Society & Culture

A Patriotic Tax Plan

Aside from its sheer incomprehensibility, the U.S. federal tax code is immoral, by design.  Its 75,000 pages exceed its 1917 length 187-fold.  Paradoxically, even though the tax code contains more than four million words, the United States effectively has no tax code.  At that absurd immensity the tax code says whatever your team of lawyers and accountants convinces a frazzled IRS agent it says during your audit.  Elected officials sacrifice the tax code to the fevered dreams of lobbyists and other influence peddlers in the same way a doting mother offers a plate of freshly baked cookies to her hungry children.  Like a locust swarm, greedy powerbrokers descend on Washington during tax negotiations, behaving as though wolves had raised them.  In their zero-sum attack on venal legislators, they demand deductions, credits, and other preferential treatment, all at the expense of their fellow citizens.  Their boundless rapacity sticks middle-class Americans with fiscal deficits they will have to fund through higher marginal rates and assorted new taxes.  Then, whenever a new regime assumes power with the promise of reforming the tax code, these same despicable rent-seekers shift their focus to the idealistic, but easily bought, freshman congressmen.

Political change, as Edmund Burke taught us, should be gradual.  But, contra Burke, the United States’ $21 trillion national debt will soon...

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