Big Ideas – Part 3

June 9, 2005

Kevin Drum has posted his third topic: Taxes. Lots of interesting ideas in the comments, as this is obviously an issue that lots of people have thought about at least once a year for a long time.

I find this proposal interesting, though tricky in some of the details:

An "outrage tax" on blogs, with higher rates for higher outrage brackets.  National debt erased within two years.

Posted by: Hubris on June  8, 2005 at  7:14 PM | PERMALINK

So, instead, I would propose a drastic change to the fundamental method of taxation. I’ve been interested in the idea of a national sales tax, but it does have significant issues to resolve. We could also go with a flat tax similar to the suggestions in a recent issue of The Economist (online subscription required). There is also the concept of a value-added tax, about which I know very little.

A somewhat less radical change to the fundamental structure of taxation (but no less radical in result) would be this proposal:

What I dislike: A lack of accountability.  I usually check the little box to fund public campaigning, but I want more control.

What to change:

Every tax form is distributed with a condensed version of the
federal budget for the previous year, limited to, say, 2 pages, and
broken down into percentages. Tax payers may allocate their taxes to
specific programs. These preferences are binding on budgets for the
next year.

Benefits: public awareness of where the money goes, and a
significant redirection of funding to infrastructure and social
spending (or so I’d expect). In fact, this would probably result in
anarchy rather than improvement, but it would be an interesting
experiment. . .

Posted by: RSA on June  8, 2005 at  7:40 PM | PERMALINK

A modified version of this proposal that limits choices to specific, and non-essential, areas of government spending might be interesting. Potential anarchy, as RSA suggested, but interesting nevertheless. Go over and read the rest of the comments, and if you have a tax proposal, go ahead and post it for others to see.  

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