Taxes: My final word

Tina Haapala |

This is the fifth of my four articles looking at how our country might structure a tax code. I realized that while my intention was not to recommend one way over another, I wanted to do just that. So here I go.

Let’s be clear: you will disagree with me. That’s because there is no perfect way to do this tax code thing. And, as I’ve pointed out quite a few times, all of the ways to structure the code are fair—depending on what you consider fair. So it’s okay if you don’t like my ideas. Come up with your own…then share your thoughts with your congressperson as he or she is the one who actually can do something about it.

First thing-- we are not paying enough in taxes in this country. Yes, now all of you disagree with me. But the fact is we’ve been spending too much for too long and it will take a lot of money to make amends for this behavior. Those of you who think we can just eliminate a few “wasteful” programs to get everything in line need to study the numbers more closely.

I think everyone should pay some Federal Income taxes. I know; it doesn’t seem to make much sense to tax the same people who will need government money to make ends meet. But with close to half of all American families paying no income tax we’re getting to where it will cost the majority of voters nothing for the benefits that the feds bestow upon us. When the majority of people receiving benefits don’t have to pay for (and feel the pain of) providing them, this is a dangerous proposition. Last I saw the bottom 50% of taxpayers paid an average annual federal income tax rate of just 3.3%.How about raising this to a flat tax of 5%? This is my homage to the flat-tax folks.

Then there’s the rich. I’ll define these as the top 1% of taxpayers. Back in 2012 they paid an average of just under 23% of their incomes in taxes. I’m thinking we don’t need to take all their money, but I’m guessing that if we ratcheted that up a bit, they would still be able to afford nice vacations, college for the kids, to eat out when they wanted, and to give to the charities of their choice. My tax the rich proposal? Making it so that they paid, on average, about 35%.

The ones in-between? That’s where a graduated sliding scale from 5-35% seems to fit in the best.

Oh, and I’d get rid of almost all deductions.

There you have it: A tax system that makes everyone mad. But it’s also one that allows all to share in the pain. Those with more shoulder more of the burden; while the government is no longer able to use the tax code to manipulate our behavior. Enjoy.


This article was published under the title "My fix for the tax code: Spread the pain"  in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on March 8, 2015.