Congress should make income tax fair, simple

What others say

Posted: Monday, May 16, 2005

Every time Congress "simplifies" the tax system, it seems to get longer, like a corollary to Murphy's Law.

As a commission appointed by President Bush examines the U.S. tax system, here are some of our dreams.

Taxes should be simple. Taxes are a transfer of wealth. If legislators would like to redistribute income, do it with other methods.

Implementing the tax collection system is expensive. According to the Economist magazine, it costs about 15 percent of total tax revenues to administer collections.

Income taxes can be avoided. The wealthy, having the ability to hire good tax accountants and lawyers, find legal ways of reducing tax payments. Some classes of workers elude payment, as much as 30 percent of small business earnings and up to 80 percent of gardeners, reports The Economist.

Income taxes are used by politicians to encourage things such as homeownership, saving or charitable contributions. There are other, more efficient, means to foster those goals, whether helping the poor, encouraging home ownership or promoting college education.

A simpler, more efficient method of tax collection is needed, something like the Fair Tax. It can be adjusted to be more progressive if need be.

Two of its main benefits would be simplicity for the taxpayer and elimination of a huge layer of government in tax collection. Those should be the goals of government.

— The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.)

May 15

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