Just a friendly reminder to all you rich assholes who don't want to pay your fair share of taxes; you still have until forever to file an extension for a secret bank account in the Cayman Islands, to receive your well-deserved corporate welfare, or to simply pay nothing and stick your middle finger up at our country's middle class.
Republican Presidential candidates are pushing for a flat tax, in order to "simplify" the tax filing process. Also, they're proposing a wider hole in the front of their trousers, in order to simplify the process of smacking their dicks in the faces of hard-working Americans. In a 2014 column for USA Today, Senator Ted Cruz wrote, "We should let taxes become so simple that they could be filled out on a postcard."
Hey, I just received a postcard from Presidential candidate Ted Cruz! "With this new tax plan, it will now be an even greater struggle for kindergarten teachers and cafeteria workers to pay for basic necessities like food and clothing. Meanwhile, Donald Trump will have a little extra cash to buy that indoor pool made entirely of gold watches and authentic dinosaur bones. Wish you where here!"
The majority of Americans support a flat tax plan, which Tea Party conservatives call a "fair" tax. But it should really be called a statistical manipulation, in which the surveyor manipulates the question by not fully explaining how a flat tax actually works. In theory, a fair tax sounds justifiable. Heck, they should call it the "Everybody Wins" tax plan. Or the "We All Agree That Kanye Has Become Insufferable" tax plan. That sounds even more appealing. But what if you explained to people that the flat tax works in a way so that Paris Hilton will be buying diamond-encrusted robots to dog-sit her poodles with the extra money you will now be shelling out?
Really, that our tax revenue comes from income puts the poor and the middle class at a disadvantage. America's richest one percent owns over 140 percent of the nation's wealth. But wealth isn't taxed. Income is income. But wealth is power. Luckily, though, the working class doesn't have to pay any taxes on their wealth, either. That's kind of irrelevant, though, since the working class doesn't own any wealth.
America is not about what you earn. It's about what you have. This is the difference between income and wealth. So let's say that, instead of an income tax, we have a flat wealth tax system, and we set a flat tax at twenty percent. That means that Mitt Romney pays twenty percent of his wealth and you pay twenty percent of your wealth. Fair, right?
Mitt Romney's five bedroom, four bathroom tool shed in the backyard is worth about a million bucks. So he would pay $200,000. Meanwhile, your 2002 Ford Fiesta has a bluebook value of, minus necessary repairs and the fact that your final monthly payment is in just six more years... well, you would pay no taxes because your wealth isn't worth anything. Doesn't that sound fair? I bet at least 47% of Americans would agree.
But who are we kidding? This wealth tax plan would never fly. It doesn't fit on a postcard.
The Tea Party, which at this point is just another term for the Republican Party, which at this point is just another way of saying FOX News, which is really just a way to sell those Bill O'Reilly Choose Your Own Adventure books, is opposed to pretty much all government taxation. Rather, these people believe in the traditional values set forth in our Constitution, like the 2nd Amendment and states' rights and, oh hey, Article 1, Section 8: the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes. I'm surprised people missed that. It's near the front, even before Article II which clearly disqualifies Ted Cruz from becoming President since he was born Canadian.
Look, taxes are a pain. But they're necessary. How else would we pay for roads and schools and Senators' personal masseuses? And everyone should pay their fair share. And "fair share" means taxation on a sliding scale.
Wealthy people have convinced themselves that they pay more taxes than everyone else. This is a myth, like Bigfoot and the moon landing was faked and there are good roles for women in Hollywood. The reality is that everyone pays the same tax rate. Let's say you make $20,000 a year. You're taxed a specific percentage of that total. Now let's say someone makes a half-million dollars a year. Hey, the fetish porn industry can be very lucrative. Somewhere in that $500,000 is the first $20,000. And he pays the same percentage on that first $20,000 as you do. Then, the extra income from the next four or five-hundred thousand dollars is taxed at a higher percentage. But the more income you earn, the more money you keep in your pocket, even after taxes.
Do you understand? So when cumwads like Steve Forbes complain that our tax system discourages people from making money, their lying. Within our sliding scale tax system, you will always keep more money if you make more money. Rather, our current tax system encourages rich people to work harder and create more butler jobs. Have you noticed that the wealthy people who complain our tax system discourages them from trying to make more money are still trying to make more money? They think you're stupid. And, I mean, you are. But not because you don't understand our complex system of taxation. Rather, it's because you like Transformers movies.
The problem is that "sliding scale" doesn't sound as good as "fair tax' or "flat tax." Republicans always come up with more marketable names as a way to screw you: fair tax, the Patriot Act, the Religious Freedom Act. Maybe we should call it a sliding panda scale. People like panda bears.
Here's the problem with flat tax. In reality, everyone pays more or less the same amount of money for life-sustaining necessities, like milk and gasoline. Sure, the Koch brothers get their milk from endangered white rhinos. But the initial couple of bucks that you pay for your dairy products, rich people pay, too. Then they pay for extra luxuries on top of that original cost.
Hence, a flat tax isn't really flat. A flat tax means that poor people are going to pay a much higher percentage of their income on necessities than are rich people. Let me simplify and try to fit this explanation on the back of a postcard...
Let's say that a person needs to spend ten grand a year for basic survival: food, shelter, Netflix. And this assumes you're eating frozen dinners every night and your home is, well, literally a shelter. Now let's say the flat tax is at ten percent. Okay, so one person makes $20,000 a year and another person earns a million dollars a year. With me so far?
Now flip over the postcard. I need to use the other side...
Fifty percent of the poor man's income goes to pay for necessities- that's $10,000. Meanwhile, the rich guy spends only 1% of his income on basic survival. And according to studies, one needs to survive. But a flat tax doesn't take this important percentage into consideration.
But there's more...
The first man makes $20,000 a year. Subtract the ten-thousand he needs for basic necessities. He's left with $10,000. The rich guy- oh, let's call him Richie- makes a million dollars a year. Now take away the ten-thousand he needs for basic survival. He is now left with $990,000, or, as I call it, "the nouveau poor."
Now do the flat tax math again. Each person has to pay ten percent of his overall income. After the poor person pays his "fair share", $2000, he's left with $8000. In other words, not counting the survival money (which is the same for both men), he is left with 80% of his original income. Meanwhile, Richie has to pay $100,000. So he's left with $890,000. That means that Richie still has almost 90% of his original income to spend on trips to Cancun and hockey game luxury box seats.
The poor person is being taxed twenty percent on his extra income. Richie is being taxed about ten percent on his extra income. Got that? God I hate math. But the point is that the flat tax is always going to be a little bit flatter for rich people... and a little shittier for poor people.
It's true, though, that our current sliding scale tax system isn't fair. But not because billionaires and giant corporations pay too much. It's because they don't pay enough. Heck, the National Football League doesn't even have to pay taxes... which seems unfair since I had to cough up an extra eight percent sales tax on the officially licensed Tom Brady jersey I used to clean up my dog's poop. (note: I'm a New York Jets fan.)
In the 1950s, under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, the tax rate percentage for higher income brackets was much higher... and we were experiencing an economic boom fueled by a thriving middle class. Oh, the bad old days.
But, hey, if you really want a fair flat tax, eliminate all income tax. Loopholes and creative accounting and off-shore bank accounts give the wealthy endless opportunities to cheat. Instead, the government should rely entirely on sales tax. But don't tax the necessities that people need, like vegetables, snow shovels, and school supplies. Rather, tax the luxuries. And make it a flat tax. So everyone- both poor people and rich people- now has to pay the same, noticeably higher sales tax rate on Ferraris and private helicopters and Dom Perignon.