Uncommon Sense

April 17, 2018

Taxing the Rich: A Good Idea or Not?

To those whom much is given, much is required.

The standard narratives regarding not taxing the rich are quite bankrupt but are still used, much like the tired old arguments of religious apologists (there is always a new audience to whom these arguments make sense). The usual thing touted is that the rich are the job creators and if you tax them (at all?) they won’t take risks and start new companies which hire workers and we all suffer thereby.

As a counter narrative consider the story of Toys R Us, a huge entrepreneurial success story, which ended in a financial meltdown. The company, however, made its owner rich when individual and corporate taxes were ever so much higher and met its demise in a time when those taxes became ever so much lower.

Read this fascinating story here.

The “standard narrative” of the rich about the rich is they made their money “themselves,” so they “deserve” the rewards. But in reality, does anyone make it themselves? Or is it like personal gifts one is born with and developed, in which we deserve some credit for the development but much of what happens to us and because of us depends upon things like genetics, luck, externalities (like available electricity and good roads provided to all), circumstances of birth (being born into a rich family is a strong marker for “becoming” rich)?

April 16, 2014

Calling Bullshit: GOP Wants to Abolish the IRS

When there are so many real issues that need our attention, why are Republicans going around the country defaming the Internal Revenue Service? They have succeeded in cutting that agency’s budget and crippling it in various other ways. The GOP opposed a major computer upgrade when the IRS’s computers were about four or five generations behind being “modern.” And they continuously beat the drum with how wicked and evil the IRS is, and how bloated the tax code is.

This is abject idiocy. First, the IRS is not responsible for the tax code, Congress is. So, here we have the picture of Congressional Republicans going around the country blaming the IRS for the bloated state of the federal tax codes which is actually their responsibility. WTF?

So, do Republicans want tax code reform? I say “no,” and there are myriad reasons supporting this. The first is simply to watch their actions, instead of their words. Between 2001 and 2006, the GOP had control of the White House, the House, and the Senate. Anything they wanted to do they could. Did they even attempt any tax reform? No.

That could be the end of my argument … but wait, there’s more! How many pages of the federal tax code do you think are necessary to cover all of the rules needed for you to file your tax return? Fifty? One hundred? So, why are there thousands and thousands of pages in the tax code? They are there to provide tax loopholes for rich people and corporations, you know, so that hedge fund managers making billions of dollars annually never leave the lowest tax bracket (15%) while middle class folks making $50K-60K make it at least into the 28% bracket. People talk about tax havens in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands like they were the idea of those countries. when actually, they were created by the U.S. tax code. I wonder how those codes got written, hmmm?

Now we are getting a sniff of what the GOP’s minions are really doing: they like the bloated tax codes because they wrote much of it (Democrats, too) to give their rich patrons tax breaks; they just don’t want the IRS enforcing any of the more punitive parts of that code. Their approach is the same as with environment regulations: corporations don’t need environmental regulations; we can trust them to respect the environment. For the rich: we don’t need to enforce any of those tax laws that cause the rich to pay more taxes than they are now; we can trust them to pay their fair share of income taxes. (“These are not the “Droids you are looking for. There is nothing to see here.”) Of course, this is with all evidence being to the contrary: corporations regularly rape the environment (dump radioactive waste in holes in the ground and leave it for others to clean up, spill huge quantities of oil and not clean it up, leave toxic coal ash dumps out in what effectively are basins that fill up and overflow with rain water, oops, and rich people evade taxation, legally and illegally on a daily basis).

Most people, especially when having just confronted how much they have paid in taxes, aren’t happy about that, but if they are given a scale upon which they place their taxes on one pan and all of the services they receive for those taxes on the other they aren’t particularly unhappy or have buyer’s remorse, etc. (And if they are it is over matters of fairness, not that they are paying taxes at all; only GOP wingnuts think they shouldn’t be paying taxes at all.) But that momentary disgruntlement we all feel when we pay our taxes can be fanned into an anti-government feeling and that serves the GOP’s paymaster’s will. But, how many times have tax measures been passed by the GOP only to find out that the major beneficiaries are the rich even though they were pitched as to how they would affect your taxes, not theirs? And even if the rich don’t benefit all that much, as long as “the government” (which is just “us” acting together for the common good) is further starved of funds, the less it can do to oppose the will of the rich and the corporations.

Currently, tons of GOP political cash is being stored illegally in “charities” prohibited from doing much politically. Because they are “charities” they need pay no taxes and need not disclose their “donors.” The fact that these organizations spend all of their monies on politics is a minor peccadillo that the IRS should not be looking into, so we see the GOP cutting the IRS’s budget, reducing the number of IRS agents, pumping up false claims that the IRS is biased against conservative groups, etc.

So, I call bullshit on the GOP’s efforts to “rein in the IRS.” It is just another ploy in its support of the rich and corporations being allowed to do any damned thing they want. Of course, they include themselves in that group because to continue their effective support of the rich and powerful, they need to be rich and powerful, too.

May 10, 2013

The “Fairness” of Sales Tax Free Online Purchases

An editorial in my local paper had the following (and more) to say about this issue:

“A bill that would enable states to collect sales taxes due for online purchases sailed through the U.S. Senate on Monday in a 69-27 vote. But it faces a fight in the House, where anti-tax advocates have vowed to defeat the Marketplace Fairness Act. States that charge no sales tax such as Montana and New Hampshire oppose it too. So do some, but not all, online merchants, including eBay and Overstock.com.

We urge the House to approve the measure, and we think it will. We have a hard time imagining the alternative: picture members of Congress back in their districts trying to explain why their hometown brick-and-mortar retailers will have to continue operating at a competitive disadvantage. Sorry, Ms. Local Merchant, you have to collect sales tax. Your online rival doesn’t.” (their italics)

Okay, let’s take a step back. A $10 item bought locally involves some transportation costs (gotta go to the store) and sales tax (maybe 6%, so 60 cents). A $10 item bought online costs $10 plus $3.95 shipping and handling. So, buying locally is cheaper, if not more convenient.

Sales taxes go where, exactly? to pay for what exactly?

The problem is that the answers are all over the map. Here’s a 2007 example for Orange County, CA which had an 8.75% sales tax rate then:

For every dollar you spend:
The stage grabs the lion’s share of it – six cents on every dollar.
Then the Sheriff and District Attorney get a half-cent.
Cities/counties get three-quarters of a cent.
Road maintenance funds get one-quarter of a cent.
Health and welfare programs get a half-cent.
State optional funds get one-quarter of a cent.
The Orange County Transportation Authority gets a half-cent.

Oh, so the money goes for, who knows, but the intension was to provide for the infrastructure supporting the businesses making money in the community. Would those businesses rather have to pay fees for police protection and fire protection like they do for water and electricity? No? That’s why they pay property taxes and their customers pay sales taxes.

As far as legislators are concerned, they only want the money and they rarely care about how they get it.

So, the online purveyors (and I am thinking more eBay than Amazon.com, but . . . ) are paying their local utility bills and their local property taxes just like the “real” stores. They just aren’t asking their customers to pay sales taxes.

So, it comes down to do online sellers have a price advantage? Is this a fairness issue?

I don’t think it is a fairness issue. Those who want the tax revenue want the revenue and they don’t really care how they get it. The “fairness” aspect is just a way to sell their argument.

Sales taxes are regressive. Poor people pay a larger percentage of their income to these taxes than do rich people. No one benefits more from increased sales taxes than do rich people because it takes the pressure off of raising revenue progressively, that is in ways in which the rich pay more than poor people, not less.

I would do away with sales taxes if I could. What is it about a purchase that makes it a taxable event? If you argue that it is a taxable event, then you are arguing for the Robin Hood tax, a tax that would apply to the sale of each share of stock on our stock markets. But the same people arguing for this online sales tax are arguing against sales taxes on stock sales because “it would hurt the economy.”

What they are saying is that they would rather hurt poor people than hurt an abstract concept.


April 29, 2013

Dump the Homeowner’s Exemption

Filed under: The Law — Steve Ruis @ 3:13 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Before you dismiss me as a crank, let me explain.

The homeowner’s tax exemption is bogus and we should be rid of it for a couple of reasons. For one, it is the opposite of progressive. The more expensive of a house you buy, the bigger your deduction. Which means rich people get far bigger deductions than do poorer home buyers. Second, it does not, in any way, help people buy a house. All it does is make realtors fees bigger, nothing else.

Consider this scenario. You are out house hunting and you looking at a number of houses you like that cost $180,000. But there is no homeowner’s interest tax deduction. Then, voila!, the government passes a law saying that there will now be such a deduction. “Wow, that is so cool,” you think. But what really happened is your realtor did a little math and figured out that you could now afford the monthly payments on a $200,000 house because of that deduction. Again, you thought, “Cool, we might just be able to buy a nicer house that we thought.” But when you go looking, you find that the houses you were looking at before, that were for $180,000, are now priced $200,000 because their realtors did a little math and explained that with the new law, people who could afford to buy a $180,000 house can now buy a $200,000 house. So, you got a $200,000 house, but it was not different from the $180,000 you could have gotten without the deduction.

Obviously this didn’t happen like this, but the same thing did happen. The only people to benefit were the house sellers who got a bump just after the law passed and then after the market “adjusted” (house prices are determined by what people are willing and able to pay, nothing else) the only people to benefit were realtors as their commissions were now based on artificially inflated prices. Oh, well, the bankers got a bump, too, as there was more interest on those larger loans, but once the adjustment took place, there was no more benefit. So, the federal government is subsidizing realtor commissions and not much else.

But, But, If . . .
Now, if we do decide to forego this deduction, I want all current mortgage holders to be grandfathered in, but new mortgage holders will not be. All new house sales will be depressed somewhat as the market adjusts, so people currently trying to sell would suffer a tad, but housing prices have been clobbered by the recession and another couple of percent aren’t going to matter much.

Also, tax tables will need to be adjusted to account for the newly vacated deductions. This isn’t exactly difficult, any actuary could do it.

In the future, it would be nice if policy makers were to look at the real impact of laws before cementing them in place. Would you have been for a federal subsidy of realtor commissions? No, but a homeowner interest deduction sounds good.

It would be cool to go back and look at who was lobbying for this law when it was passed. On Wikipedia it says “Prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA86), the interest on all personal loans (including credit card debt) was deductible. TRA86 eliminated that broad deduction, but created the narrower home mortgage interest deduction under the theory that it would encourage home ownership. A New York Times article notes that, in 1913, when interest deductions started, Congress “certainly wasn’t thinking of the interest deduction as a stepping-stone to middle-class homeownership, because the tax excluded the first $3,000 (or for married couples, $4,000) of income; less than 1 percent of the population earned more than that;” moreover, during that era, most people who purchased homes paid upfront rather than taking out a mortgage. Rather, the reason for the deduction was that in a nation of small proprietors, it was more difficult to separate business and personal expenses, and so it was simpler to just allow deduction of all interest.

So, in 1913 the only people to benefit from the interest deduction on their home was basically the top 1%, ah, now it is starting to make sense.

The comment “but created the narrower home mortgage interest deduction under the theory that it would encourage home ownership” shows there wasn’t so much of a theory as a supposition. Again, very little thinking involved in policy making.

February 21, 2013

Winning the War on Drugs and Fixing the Debt Problem? No Problem.

The so-called War on Drugs has been an abject failure. This I have written about before so I won’t provide the details again, but in summary we have spent billions of dollars to turn huge numbers of our mostly young people into criminals and the price of drugs has gone down as they have become even more available. If there is one positive outcome from said war, I cannot identify it.

At the same time, we have accrued a bit more debt as a nation than is desirable and that, too, is a problem. Most who offer solutions suggest that recreational drugs be legalized and regulated and taxed and that, indeed, would solve both problems. The illegal drug market would shrivel and the taxes collected from drug sales could be used to pay down the national debt (quickly). But there are problems with this solution. It offends the moral sensibilities of some and doesn’t address the health issues associated with the use of current recreational drugs.

So, what to do, what to do? As a chemist I suggest . . . better living through chemistry. Rather than having the government do any work I suggest a competition. The prizes? A 99-year patent for the sale and distribution of legal recreational drugs. The prices charged will be government controlled because there will be only one provider of each (so there will be no competition to set prices) and the winning corporations will volunteer to not lobby the government on their drug as a condition of accepting the patent. (No hanky-panky allowed, please.)

The contest is to design recreational drugs that are non-abusable. With all drugs, dose is critical, so these drugs these must be very cleverly designed. To be nonabusable this means that a small amount of the drug gives one a slight buzz, a little more, a little more buzz, up to a point where additional drug administration either results in no effect (acceptable) or, better, a buzz kill.

The top five drugs get their patents. Drugstores will sell the stuffs, taxes will pay down the debt. Illicit drug purveyors will basically go away (not completely, we are a perverse people) and scads of money will be saved by law enforcement agencies who no longer have to bust pot smokers, prisons will be evacuated, generations of our youth will no longer be criminalized.

The only moral objection will be from those who do not like to see people enjoying themselves and we can dismiss them as crotchety old farts.

It’s brilliant, I tells yuh!

January 30, 2013

Tax the Rich (Corporations)!

According to Richard D. Wolfe, an economist:

. . . approximately fifteen million of our citizens attend colleges and universities. Over twelve million out of those fifteen million attend a public college or university. That means that the overwhelming bulk of the highly trained, highly skilled workforce we produce in this country is created by the public sector by public universities sustained by public funds.

The future of the American economy depends as much on the quality and quantity of these well-trained college and university graduates as it depends on anything. Our future as an economy and as a society is in many senses dependent on public higher education.

How strange it is that our current economic crisis which the public education system had nothing to do with producing, is forcing many of the fifty states in our country, almost all of them, to cutback on the support they give to public higher education; to fire teachers, to cut back on programs, to close whole departments or to demand more money out of students and their families at a time when they can least afford it.

Now couple this situation with the parallel situation that American corporations are crying about a “skills gap,” which they say is manifested by jobs requiring advanced skills going begging because no one is applying. They say the skilled workers are clearly not available and that the only solution is the open the floodgates to foreign born, well-educated workers to come here to fill those jobs.

Now, the dirty little secret about many of those jobs “going begging” is that the pay associated with them is closer to that of McDonalds than it is a common wage for someone with those skills. No one is applying for them because the wages being offered are ridiculously low. Why would a master machinist work for $10 and hour when he could get $10.25 at McDonalds? Why would a senior chemist work for $60,000 a year when recently, that job paid $125,000 a year. But you can bet that foreign workers will work for those wages to get their foot in the door in this country. The net effect will be to depress wages for all people in the country. This is another attempt by the plutocrats to force wages lower and increase their already record-level profits.

How about we do this: business taxes on major corporations are already at record low levels, so since businesses are the major beneficiaries of a highly educated workforce, how about we get them to pay more, with the “more” directed primarily at higher education?

Couldn’t G.E. for example, pay some business taxes (currently they pay none) to pay for the highly trained workers we are supplying them? Shouldn’t there be an Alternative Minimum Tax for corporations?

December 29, 2012

Religious Relics

After yesterday’s post, I have been giving more thought to what the words “religious relic” mean. In the past I have contended that one salve for our fiscal woes is to legalize some recreational drugs. The taxes on those sales would flood the federal and state coffers with new revenues and ease the pressure on the middle class paying taxes to support rich people. In addition, we could release half of the people from our prisons in that they are there for the grave sin of selling such drugs. This would also reduce the pressures on our criminal justice system and reduce quite a few of its costs.

But Americans aren’t ready to take that leap just yet. Close, but no banana.

But there is a way to “enhance tax revenues” without doing anything at all sinful and that is to tax the profit-making activities of churches. The amount of tax revenue, if the tax rates were set at the same levels as are ordinary enterprises, is immense. Now, please note I am not advocating a change in the First Amendment to the Constitution (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . .). If there is any religious purpose to the activities on church property, under current law it is exempt from taxation (and many labor laws, and . . . ) due to this provision and I am not talking about changing that status here, but what many people do not realize is that churches in the U.S. run many profit making enterprises that have no religious function whatsoever; they just pour monies into the church’s coffers. This is not a good deal for the churches, it is a great deal. (Ask any business man if they would like to be free from taxes and you won’t have to wait long for an answer.)

For example, one of the major landholders in New York City is the Catholic Church. Prime real estate in the form of office buildings and residential buildings are wholly owned by said church and rents and fees are collected but no taxes are paid. Those buildings have no religious function whatsoever, but because a church owns them, they pay no taxes on their profits.

If you think this is surely a small quantity of commercial activity, think again. If property taxes alone are considered, there are hundreds of billions of dollars in untaxed church property in the United States. The tax exemption on that land is the same as a gift of money to the churches at the expense of tax payers meaning that all citizens are forced to indirectly support churches (and synagogues and . . . gasp . . . mosques). Again, I am not talking about taxes on property where there are churches or seminaries, or retreats (or synagogues, or mosques), I talking about secular, for profit enterprises that have no religious activities associated with them.

Italy, you know, the home state of the Roman Catholic Church, has decided that these taxes are legitimate. We could, too.

The tax-exempt status of churches is a religious relic we can do without. And I certify its authenticity.

December 2, 2012

Why the Marginal Tax Rates Must Go Up

If the marginal tax rates go up, they go up for everyone. If the rates for the first $250,000 are kept lower, they are kept lower for everyone. Fair is fair.

When Ronald Reagan got the Congress to lower marginal income tax rates in the 1980’s, he did so by trading off “loopholes.” (Loopholes are just other people’s tax deductions.) That was a good bargain for him because once the rates went down, new loopholes were created (e.g. the carried interest deduction).

All of the studies say the Republicans ideas about taxes and the economy are wrong: studies say that when federal tax rates go up, federal spending goes down, they say when the rich get tax breaks, fewer jobs are created, etc. In almost every case Republican orthodoxy is wrong. Consequently the republicans simply shrug and say the studies are wrong. (If you don’t have an argument, deny the other guy has one at all.) This is like obvious, people, rich people buy assets with their money (stocks, third homes, etc.) not goods. If they purchased goods, there might be a trickle down effect, but they don’t. (If they buy goods, demand for goods goes up and people are hired to create those goods.)

Republicans have suppressed unions, thinking it is good for businesses. It hasn’t been. And the beat goes on.

The rates on the highest amounts of income must go up, higher than what is currently being discussed if possible, so business owners and CEOs find better uses for their money than paying it out in taxes.

Don’t fall for the “we can increase revenue without raising rates” argument, it is as fallacious as all the rest. If we make that trade, new “loopholes” will start their way through the Congress minutes later.

October 2, 2012

20% Sounds Fair … But I Can Do the Math! (It’s not.)

Mitt Romney’s tax plan calls for a 20% decrease in tax rates across the board! And political pundits across the nation have been asking for details how we can afford to give away $5,000,000,000 of tax receipts. The Romney campaign insists the changes will be “revenue neutral” and the way they are going to pull that off is to close “tax loop holes.”

Well, everybody should be in favor of closing “tax loopholes” and in favor of a tax cut, so this should be a net winner, right?

Not if you can do the math.

The key words are that the 20% reduction is in “tax rates”! This is the key to this redistribution scam. Here are the 2012 Income Tax Brackets

10% is the tax rate for the first $0 – $8,700 of income, then
15% for income between $8,701 – $35,350
25% for income between $35,351 – $85,650
28% for income between $85,651 – $178,650
33% for income between $178,651 – $388,350
35% for income over $388,351

Let me estimate that the bulk of your earnings (after deductions) are taxed at the 15% rate or the 25% rate; that should cover most of the middle class.

The “fair sounding” 20% deduction in rates, lowers the tax rates thus:

10% becomes 8%
15% becomes 12%
25% becomes 20%

35% becomes 28%

So the poorest see their tax rate drop 2% but the richest see their rate drop 7%. So, here’s the deal: would you rather have 2% of a paltry sum or 7% of millions and millions and millions of dollars?

Uh huh, the fat cats are getting a much bigger tax cut than are regular folks.

Would you rather have 2% of a paltry sum or 7% of millions and millions and millions of dollars?

To pay for this, certain “tax loopholes” have to be closed. When people think of tax loopholes they think of corporation’s and rich people’s special laws that give them special privileges, like the “carried interest” rule that allows people like Mitt Romney to pay a much smaller percent of his income in tax than you or I do.

But that is not what they are talking about here. Romney is talking about “loopholes” like your mortgage interest deduction and the college expenses deduction, and for charitable donations, and the deduction for having paid state and local taxes. These are things that don’t quite seem like “loopholes” to most folks. So, the Romney plan takes away with one hand that the other hand gave.

But wait . . . there’s more!

Think about what the mortgage interest deduction means to someone in the middle class. If you were paying $2000 per month on a mortgage, that would allow you to deduct most of $24,000 from your annual income. This is a whopping big tax savings for us. And a whopping big loss if we no longer can deduct that.

But Romney’s class of people? How much do they pay in mortgage interest? (On just their primary residence, not their “vacation homes.”) Let’s say they pay $20,000 per month for a total deduction of much of $240,000 for the year. How much of a dent does that make in someone’s “adjusted gross income” when they are making $15-20 million a year? Not very much.

So, when the mortgage interest deduction (and the others) go “bye-bye” under Romney’s plan the rich will give back very little, while reaping huge benefits. The middle class will see the taxes they pay go up while the rich’s taxes go way down. Mitt Romney is ostensibly against “redistribution of wealth” but not, apparently, when it is in his favor.

And that’s not all! (Must be watching too much TV.)

Mr. Romney’s tax plan includes doing away with capital gains taxes. Capital gains taxes are the taxes one pays on earnings made from investing one’s money. What, you’ve never paid capital gains taxes? Gosh, could it be because you don’t have millions and millions of dollars in Cayman Island accounts to invest?

If capital gains taxes go to zero, Mitt Romney’s federal tax rate goes from 13-14% to approximately 0%. This change is needed apparently because money earned by investing one’s wealth is more honorable than the money you earn by the sweat of your brow or dint of your imagination. WTF? There used to be a principle in this country that capital gains shouldn’t be taxed any lower than ordinary wages as no effort was made in earning them. So much for that. They will claim that the tax reduction will allow more capital to be invested, which will grow the economy. Right. The rich have been harvesting money like it was corn for 20 years and do you see more capital investment? U.S. businesses are sitting on over $2,000 billion dollars of cash. Do you see them hiring folks? Do these cockamamie ideas ever get challenged?

Couple this with the fact that the bulk of “payroll taxes” (basically for Unemployment Insurance, Social Security, and Medicare) are capped at $111,000 of income, which means if you make over that amount, you stop paying them. Let’s see. Given Romney’s 2011 income of about $14 million, he would have stopped paying payroll taxes on . . .  (wait for it) . . . January 4th, 2011 . . . if he actually were being paid that money as wages, which he was not. The Medicare and SS parts of the payroll tax constitute a flat tax of about 7% on your earnings, which added to the effective tax rate you pay via income taxes of roughly 13-14%, you are paying roughly 20% in federal taxes while Romney and his gang are paying at about a 9-12% rate. And even this is just too much for the monied interests of this country, they want their taxes to go down and yours to go up. After all money is power (and free speech) and they were born to wield power and you were not.

So, instead of waiting for Romney to supply his math, I have applied my own. After all it is simple arithmetic. Simple enough that even greedy effing Plutocrats can do it.

October 25, 2011

I Wanna Be a Corporation, Too. . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 5:38 pm
Tags: , ,

Mitt Romney is oft quoted as saying “Corporations are people, too,” which he did say but has been misinterpreted, I am sure, as are many things in politics. For example, Sarah Palin didn’t say “I can see Russia from my house,” comedian Tiny Fey did, but Palin got tagged with the saying. Romney is tagged with his saying even though I believe he meant that corporations are made of and by people. Mistaken or not, the comment hit a nerve. One of the best comments I have heard or seen in response was a sign at one of the “Occupy . . . ” protests, namely “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”

That sign got me thinking. The idea of a corporation is that it is a fictitious person (a corpus) doing business. One of the aspects of corporations that business people love is that if the going gets really tough, the corporation can “disincorporate,” that is the people in charge can kill the fictitious person. Since that “person” is dead, it no longer owes its creditors or has any other obligations. If corporations were real people, any time one bit the dust a coroner’s enquiry would be necessary, but because they aren’t, there isn’t even a funeral.

Corporations have been doing this dance for years. If one’s creditors are at the door, the corporation “dies” and a new corporation, often with the same people composing it, is born elsewhere. I can understand why the people behind this magic trick are in favor of it, but I don’t understand why the general business community favors it because it is often stuck with the bills. But since most of the losses are borne by stockholders, I guess it works in general, at least for public corporations.

While the Supreme Court has decided that fictitious people are not only good for business but for politics, too, it looks as if fictitious people are becoming more like you and me every day. (The guy who invented virtual avatars is way behind the curve.) But, I don’t think SCOTUS has gone far enough. I want to be a corporation, too! But, not so I can die to get out of trouble but for tax reasons. Consider the fact that corporations only pay corporate tax on their profits and, of course, corporate lobbyists have made sure that every kind of expense made by a corporation is included as a loss in their profit and loss statement. I want the same treatment.

I want to pay taxes only on my profit for the year, not on my income. Think about it. From your income, you deduct all you spent on housing, food, transportation, education, entertainment of friends (only 80%), etc. and at the end of the year, what do you have left over? Let’s say you managed to save $300. So, your tax bill is 35% (the corporate rate) of $300 or $105. Write a check and you are done.

Poor people spend almost everything the make on necessities, so they won’t pay federal taxes at all. The vast majority in the middle won’t pay much tax as we aren’t into saving, but people making beaucoup bucks, well, for them it would be different. Investments in the stock market aren’t expenditures, they are like putting money into a savings account, so after rich folks have paid for their food, electricity, garbage, yachts and mansions, everything they have left over would be taxed at the corporate rate. That hedge fund manager who made $1 billion dollars in a single tax year would pay roughly 35% of that in taxes instead of the 15% he did pay. (I don’t weep for the guy, he still would clear $650,000,000 after taxes under my plan, which works out to about $340,000 and change per hour worked.)

Why should corporations get all the breaks? Don’t you want to be a corporation, too?

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