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11/11/2007

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Jim

Regarding flat tax-

Sorry, I meant to suggest sales tax. So, you get to keep your federal income tax, and then you pay some national sales tax when you actually buy something. I am sure there are unintended consequences, but this would encourage savings, simplify federal taxes, and certainly not be regressive (like state lotteries, for example). Maybe it creates a stronger incentive for black markets, and I guess you need to not tax the first $40,000 or so (so send all households a check for the tax rate*$40,000). I guess my milk will cost $5.00 instead of $4.00, but having an extra $1,500 every month will help out.

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Jack

Marco: Upward mobility in the US has dropped so dramatically that other nations, Germany being one, has a higher rate than we have.

Also, after weighing the posts here and concerns as to the negative effects of a nation of ultra-haves and have nots, does it matter how the super-rich became super rich? BTW I suspect you'd be fairly surprised to learn how many of those claiming to have succeeded without preferential government policy have benefited from market distorting government intervention.

Upward mobility is one goal, as you say, Americans value, however the other concern dictated by the stats of the last three decades is that of those below median income making no progress at all; a situation that causes many of the "problems" that will be front and center during this, long, election cycle. SS, access to health care, all too few having any discretionary income as energy costs consume what little they had before, and, of course the related slowing of the housing market and lackluster retail sales. It's not only an economy that can not fly on one wing but democracy itself.

Jack

Jim: Again the "devil's in the details"

Sorry, I meant to suggest sales tax. So, you get to keep your federal income tax, and then you pay some national sales tax when you actually buy something.


.............. Fine if you favor sharply regressive taxation, as the higher one's income the lower the percentage of purchases, which given anything like our current economy would finish it off promptly.


I am sure there are unintended consequences, but this would encourage savings,

......... Probably not, as median income is now so low that all those at, near or below median income have so many unmet needs they'd still be broke all the time.

........... As an aside, while US savings probably are too low, there are times when an economy needs higher savings so as to have the liquidity to build new plant and equipment. Today our utilization rate is quite low (70% is the number I see) and is one reason interest on bonds and returns from the market are low. Especially since housing (about the last leg this economy had) is tanking we in an era of low demand and were someone to create a policy that actually did constrain spending, our, and most of the world economies would go into deep recession.

simplify federal taxes,

........... probably not. More below.

and certainly not be regressive (like state lotteries, for example).

.......... Gee, now THERE's a comparison!! As if paying for education or state government via gambling proceeds was wise policy!

Maybe it creates a stronger incentive for black markets,

.......... indeed! and games. Today the Federal budget takes some 20% of GDP so a sales tax would have to be higher than that as many do not spend all their money on items that might be taxable. Try 25% or more? So how do we duck paying $25k in sales taxes on a new Mercedes? Leasing? Or a cheaper used car? Wouldn't private parties agree to split the fed donations? On a new room addition? Barter?


and I guess you need to not tax the first $40,000 or so (so send all households a check for the tax rate*$40,000).

.......... Well, it IS hard to get blood out of a turnip by any means. But! of course those under $40K (and those who'd like to be under $40K) are again back in the business of filing an income report replete with "allowable deductions" and that is most of the people.


I guess my milk will cost $5.00 instead of $4.00, but having an extra $1,500 every month will help out.

.......... Indeed. And if you were Steve Forbes you'd be helped out many times more which is why he and some rich folk less honest than Buffet try to sell you this scheme.

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