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April 13, 2004

Comments

Steve

Well isn't that a nice dishonest post of yours. A "flat tax" is simpler depending on how you do the deduction. For example, a flat deduction of say $15,000 per income earner would make the issue of figuring taxes quit simple, wouldn't it. In fact, it would be so simple you could do it on that 5x7 card. Also, you'd have a nice progressive tax as well.

I dare you to point to a flat tax that removes all deductions.

Here is Robert Hall and Alan Rabushka's proposal with a $25,500 deduction for a family of four.

Here is Dick Armey's proposal with a $26,200 deduction for a married couple.

The ideas you are peddling here are not consistent with "flat tax" rhetoric. So, did you write this out of ignorance or dishonesty?

Jay

Notice that I said almost all deductions, not all deductions.

Having one deduction and a flat rate is exactly as simple to file as one deduction and a graduated rate with a table. More difficult, actually, since the flat rate without a table actually requires you to get out a calculator.

Of course, all the proposals you mention would actually make the tax structure more regressive. For example, a four person family with a taxable income of $35,000 would currently pay no taxes but would see their taxies rise by over $1000 under any proposed flat tax scheme. The same family of four with an income of $200,000 (taking no deductions) would see their tax bill drop by a significant amount. Who is being dishonest now? Or was it stupid?

Spoons

It's good to see that the liberals all got their talking points on schedule this year: "Figuring out the rates isn't hard, it's figuring out Adjusted Gross Income that's hard."

What you're overlooking, either deliberately or through ignorance, is that the elimination of all, or virtually all, deductions is central to all flat tax plans.

You are correct that if we kept our current system of deductions, but flattened the rate structure, that would not result in any significant tax simplification.

But nobody's proposing that.

Why do I suspect you know that already?

Jay

What you're overlooking, either deliberately or through ignorance, is that the elimination of all, or virtually all, deductions is central to all flat tax plans.

You are correct that if we kept our current system of deductions, but flattened the rate structure, that would not result in any significant tax simplification.

Um, no, that's directly opposite of what I'm arguing. What is it with conservatives and literacy problems?

What I said is that the flat rate part of it is not necessary if simplification is the goal. A graduated rate with a lookup table and one or no deduction(s) would be exactly as simple as all the flat rate tax proposals out there.

But isn't it odd that all the flat tax proposals out there cause the tax structure to become far more regressive than they are? Not to mention that most of them aren't revenue neutral, so they basically amount to a huge stealth tax cut proposal. It seems to me that simplification isn't the real goal of the flat taxers here. Like I said, just who is being dishonest or stupid here?

geotech

The source of the confusion is now apparent. Jay has decided to use a tax table, modified for years to fit the everchanging deductions and modified taxes. The percentages and assumptions of this existing table are not compatable to a flat tax. Why would a sane change of the tax structure retain this existing tax table?? There is no reason. An argument/discussion has been presented over a point which actually is not part of the flat tax proposals I am aware of. Good waste of time, Jay

Jay

Jay has decided to use a tax table, modified for years to fit the everchanging deductions and modified taxes. The percentages and assumptions of this existing table are not compatable to a flat tax.

More illiteracy. You flat taxers are dishonest, in that you will twist anything to suit your own means.

If you want tax simplification, the table isn't the complicated part. In fact, the way the numbers in the table are computed is a simple high school algebra problem based on the graduated rates for the four categories (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household). The deductions have nothing to do with the numbers in the table and once you have figured out your deductions and credits the table is trivial to use and understand. In fact, the 1040EZ form uses the same table and rates and is as simple as any flat tax proposal.

If you want tax simplification, you don't need to use the same table. My point is that the flat part of the flat tax is not what is crucial for tax simplification. A graduated rate structure would be every bit as simple if you have it in your mind that you want to get rid of all (but one) deductions and credits for whatever reason. The flat part is just thrown in there to make the whole thing more regressive. Or, I believe (and the comments here have only reinforced this) the regression is the goal and the simplification part is thrown in to obfuscate the issue.

Or maybe you are all really stupid and can't figure out how easy it is to read a tax table (or figure out where the numbers in it came from) once you actually have the number on line 42 (or whatever it is) ot the tax form.
If so, I feel sorry for you, but that is really your own problem and we don't really need to engage in widespread reform of the tax code just to fulfill your needs.

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