax and gasoline tax and so on doesn’t count.) Going off on a tangent now, but his recent statements pretty much ended any remnant of respect I might have had for the man. Presidential sorts should unite, not divide. They should attack their opponents and their ideas, not the American people.

SB MMXII

No comments: