When a bad plumber or electrician comes to your house you might pay a lot of money for an incomplete and potentially dangerous fix of the problem.
But a band aide on a bad pipe just means that a potentially disastrous leak is still very much in your future and that the money you just paid has been wasted. That’s what the debate about the Bush tax cuts sounds like to me.
Of course it’s a bad idea to raise taxes when the economy is still struggling and while almost ten percent of the workforce can’t find a job. Of course it’s a bad idea to further punish our citizens when so many have seen their home values plummet beneath the loan amount.
But underneath this debate is this leaky and destructive pipe: the income tax system is a monstrosity that only continues because Washington insiders make so much money off it and because Congress–both parties–love the power over the citizenry that comes with plum assignments to the tax committees.
There is a huge lucrative culture in Washingtonthat has grown up around the income tax code that turns a blind eye to the destructive effects and almost comical complexity of the 68,000 pages of regulations in the tax code. They love the system and we hate it.
And why not? For them it is big business with more than $1.5 billion a year spent on K St tax lobby firms. It means a million dollar salary for former tax committee members who go to work for them and hundreds of thousands of dollars in “signing bonuses” for staffers. It also means that even the most powerful businesses in the country come on bended knee seeking tax favors (18,000 in the last 30 years) –which makes former nobody’s, now serving as public “servants”, feel like royalty.
For us it means more than $350 billion a year spent on tax preparation. It means that we Americans are routinely pitted against each other by cynical political handlers. It means that the second highest corporate tax in the world (which we always end up paying as consumers) chases businesses offshore and makes job growth even more unlikely. It means married people pay higher rates than singles living together and it means the eternally growing federal government has an unending supply of our money to keep spending.
We are the sheep who will always be more efficiently sheared by our own government until the day comes when we demand a more honest tax system like the FairTax. Anything short of such a fundamental change is just moving around the deck chairs on a sinking ship.
With 80 economists involved in its design, the FairTax is the best researched tax system ever presented to Congress and yet, even with more than 65 co-sponsors it can’t get a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. They’ve stacked the deck against our best hope because it will cost them.
It can save our economy, put the brakes on federal spending, see the most productive workers in the world back at good paying jobs and make the United States the most favorable tax environment in the world. It can catapult us past any foreign competitors and create a new period of unchallenged American economic growth and prosperity.
What’s standing in our way? Probably not more than 10,000 connected insiders in Congress and near Congress who love it just the way it is. Bad reason.