Terry Paulson

With the high taxes, costs and regulations imposed in America today, more and more of our own economy is conducted in cash. Contractors hire illegal immigrants under the table. A fair, flat tax would make such arrangements unnecessary and would bring many additional benefits.

Alvin Rabushka of Stanford University's Hoover Institution (http://flattaxes.blogspot.com/) argues that the flat tax would replace the 66,000 page U.S. tax code with a single rate and no deductions other than personal exemptions. In addition to having an individual tax return that would fit on a simple postcard, there would be pressure to cut costs because voters would be spending “their” money, not just the money of their “rich” neighbors. The more government would spend, the more all Americans except the poorest of the poor would pay!

“Shared opportunity” means letting people get back to work. People want jobs, not handouts. Germany has weathered the global economic challenges far better than America and many in Europe. Instead of raising the minimum wage and increasing the costs to hire people, they prefer to pay companies to keep people in part time jobs than to pay unemployment benefits. They encourage low-paying apprentice positions to learn trades and professions. Such programs let workers prove their value and move up their career and wage ladder when they do. America should do the same.

But with so many hurting and struggling in these challenging economic times, we would also need a recommitment to “shared community.” Free enterprise allows people to achieve and to earn rewards commensurate with that achievement, but in a world with rampant unemployment, it would be wise for the most successful in our midst to know when enough is enough. There are CEOs that could put their workers ahead of that next “added” incentive. While the NBA and the NFL players and owners squabble over millions, small businesses who are already struggling face devastating losses if seasons are cancelled. No law should limit them. No taxes should be imposed beyond what others pay, but it’s not time for successful Americans to demonstrate more concern about the workers and small businesses that depend upon their business.

There is a point at which today’s top salaries can seem obscene. Zig Ziglar once put it best, "Reach down to pull people up with you, or we can wait until we go so high above that they will reach up and pull us down." After all, if we can no longer afford cradle-to-grave entitlement programs, we all must commit to revitalize our local communities by supporting vital charities for the truly needy in our midst. It’s the local churches, synagogues, civic groups and citizens who must put their faith and values into caring action.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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