2015-03-22

Taxation... again...and again...

Why so many taxing authorities?  What purpose is served by the forcing the burden of accounting onto the people who are being taxed?  It seems to me, that to prevent taxation from having even more negative connotations than it is going to have by nature, we should simplify it and put the burden of it on the beneficiary: The Govt.

Note that there is more implied in that last sentence than what is on the surface.  The sentence is one of those poor ones which suggests a problem for the sake of promoting a solution.  I see/hear a lot of sentences like that; from across the spectrum of commentators.  Average Joe's/Jane's, politicians, wanna-be politicians, experts, etc... .  The problem is that the focus is on the solution instead of the problem.  As if implementing the solution would address the problem... well, maybe it would, but I doubt it.

Problems like taxation are not simple, they are complex, almost intractable.  The underlying concept is however simple: We pay into a/some pool(s) so that things that are better done in a consistent manner get done on a consistent basis.  Defense, infrastructure, security(of many types), diplomacy, rule of law and it's enforcement.., all of these things are better done by a designated team than they would be by individuals or groups of individuals in small locales.

Getting back to that sentence: Let's examine for a moment what it implies.

"negative connotations":  I know very few who like paying taxes, preparing taxes, or agree that they are spent wisely.  The attitudes that I am aware of regarding taxes run in the range from absolute rebelliousness to acceptance of a necessary evil.  Perhaps I hang around the wrong folks?

"by nature":  This is perhaps a misnomer.  The only thing about taxes that are natural is that they seem to be ubiquitous in organized societies.  And it is natural to object to having ones money taken away in order to fund things one does not believe in.  I think we, on average, believe in paying for infrastucture, defence within reason...all those things that provide the baseline for a civilized culture.  Not so much agreement however on big ticket items like corporate subsidies, food stamps, foreign aid, heath insurance, etc... .   It is natural to not want to pay for things one does not believe in.

"we should simplify it":  And yes, I am one of those that believes that the tax code should be all of one page long.  At more than 160,000 pages long, with more than 15,000 modifications since it was last written by the Reagan administration, it is a travesty of complex, poorly written, unplanned garbage which represents nothing less than legalized extortion.  A sixth grader should be able to sit down, read our tax code, and present a report on it.  A tax code more complex than that is targeted toward scamming those it is supposed to both tax and benefit.  Income tax should be left in the pages of history books written about poorly thought out policy.

"..put the burdon of it on the benificiary: The Govt."   Now this part displays all the elements of presenting an oxymoron as a solution.  Working backwards:  "..The Govt...".  Yes that is us, we the people.  The burdon should be on us.  So when did anyone vote for 160,000 pages of tax law?  Did you?  I didn't.  In fact, when did we vote for an income tax at all?  Was it in 1913?  Why would we want to have to fill out multiple forms, or like me, pay a specialist to do so?  And why would I pay into a fund so that it could then turn around and refund me my own money?  On top of that, why would I want to put into place an expensive, hard to regulate organization to administer this flow of funds?  Talk about masochistic!

We have generated an overly complex, expensive, self-destructive institution and allowed hucksters to riddle it with added complexity, and for what rational reason? For the life of me, I can't think of one.  It is utter and complete stupidity.

Beyond being stupid: we have let it be a point of leverage for politicians, who promise to return more of our money to us, or put it to better use.  Of course it never does really get returned to us, except as little dribbles that we use up on one purchase at Best Buy, or a family night out.  "Wow! We got our refund! Lets go invest!".  How stupid we have become!  It is embarrassing.


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