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Three Cheers for Taxes

Friday, April 16 2004

I don’t mind paying taxes, but seriously, can it be any more complicated? I ran TurboTax (a horrible piece of software) three different times and got three different results, and now I live in fear of an audit. I am not a master of the black art of minimizing my tax obligations and I shouldn’t have to be.

Didn’t some politician try running for President who was touting a flat rate income tax? Who was that? Where is that guy, let me vote for him in futility. If the rule was simply: your tax obligation is exactly 16% of your income, think of how much simpler that would be. Forget about all the obscure credits, forget about dependants and withholdings and all that garbage. No paper work, no mutated frontal lobe IRS henchmen applying witchcraft to my tax return to see if I need a visit. Release those pasty accountants into the real world and let them get a tan so we don’t have to see the blue viens pulsing through their clear skin [I’m sure to be audited now]. Liberate! Simplify!

Take 16% of all my income before it hits my bank. Blur the line between “employee” and “consultant” and just call me “dude who accepts monetary compensation”. If you pay me for four hours of work, and give me no other benefits, tax me 16%. If you pay me to work for 50 hours a week with a group of other like minded individuals with a singular goal and give me health benefits and a free t-shirt, tax me 16%. If, as the leader of a publicly held organization, I report earnings of $2.6M in a quarter, tax it 16%, but not before I issue dividends to shareholders (who, by the very nature of the system, will be taxed 16% on the income from those dividends).

Throw out the idea of having to think of human beings as some sort of tax obligation – it doesn’t apply in the flat rate world. Worry only about collecting taxes on income, whether the income is collected by an individual or a corporation or a cow.

Throw away cash, and make it all electronic. If new money shows up in my account, take the 16%, but be smart enough to know when I’m just moving money so you don’t steal from me. Plant a DNA matched chip in my hand that authorizes payments for everything from toothpaste to tube socks with a Jedi-like wave, and charge me no sales tax (the man will pull out the 16% automatically before the remainder lands in the store’s account).

And make the entire thing impossible to abuse, game, hack, invade my privacy, and make me subject to an audit. And work a personalized key fob into somewhere too.