POSTED: 28 JUNE 2007 - 5:00pm HST
Revision 2.0

For serious presidential candidates...

...that want to attract serious voters
by Jonathan Jay on 27 June 2007

Now I truly do love a good party (except when i don't get invited, don't even get to eat cake, and am expected to foot the bill).

As a Fiscal Conservative and Staunch Political Centrist, I have two taxation proposals to Presidential Candidates of Parties now jockeying for position. These 'modest proposals' go straight to the heart of the matter by directly addressing both sides of the taxation coin: who pays how much, and where does the money go. Not only are these proposals: simple, fair and expand our freedom of choice, they will score the standard bearer of these changes tens of millions of votes, and catapult them directly into office.|

1) The "Progressive Flat Tax." PFT

You have may have heard of the "Flat Tax" a simple system that screws the poor and 'liberates' the wealthy of the 'burden' of social contribution. Simple, but grotesquely unfair. Have you ever heard of the PROGRESSIVE Flat Tax? Simply put, a Progressive Flat Tax is where everyone pays the the same rate, AFTER everyone makes the same >VERY LARGE< personal deduction... which works out to a very simple system with a highly graduated effective tax rate, where those who can afford to dig deeper do, and everyone than can also pays in, but no cuts go to the bone. This is 180 degrees away from the Forbes' "REgressive Flat Tax." of Reaganesque yesteryear.

Lets say (for the sake of agreement) a Progressive Flat Tax (PFT) of "25/25" would be 'revenue neutral'. What does 25/25 mean? Simple: $25k personal Deduction, & 25% Base Tax Rate.

Here's how it works: a gal earning $1,025,000 a year would deduct her first $25k, and pay a tax of 25% on the remainder $1 mill, = $250,000. Effective tax rate ~ 25%. Simple. And Fair. It's a bit more than she is paying now, and let's face it - she can afford it.

A fellah who pulls down only $29,000 a year follows THE EXACT SAME Progressive Flat Tax process as the millionaire. Simple. Like her, he deducts the first $25k, and then pays 25% tax on the remainder $4k = $1,000. Effective tax rate ~ 4%. Fair. And s bit less than he would presently pay because let's face it, if you are earning less than a LIVING wage (in this example $25k/annum), you should not pay Uncle Sam "nuthin' nohow". How could you afford to if you don't got it?

2) "No Taxation Without Designation"

Taxpayers are told directly HOW MUCH to pay, but have no means to directly say WHERE THEIR MONEY SHOULD GO. For an extreme minority of Americans (Large Powerful Corporations, Big Idustries, Billionaires, etc) can afford to hire armies of lobbyists to go to DC and put the screws to YOUR representative. Understandably, this is irksome to millions of people. Personally, i think it is unconscionable.

Since we are constantly told these taxes are "our money" (by folks who want to spend it) in this 'land of the free', shouldn't we be free to designate WHERE (in terms of Federal Program or Department) our monies go? Perhaps this raises a constitutional issue - but that can be addressed. All taxpayers - not just the corporate and financial elites - should have the freedom to designate spending priorities and this can be done on the same form used to calculate the amount. Consider this becoming your own lobbyist.

To be clear, I am NOT suggesting some token $2.00 checkoff to a 'presidential fund', but for-serious. As in "100% of my taxes will go to the Department of Education." or "50% of my taxes will go to the Pentagon for weapons system research, 25% to fund the War in Afghanistan, and 25% to be distributed as you see fit, oh Great & Wise Congress." Is this an application of market forces or Freedom of choice? Yes. In fact, this is very similar to how the United Way allows contributors to designate some, all or none of where their monies go. If YOU CHOOSE NOT TO CHOOSE (which of course is your choice), freely UN-allocated funds can continue to be dispersed by Congress as has long been the case. Congress still retains power of the purse, it just their reach has been, um 'curtailed.'

If these two small (yet fundamental) changes were to be made, a TON of bickering and pork would be eliminated (actually several hundred billion metric tons). Also loads of tax-payer bitching would cease. I strongly suspect what is so frustrating is that we often do not agree where and how they are being spent. I believe it is not actually the case that "taxes are too high" (although we hear this all the time)- the real problem: Our ability to direct where those monies go and how they are spent is "too low." Our present taxation system strips people of our dollars AND our volition. Instead of shutting down the IRS, "Let's Mend it, Not End it".

What do you call pushing for changes like these - equity, simplicity, and a constitutional expansion of freedom - I call it "Leadership." What do you call someone brave enough and capable enough to stand up and make these 'democratic-with-a-little-d' evolutions real?

Try "Madam/Mister President."