reply to post by whatukno
Ok to be serious, toss out the tax code, 1 Page tax code, 15% tax on all goods, sales and income.
I think this idea here, comes closest to being the fairest taxation plan presented thus far, and Wuk, if you are able to get elected and dedicate your
legislative career towards repealing the current tax system and replacing it with a one page tax code, you will not only be a hero in my book, but I
am willing to wager a hero to this nation. A grand statue will be built at the Wuk memorial someday where a woodpecker stands holding a five volume
set of the current tax code, while tossing them into the fire for burning, and an inscription will read:
"Sheesh oh Pete!"
Here are some problems you will have taking your ideas of what is taxed and keeping that down to a one page code:
1.) A general sales tax, is easier to legislate I believe than income is, as you have several state models to follow where what is taxable is fairly
broad, and even broader when expanded to "use" tax as well, but the broader you get in your scope of taxes, the more pages you will need to define
what is taxable.
2.) Income; I believe the very reason the current tax code is a five volume set is because it has made a Sisyphusian effort to avoid naming income
specifically as a subject of the tax, and is legally limited in what occupations it can name as a taxed event, so it has built a giant fun house of
mirrors and deception through the circumlocution of definition and tautological language.
a.) Income is not the subject of the current income tax laws. If income were the subject of the income tax laws, it would be a direct tax on
property, and subject to the rule of apportionment, but it is a non apportioned tax, and further it is uniform in its implementation, which is a
requirement of all indirect taxes. Based upon this, and supported by the authority of the 16th Amendment, and subsequent SCOTUS rulings regarding it,
it is clear that the current income tax laws are indirect taxes and not direct taxes.
b.) Indirect taxes; are any imposts, excises, duties and tariff's, or anything that is not a direct tax, but the former is not necessarily true of
the latter, since terms as "excise" are often used to refer to a direct tax as well. Generally, since indirect taxes do not include capitation
taxes or property taxes, they are taxed events. Some specific activity would be that taxed event.
c.) Taxable events; taxable events are generally viewed as any transfer of title, transfer of possession, or transfer of the title and no possession,
depending upon the circumstances, i.e. a "use" tax. Income is not generally viewed as a taxable event, and for a specific reason. Income is
property earned, not transferred by title or possession, it is money in its simplest terms.
This is why the current Code goes out of its way, in most circumstances, to name any subject of any tax, because if they were to name income as the
subject of the tax, as I explained, first of all they would have to apportion the tax among the several states, but even if Congress were able to
convince the courts its an indirect tax, as opposed to a direct tax, they run afoul with the law the minute they attempt to use a persons income as
evidence they earned income, they have relied upon the fruits of the poisonous tree, because it is a violation of the 4th Amendment. Allow me to
2.) American Jurisprudence:
There are basic principles of Constitutional taxation. There are two great classes of taxation, direct and indirect. Direct taxation is subject to
the rule of apportionment, and indirect subject to uniformity. There is one limitation placed upon Congress complete and plenary power of taxation,
which is no authority for duties laid on articles exported from any state. take note of that when considering your sales tax.
In keeping the tax code down to just a few pages, then taxation can not be ambitious. The broader the scope of taxation, the more pages will be
required, (it bared repeating), and in order for a tax to be valid, there has to be a subject to the tax. There are no subjectless taxes, and every
tax has a subject. So, in writing a tax code, the subject must be known, but further, we must know who has been made liable for the tax, so that we
may know who is subject to the revenue law.
a.) income; When taxing income as property, we know who is liable for the tax, because those who have income are liable for it. But, apportionment
of such a tax, across the several states, is not a few page tax code, so that won't work. However, if it is an indirect tax on some specific
activity, the only way I could imagine you passing a tax that includes all occupations, without listing those occupations specifically, and
separately, is to lay a tax on earning income.
The problem with simply naming earning income as the subject of the tax, begins with the right to earn income, and is property, and as the SCOTUS has
stated, "a tax laid upon happening of an event, as distinguished from its tangible fruits,
is an indirect tax." Income are tangible fruits.
To distinguish earning that fruit, from the fruit, is questionable in its Constitutionality and we need look no further than 48 American Jurisprudence
2d, section 2, page 80:
The right to labor and to its protection from unlawful interference is a constitutional as well as common law right. Every man has a natural right to
the fruits of his own industry.
So, if you hope to create a non defeatable income tax, by declaring the act of earning income, you will have to require filing laws, (more pages), and
in doing so, you will be unlawfully interfering with that person right. The 4th Amendment is clear in that no search and seizure of personal
property, can be lawful without a warrant or oath of affirmation. So, you can not force people to file for this tax, and all you can hope to do is
create a scenario, (much like the current code), where you have employers who pay wages, report that income as an oath of affirmation, which
Further, even with that oath of affirmation, a person still has a fifth Amendment right to not file, as such filing would be self incriminating.
This is why the IRS has a tendency to stress the "voluntary" nature of the income tax. There are many cases that support the argument that the
public owes nothing except for when trespassing upon rights, and may not be taxed for the mere privilege of existence, outside of a capitation tax.
I would suggest to you Wuk, that income taxation inherently belongs in the category of excises, and should only be used to measure how much is owed in
regards to the tax laid upon some taxable event. Alcohol, tobacco, and other events that are not so clearly a right, seem to be taxable events. I
would argue that the existing drug laws have narrowed the scope of possible taxable events. Prostitution, gambling, any sort of activity that may in
some way may create a concern for the general welfare of the nation, is a taxable event. Rather than prohibit them, and create prisons in order to
incarcerate those who defy the prohibition, simply tax them, and the power to tax is the power to destroy.
In conclusion, I would argue that truly the only fair tax is a defeatable tax. Sales taxes are defeatable as one is not compelled to buy anything.
The people can choose what they buy, when they buy it, and if they will buy it all. Taxing food, and other essentials necessary for survival is
probably not a good idea, and taxing those events that are mere luxury is what should be taxed, but with caution, since the power to tax is the power
to destroy, and it would not serve the public interest to destroy an industry.
I wish you could just come up with a simple tax code in one or two pages, but I just don't see how that would be possible given all the principles of
Constitutional taxation. Further, it is not as if we can just roll back to 100 years ago, or later, as we are in too much of a pickle now, to do so.
While I have tended to quibble with you over which comes first, cut the spending, or cut the taxes, and I do believe that if you don't cut taxes,
Congress won't cut spending, even with you standing right beside Ron and Rand, demanding they do.
I do think you can create an income tax code that comes with an expiration date, and if you do that, you should probably just go with a direct tax on
property, and make all people who have income liable, for a period of a few years, while you get to the business of cutting back all the programs and
bureaucracies that are choking this nation. In the meantime you devise some form of equitable taxation based upon taxable events, and use income as
a source of measurement to determine the amount of tax owed, which I don't think can be reduced to just a few pages, but if you keep it to specific
activities, each person involved in such an activity, need only look to the section of where that activity has been named as the subject of the tax,
to know they are liable, then to one or two more sections to know how to pay the tax.
In conclusion I applaud your vision of a brief and simple tax code, I would hope you extend that vision to all laws legislated, and thank you for
telling the people that our current tax code is too complicated and too hard to understand. A legislator who understands that legislation must be
written in clear and concise language and easy to understand, is a great legislator. Taxes...ugh. Not just for those who pay it, but obviously for
those who have to legislate it as well...ugh.