The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 September 2004

The Eternal Revenue Service

Francis W. Porretto would definitely like to see the Federal income tax go away:

If Dubya, Frist, and Hastert get behind this one and push hard, not only will I join the Republican Party, I'll give it my firstborn child. (I could use a spare room, anyway.)

Fritz Schranck is a little more cautious:

As with Bruce Bartlett and several others, I'm more than a little dubious, especially considering how high the sales tax rate would need to be to match the revenue from the current income tax system.

But that's not his biggest beef:

From my perspective, beyond the fundamental problem of setting a revenue-neutral sales tax rate is a small matter of trust.

I just don't believe Congress would abolish the income tax code permanently. Even in the unlikely event that the Linder plan or something like it becomes the Federal government's primary revenue-raising system, I fully expect some future Congress to return to the income tax whenever it felt the need for more cash.

I would be happy to spend more time thinking about the difficult issues raised by a national sales tax proposal, but only on one small condition if it was accompanied by the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

Which leads to the next question: if Amendment XVI goes, does the payroll tax go with it? Or does its fixed rate, inasmuch as it is sort of "uniform throughout the United States," give it a pass under Article I, Section 8?

Zymurgy's First Law of Evolving System Dynamics kicks in right about here: once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a bigger can.

Posted at 1:06 PM to Political Science Fiction

Someone else who remembers Zymurgy's First Law! I'm not alone!

Here's a pair of equally hoary old laws, from scholar of bureaucracy James Boren:

1) "A little ambiguity never hurt anyone."
2) "The universe is intractably squiggly."

Anyway, Schranck's fear is an important one. I would never denigrate it. All the same, this is an important crusade, even if we add the requirement that we drive a stake through the income tax's heart. It has a liberating potential that adheres to no other initiative in the works at this time.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 1:17 PM on 9 September 2004

I dunno, I kinda like the idea of a pay-as-you-go kind of government financin' scheme, like at the end of the year, if I am pleased with the efforts of my congressman, I can send him what I think he/she deserves. Additionally, I could send to the military such amount which I believed was sufficient covers the services they provided that I found to be of any benefit to myself. I especially like the idea of jes' tapin' a penny onto a letter that I am gonna deposit in the mail box inside of the local post office that is addressed to my neighbor's PO Box in that smae post office. I dunno, but 37¢ seems a bit excessive for transportin' it to another part of the buildin'. Then, again, if my PBS donation track record is any indicator, I would likely not be very generous. Although I am of Irish descent, me seems to have a bit of Scotsman when it comes to control of me pursestrings.

Posted by: Tiger at 3:24 PM on 9 September 2004

Tiger, where do you think the Scots came from? They were run out of Ireland by their (mostly) less stingy countrymen for never standing a round when it came their turn.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:35 PM on 9 September 2004

World Net Daily had a bit on this a while back:

Here's an excerpt:

At least one other person running for president feels the idea is a trick on voters.

"How do you know it's election time?" Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik mused. "The Republicans are babbling about eliminating the IRS again. Give me a break."

Badnarik has also proposed eliminating the IRS, and is looking to repeal the 16th Amendment.

"If we don't get rid of the authority for the income tax, it won't go away. We'll end up with Hastert's national sales tax or value added tax or whatever ... and the income tax, too," he said.

Posted by: Chris at 9:14 PM on 9 September 2004