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It's Tax Day... For Some of Us

Posted by Art Lewis on

Art Lewis

Art Lewis

So it's Tax Day, the day we all anticipate each and every year. The day we all send Uncle Sam all the coin of the realm he needs to support his various spending habits. Or, do we?

The fact is almost 49 percent of Americans pay no federal tax. Yet all we hear from Washington is how unfair the system is because wealthy Americans don't pay their fair share. In reality 10 percent pay 80 percent of the tax bill. The rest live off the fat of the land. How is that fair?

It's high time this nation comes to terms with the inequities in the current tax system. It is time to simplify the tax code. It's time for everyone except the poorest among us to participate in funding our government, the same government from which we demand more and more, yet are unwilling to fund.

There are a number of alternative tax plans on the table: The Fair Tax, The Flat Tax, a Revised Simplified Tax Code. No matter which one surfaces as the winner, we become the real winners.

The Flat Tax would be based on a single tier tax system whereby every taxpayer would pay the same rate. It seems fair on the surface, but it is unlikely the tax writers would shun the temptation to add on exemptions and qualifications thereby destroying the simplicity of the concept.

The Fair Tax is based on a national sales tax that, according to backers, would replace all current federal taxes. The current number is 23 percent. There would be a prebate based on the poverty level thus protecting the poorest from being burdened. This system would also derive income from the underground economy. There would be nowhere to hide. You buy it…you pay the tax.

The final system, and most likely to see the light of day, would be a simplified tax code with fewer exemptions and exceptions. The problem is we have been there before. We've seen the removal of exemptions and reductions in rate structures. Then, slowly but surely, the systems seems to return to its former self.

Bottom line…something needs to be done but Congress doesn't seem to have the stomach to tackle the task. Maybe a lame duck Congress would care less about being reelected and have more interest in doing right for the country.

Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Andy Rapp, Q-TV, Delta College, or PBS.

About

Currently Speaking host Andy Rapp

Veteran journalist Andy Rapp has been hosting Currently Speaking since 1999.

Each week, he's joined live in the studio by journalists, academics, and experts. Along with viewers at home, they tackle the local, national, and global issues that matter most.