questionsdo you like the current system or would you…

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For purely selfish reasons, I prefer whichever tax laws keep the most money in my pocket. As I suspect everyone else does, too. Which is the inherent problem with taxes, everyone wants other people to pay them.

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"LIKE"! Not the word I would have used in the title.

...All things being equal, I prefer a flat tax. Just Simpler. The important thing to remember is "ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL"

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I take it you are just talking about income tax, then? Because when I think flat tax, I think of rolling all the taxes into a single rate. Federal and State income tax, property tax, sales tax, etc. Basically, set a tax rate and that's all the government is entitled to. I'd imagine that would be somewhere around 30%, which would be a huge sticker shock to everyone but is what we are already paying. I pay 8.25% sales tax out of my take-home pay on most things I buy, my property taxes are about 6-7% of my gross pay (almost 10% of my take-home pay), I haven't figured my income tax but I'd guess it's about 12% of my gross pay. I'd just as soon pay that 30% up front and have the remaining 70% to spend without additional slices being taken out at every turn.

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Neither. Flat-level income tax for all income above about 5x poverty level income with progressive tax below and very few to no deductions.

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I think something simple and fair is the way to go. A flat tax seems like a good idea. The problem is there are too many people or organizations with a special interest in certain deductions, etc. that we would never see meaningful change. Even if a flat tax was introduced, you can count on special interests and Congress to start mucking it up with add-ons and special provisions so we would be right back where we started.

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I like the concept of a flat tax, however I think there is a better way to implement it than using our current system with just a flat tax. I suppose in reality my method isn't quite a flat tax, but everybody pays the same tax on the same item. We ax income tax entirely. We then have a federal sales tax on all items. Item classes can have different rates. Food/clothing could be like 5%, prepared food (dining) could be at like 25%, "luxury" items such as vehicles in excess of some $ or speedboats could be at like 35%, etc. People who make under certain amounts can file for some tax relief. This way, it doesn't matter if people are payed "under the table", everybody pays taxes. Illegal immigrants would have stronger reasons to become citizens as well (to file for tax credits if they make under a certain amount since they are paying taxes anyway).

Note, my examples are just examples and not what values i think they should be. The system would obviously need refinement.

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@moondrake: i was just talking about income tax, but you bring up good points. although, what about states, like washington (where i live), that don't have an income tax?

@morriea: yeah..."like" isn't quite what i meant. should have been "prefer".

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I like the idea of a fair tax. Tax people on what they consume not on what they save or earn. This the only way you get people doing shady business to pay taxes like the rest of us.

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@jeremytheindian: the words "fair" and "tax" together...there will never be agreement on what is fair.

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@rockytrh: This is similar to a Value Added Tax (VAT) used in much of Europe....They do not seem to have perfected it.

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The Internal Revenue Code is job security, so it can stay how it is!

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@carl669: We don't have a state income tax here in Texas either. But it's my understanding (perhaps incorrect) that state income tax is supposed to pay for schools and takes the place of the property taxes I pay for the schools. If this is true, then folding both state income tax and property taxes into a single tax should balance out more or less.

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The Fair Tax is the best plan available. http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=HowFairTaxWorks With 47% of the US citizens not paying any Income Tax, the costs need to be spread more eavenly over all of the population. EVERYONE should pay something. With this tax everyone shares the costs in a very fair way. Important to note ... the FairTax is the only tax plan currently being proposed that includes the removal of the payroll tax.

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@morriea: It is similar to VAT and I think that if we went that direction, we could learn from the mistakes of VAT. I never claimed it to be a "perfect" solution. I think there is no perfect solution, but I do believe with proper refinement, it would be a better solution than what we currently have and would set a good foundation. Right now, The only people who pay taxes are those who don't try and cheat the system, and that is an injustice in my eyes. Our tax system is far to complex and allows for too much to be removed or payed under the table. I don't remember the quote verbatim, but Albert Einstein said something along the lines that a solution to a problem should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. I think that if we had a VAT like taxation system with 3-5 categories (some sort of rank from necessities to luxuries) and fair business laws to back it up, we would have a simple solution that would work.

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@ruger9mm: Just read that site, this is exactly something I can get behind. It's very similar to what my own ideas for taxation are.

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I've preferred the concept of a flat tax for awhile now, but only with (a) NO deductions(personal or corporate), (b)a really low minimum income level. That's all the rules I've comfortable with.

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@rockytrh: The bill is already in congress with several sponsers, it just needs people need to call their representitives and let them know if they don't want to change the tax laws, we the people will change them!

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As a middle-class home owner in WI and responsible person I pay well over 30% in taxes every year. And the harder I work, the more I get taxed. It is just nuts and seemingly spiraling out of control more and more each year. I feel like it'd just be easier to give up on everything, and live off of this country's overly generous welfare system.

On a brighter note: Last year was the first year my property taxes went down in at least 10 years, not something to get overly excited about yet. Until this trend continues into next year I'm not convinced that my Governor's plan to fix the situation has worked.

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In order to fix the mess that we have going on now in so many, many areas, I am not kidding when I say I think we need to "fire" all of the house and senate members and then implement term limits, make it essential that the senators and congresspersons have the exact same health plan that might beoome universal health coverage, and barring that, they should have to buy their own insurance. No govt pensions for a few years in a political office, etc. Then, we can make taxes more equitable. Nothing, but nothing is going to happen the way things are going. This is of course my jaded opinion after actually believing I could join a party of group to make things better.

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@ruger9mm: I like the idea of The Fair Tax, but I do worry about charitable organizations which depend upon donations for their funding. I know some individuals and (probably) most companies who donate are swayed to do so at least partially due to the tax deduction. So many of those organizations do so much good, and often in ways that the government can or will not (and should not in some cases). I think there would be major problems if those organizations lost a large percentage of their funding.

I'd like to think that my giving would remain the same even if I was not able to deduct my donations. But I can't say that for certain.

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@gt0163c: I don't think charitable contributions would decrease, heck if I had more money in my pocket, I'd probably give more.

But I think that if we (as US citizens I mean) wait around for the "perfect" solution, we will never get one. We have a saying at the place I work, a good solution now is better than the perfect solution never.

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@rockytrh: You are now defeating the entire purpose. The current tax code is thousands of pages long. When interpretations, regulations, and relevant court opinions are including it increases to hundrds of thousands. The idea is a simple tax that Congress cannot screw with to give favors in order to buy votes with the taxpayer dime.

This, unfortunately, is why all these ideas will fail. It requires Congress to give up their power to mess with the tax system (and thus society). They aren't going to do it.

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I like the idea of shrinking the federal government back to being nearly inconsequential in our daily lives, which would require very little income tax to be sent to DC. We could then shape our states' and local communities' governments closer to what we want rather than sending money to Washington only to have a fraction returned and eliminate the waste of massive bureaucracies. But if I had to choose one of the above, I'd go with the flat tax. :-)

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@rockytrh: I agree that something needs to be done and we can't wait for a perfect system. But I think we also need to take into account the things that we can anticipate to change and, if they will change for the worse, try to fix them.
I would like to think that individuals and companies would donate more, given that they have more money under a simplier tax plan. But I just don't think it would happen. I guess I don't have quite the faith in people and businesses (mostly businesses) that perhaps I should. And I would hate to see churches, hospitals, relief organizations and other groups which do real good and rely on donations suffer because of this type of change. The problem is, once you start introducing tax deductions/credits/prebates for some things like this, you end up headed right back to where we are now.

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@ruger9mm: I love that 47% number that people like to throw around. Does that 47% include unemployed, retired, and people who are ineligible to work? Or is it, like 73% of all statistics, just made up on the spot?

In other words, I have yet to see anyone state where that number comes from, and I am calling shenanigans. Even when I was 15 working part time and barely making any money I still paid income tax, and my tax rate has only increased since then even though I'm making a pretty (profanity) wage right now.

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@joshaw: The Federal government treats our city more fairly than does our State government. We have a dual problem of a very low voter turnout and a pattern of voting contrary to the rest of the State. Consequently, sending money our way fails to benefit the State's political majority and enhances the lives of people who traditionally vote against them. Unlike State government, the Federal government tend to swing back and forth on the party spectrum, which, on the long haul, makes it more fairly apportion money. States already tend to be politically polarized, I worry that taking the Federal Government out of the funding loop would lead to even further polarization, to the point where there would not be much financial tolerance of opposition viewpoints. Looking at a red v blue election map, further polarization of State politics does not seem to serve the body as a whole, IMO.
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2008/

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@lparsons42: The number comes directly from the IRS.gov website. Like I said in my comment it includes everyone, those like Warren Buffet who pay only Capital Gains taxes to my screwed up sister inlaw who sits in a pile of filth and collects her foodstamps and is trying to collect disability, to that kid down the street living off student loans while going through college. My point was all these people make use of our streets and enjoy the protection our military provides, and all of us should share in the funding of the government.

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I would like any system where I don't have to pay a third of my income in taxes.

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Although a flat tax, or the "fair tax," is much simpler in theory (thus the appeal), it would be highly regressive on the poor, and a giant tax cut for the "rich." If you move to a strictly sales-tax based system, remember, a "poor" man spends every dollar he earns, while a "rich" man is able to save a significant amount of his income, and spends only a fraction of it. If you only tax consumption, the "rich" man would pay a lower percentage of his income in tax than the "poor" man.

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@djp519: The Fair Tax would actually increase the tax burden on the rich. And it has the prebate that would make poverty level income tax free.

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@moondrake: Wouldn't more people concentrate on making their states' governments more accountable if the federal government had less impact on their daily lives? It seems much easier for me to change things on a local or state level than it is at the federal level.

I find it an interesting statement that the federal government treats your city more fairly than the state government, do you have statistics on how much tax revenue you spend vs. the amount you receive? Or are you referring to specific programs that you support/oppose that are funded from the different governments?

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@ruger9mm: I'm not trying to be a dick about this or anything, but can you be more specific as to where on the irs.gov website you came up with 47%? I didn't see it on the site and don't know where they would post such a number on their site.

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@lparsons42: I didn't find that figure on the IRS site, but I did find this:

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/1001289_who_pays.pdf

Taxpolicycenter is a venture between Urban Institute and Brookings Institution

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I work for City government in a Federally funded program, so I don't have direct information. But, for example, San Antonio receives more State funding to compensate for the costs of being near the border than does El Paso. San Antonio is 130 miles from Mexico. El Paso isn't even 130 feet from Mexico. A bullet fired in a gunfight in Juarez came through the office window above mine a few months ago. One of our agencies made an application for a State grant, they were told that it was the best proposal they'd seen in ears, but they weren't going to get it because that office wasn't going to fund El Paso. We don't get the same per capita funds for public improvements or other programs as do other Texas cities. I was at a speech made by a State Senator and he acknowledged the problem, citing our low voter turnout as the primary reason for it. Federal funding tends to be formula driven, offering basic equity, while State programs are usually directly funded, allowing for favoritism.

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I believe that taxes should tax people fairly and have as small a transaction cost as possible. Obviously, "fairly" is very subjective, but low transaction cost can be measured easily.
I used to be in favor of a flat tax, but after reading "The FairTax Book" and visiting the FairTax web site (www.fairtax.org), I am fully behind changing our tax structure to that described in the book. [Read the book; don't just listen to what people say about the concept.]
The FairTax protects the poor by giving them money to cover the taxes on spending at a reasonable level. It also results in significantly reduced prices, since corporate taxes are taken out of the costs of products. Under the FairTax only spending is taxed, giving a great incentive for people to save and invest.
There is so much good about the FairTax that it has a chance (slim chance) of being enacted even over the objections of tax lawyers and accountants, not to mention those who benefit from current exemptions.
Read the book

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My vote is NO TAX, government is the biggest joke.

BTW, anything the government calls "FAIR" like "FAIR TAX" is NOT FAIR. Do you people not learn anything?

Patriot Act lmao, right.

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@iggz: I take it you don't drive on the road or feel we need a military?

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A flat, federal income tax would be greatly preferred over the current system, which is bloated, convoluted, incomprehensible and self destructive. The current system's flaws include:

-Changes in rules frustrate almost every person and every business that pays taxes,

-It punishes achievement by increasing the tax rate the more successful you are which slows economic growth and reduces the job market,

-Deductions are sometimes used as a form of "crony capitalism" which rewards donors or can give an unfair advantage to one group or business over another,

-The cost to private citizens, businesses and corporations to prepare and comply with the ever changing tax code drains funds, labor and other resources that could have been used to invest and improve the economy,

-The cost to the US government to enforce the tax code means higher taxes for all which means money, labor and other resources are being used to enforce the tax code rather than for better economic options.

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@moondrake: I'm afraid I don't understand what you're trying to say. Are you stating that ONLY government can create roads or have some form of military? Because I would disagree. You're questions aren't logical.

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Definitely the Fair Tax, exactly how it is written.

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@iggz: So who do you think is going to defend the borders and build the roads? Private citizens out of their own pockets? Corporations? Churches? You say that people who think you need government to build roads are idiots, but you don't say who you think the job should belong to. Obviously we must agree to disagree, as I think people who believe that things will just get done with no government of any kind to make it happen are living on pipe dreams. Roads and bridges and dams and armies and navies are not the work of individuals. When you get a group of people together to pool resources and effort for the common good, you have formed a government.

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@moondrake: I live in PA and we have state income taxes, local income taxes (based on what township or borough you live in), sales tax, property taxes and the school tax. Our state income tax is a flat rate, 3.07%, my local tax rate is 1.3%, our sales tax is 6% (clothing is exempt), I get a property tax bill from my county and township due in April which is .45% x my home's assessment, and then I get a school tax bill due in August which is 1.68% of my home's assessment. So unfortunately here, the state income tax does not take the place of the school tax, but I sure wish it did!

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@moondrake When you get a group of people together to pool resources and effort for the common good, you have formed a group of people.

Government isn't some magical thing.

It's the people who get things done, not the government.

Government doesn't build the dams, people do. Government doesn't build the roads, people do. Governments don't protect the nation, people do.

You have been lied to your entire life.

Government is a medium for waste and corruption.

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@moondrake: I just now saw your comment saying that you work for the government, now I'm not surprised by your answers at all. Wow! Someone in the government thinking that only the government can get things done hahaha ya don't say!

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@iggz: Actually, in this instance, Moondrake is correct. In a free market economy businesses and corporations operate on profit motive. When consumers demand more of a given good or service the price and profit increases because there is not enough to go around (scarcity). These increases in prices and profits (excluding inflation) act as market signals telling businesses and corporations where to re-allocate resources to provide more of what consumers want and less of what consumers don't want.

Roads, generally speaking, have no point of use price and therefore offer no profit motive for businesses or corporations to expend time, money and other resources to build and maintain. It would be a huge money losing proposition. Tolls could be charged, but would likely never cover costs of construction or maintenance.

Thus it is necessary for governments to charge taxes to build and maintain roads. This holds true for the military, dams, bridges and other similar public works.