As strange as it might be, it has come to my attention that the government has, on occasion, over promised and under delivered. Freely translated: they overestimated results and underestimated costs. It's really a rare occurrence, perhaps no more than once or twice a day that Congress is in session. The net result is we have passed the eyeballs, on the way up, in debt. My 4 month old granddaughter has been solicited for a social security card just in case the government, federal, state or local, needs to add a few more bodies to the tax rolls. With the crisis in mind; so much debt that even China is worrying about their almost trillion dollar U.S. Treasury bond position, I have decided to outline some choices for the inevitable raising of taxes.
Realistically, taxes can generally only come from individuals or family units, small businesses and the large corporations. Two missing sources we could really use that would build our tax base are coyotes and rabbits, which seem to be everywhere enjoying the environment and not paying their fair share (Writers note: the aforementioned animals were not covered in the Bush tax cuts). At a bare minimum, we could harness their power, via a treadmill, and create some green energy. Just a thought!
Let's start with the large corporations and move backward from there. The problem with our tax system is that we tend to only want to tax profits. The government(s) is really missing a huge source of revenue by sticking to that formula. If I may digress for a moment, I will tell you about my father's thinking. When I was a young man and fell and scraped a knee or some other body part, he would generally paddle me. He simply believed that if he didn't point out the fact that clumsiness had no place in a person's life, he felt he would be missing a teaching moment. With that in mind, why not tax losses of these corporations at the same rate as profits. Right now, they go out of their way to create losses to save on taxes. We simply stop that and teach them that losses are unacceptable and will be dealt with accordingly. Future losses claimed will be taxed at a rate higher than profits. That gem of an idea is worth a few billion, give or take.
I am hoping you are getting the drift of my thinking and can move right along with me. We cannot simply tolerate small business, because as you know, small is always less than large and to make this work out, we need larger businesses to employ more people and earn more money (we needn't worry about losses anymore) and pay more taxes. Therefore, we penalize those whose proclivity is to run a small operation.
It is easy to estimate the optimum size for these enterprises and therefore we can tax them on the difference they have failed to achieve. It follows that if they shrink in size and start laying off more employees, their difference would be larger, as would their tax. If they cease operations, you are now talking about the reaching the pinnacle of taxation: taxing those who aren't doing anything. There is a windfall if I have ever seen one.
When it comes to individuals, we have to be a tad more creative. I will start with a plan that should be universally accepted that has to do with politicians. This, of course, is the incessant annoyance caused by political ads. Everyone from all parties in the political debate know that the incumbent has a huge advantage, so we should act like some of our upstanding institutions, the NBA and the NFL, and try to level the playing field.
They have the worst teams draft future players first, so I suggest we only allow the incumbent half the amount of political ads that the challenger is allowed. The challenger gets to pick the number of ads he or she runs and is taxed if there are too many. Too many would be more than one. This means if they stick with the non taxable one ad for the entire campaign, the incumbent would have to stay working through the entire term. Why? No need to spend time raising money because you can't advertise. Any violation would bring a 100 percent of cost as a tax.
The real secret to an effective tax strategy is to tax pleasurable events so the populous is less likely to react in a negative manner. How about a 100 percent tax on popcorn in the movie theater for starters, with a 10 percent surcharge for butter? A progressive tax on skiing with the rate going up for each foot of new snow? We could tax surfing in the same manner with an increase as the size of the waves increase.
We can combine our fiscal policy with social ideas that would lessen the protests we have incessantly in this country. We tax every adult who doesn't produce offspring. If they form a union and don't produce any offspring, then they have twice the tax. Adoption is allowed and therefore everyone has an equal chance of avoiding this tax, but not too many other taxes.
People in this country enjoy the freedom to move and therefore will be less hostile to a "skate to fly" tax, which gets every means of transportation except walking. Our population is not only aging, it is in bad shape so we shouldn't lose tax revenue because of the walkers in our society. Other than perhaps Michael Phelps, we won't have to worry about the swimmers either.
Last but not least, we will do something that will help bring back AIG and our deficit as well. We will offer an alternative to the direct yearly tax to one covered by life insurance. You would be allowed to buy 10 times your yearly income in life insurance that would have the U.S. Treasury as the beneficiary. This would allow you better cash flow during your days on earth and still have you meet your responsibility.
Writers Note with High Importance: Should you see a downturn in tax collections, or an increase in the deficit or both, it would be highly recommended you seek asylum with a non extradition country.
All other taxes in the U.S.A. will remain at 2008 limits. Therefore, these needed changes as outlined above should suffice in our quest for a balanced budget. We would allow any president one wild card in case of a 10 percent shortfall. He could invoke the Tiger Woods rule that would have every man, woman and child pay a dollar for every stroke that Tiger beats his opponents by in every tournament he wins in a given year. This would be good for a quick three to 30 billion in revenue in any given year for at least the next 40 to 50 years.
That's all she wrote for now. All we need is quick passage by the Congress and our balanced budget is assured. We will make the bill unreadable so this time Congress has an excuse not to read it.
Roger Schlesinger's Mortgage Minute is heard on hundreds of radio stations and daily on the Hugh Hewitt radio show and Michael Medved shows. Roger interacts with his hosts and explores the complicated financial markets in order to enlighten his listeners and direct them along their own unique road to financial freedom.