Our income tax system is joke. This is known. One of the most controversial results of the current system is, with all its complexities, millions of people still manage to pay no income tax. And it's not just the poors getting away with it! The percentage of U.S. taxpayers reporting adjusted gross income […]
Income tax pontificator David Cay Johnston can't help but think that maybe this particular revenue generation policy has run its course. It’s time to consider whether to get rid of income taxes, personal and corporate. What are the strengths and weaknesses of our current system? Should we tax individual and corporate income — or something […]
Why? Because we need the tax policy equivalent of Law & Order: SVU.
“We need something that is very far-reaching, very dramatic,” said Ross, the head of W.L. Ross & Co. “An idea I’ve been in favor of is to scrap all of the corporate income taxes, all of the individual income taxes, and substitute a value-added tax on all goods imported into the country and manufactured and consumed here, and then rebate it on exports.”
Oh and that jobs bill? It’s bupkis:
“The amount being put in relative to that plan, compared to the jobs they say it will produce, is way out of whack,” Ross said.
Joseph Thorndike writes over at Tax.com that bitching about the burdensome nature of income tax is as old-fashioned as plutocrats wearing top hats.
In 1915, Chicago lawyer Charles H. Hamill of Rosenthal & Hamill made headlines with some vigorous complaints about the new income tax, then less than two years old. The law, he said, was “the worst piece of legislative draftsmanship I have ever seen placed upon a statute book anywhere.” Indeed, it was very nearly incomprehensible:
“It is so complicated that it is utterly impossible to understand its meaning save by consulting a palmist.”
So as you can see, things haven’t really changed. To this day, whether you’re paying a lawyer, CPA or palm reader for your time, you walk out more confused than when you walked in and you definitely don’t feel like you got your money’s worth.
As you may have heard, 150 years ago today Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter which began the Civil War. This war turned out to be a pretty big deal as the Union victory effectively ended slavery. But what you may not be aware of is that it also led to the first income tax in our fair land.
From our friend and tax maven-cum-historian Joe Kristan (who somehow has time to post with less than a week to go in tax season):
The consequences of the war, surely unintended by the operators of this gun, included the end of slavery, a horrific death toll, and the first Federal income tax. While the tax was repealed after the war, the idea stayed alive; the federal income tax came back in 1913, and is still with us. So while you struggle with your 1040, save a word of “thanks” for General P.G.T. Beauregard and the rest of the Confederates who attacked Ft. Sumter.
Funny thing – lots of people in the South manage to have no tax liability so aside from LOSING THE WAR the whole thing is probably NBD.
“Antitax voters clearly won a victory on Tuesday. But it would be a stretch to say that they don’t want higher taxes on the wealthy. More likely, they just didn’t want higher taxes on the nonwealthy.”
~ Robert Frank, on Washington’s rejection of Initiative 1098.