Citizens are rejecting the idea that huge government borrowing and debt has been secured by pledging the future earnings of generations of Americans not yet born. Such irresponsible and immoral taxation of future American generations is intergenerational theft that reeks of taxation without representation all over again. The angry reaction of everyday citizens is not a sign that government is broken but that the American people are remembering what Washington has largely forgotten, the rightful role of the citizen in directing government policy.
After almost 100 years, the income tax system has become a caricature of responsible public policy. With more than 67,500 pages of income tax regulations and an annual tax compliance cost of more than $300 billion, the federal tax system is increasingly being seen as something that is very good for those in Washington and very bad for all the rest of us.
It is rich pickings in “Gucci Gulch” outside the House Ways and Means Committee room where well-heeled, former tax committee staffers and former Members of Congress seek income tax favors for wealthy and powerful clients. Meanwhile, small businesses, the engines of our economy suffer tax preparation costs as high as $700 for every $100 of taxes paid. And, more and more Americans will soon learn that even the Congressional mistake of failing to index the Alternative Minimum Tax is a growing quicksand, like the tax code itself, which threatens to define working class Americans as “wealthy.”
The fact that the original modest proposal to “soak the rich” with an income tax has grown into a federal monster that affects every business and personal financial decision in America is increasingly being seen as downright un-American and corrupted to the core. Married people pay more than singles living together, we are double and tripled taxed on the same income, Warren Buffett pays a lower rate than his salary-earning secretary and every step up the economic ladder is greeted with a penalty by our federal government. Even death is a taxable event.
Whatever other differences we may have—and we have a few—nearly everyone except those in Washington, D.C. agrees that our federal tax system is badly broken and must be ripped out by the roots. Those who ignore the tidal wave of citizen passion coming to Washington on April 15th may want to start looking for life jackets—or new jobs.