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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Clinton, McCain, Obama and the IRS

I remember when the campaign platforms of candidates for the President of the United States of America included a plank on reform of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and the national tax code, laws, and regulations.

One strong proposal advocated in past presidential campaigns was that calling for a flat tax. That proposal in its various incarnations would greatly simplify the federal income tax system. Under a flat tax system, a set base level of income would be exempt from the income tax, but income above that level would be taxed at a flat level for everyone regardless of marital status, family size, total income level, etc.; and, there would be no deductions. The bottom line of a flat tax system is that a percentage of income over a base level would be assessed; this is not unlike many municipal income tax systems.

As follows, I am providing a few links to some web sites about the Flat Tax to help provide some more information:
National Center for Policy Analysis: Idea House: Flat Tax & Alternative Tax Systems
Forbes.com: On My Mind: A Kinder, Gentler Flat Tax
FreedomWorks: The Flat Tax: Issue Homepage
The Heritage Foundation: Issues: Taxes: A Brief Guide to the Flat Tax


The entire presidential primary campaign season appears to have totally ignored the issue of federal income tax reform. Except for John Edwards, I do not recall any of the earlier candidates ever addressing tax reform in the United States.

I certainly have not heard Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or Barack Obama stake out a position on the IRS. Do any of the present three major announced candidates even have any thoughts on the Internal Revenue Service or the federal (national) tax code? What thoughts do Clinton, McCain, and Obama have about reform of the federal income tax? Are Clinton, McCain, and Obama satisfied with the IRS? Do they believe public policy on taxes is fine and acceptable, as it presently exists? Perhaps, none of the three have the intestinal fortitude to take on the IRS. After all, it was the IRS that finally nailed Al Capone.

Or maybe, just maybe, Clinton, McCain, and Obama have the perspective that the extremely large IRS bureaucracy and all the national laws regarding federal income taxes are an intricate component of a national economic development and jobs creation policy.

Right! I see you scratching your head and wondering what in the world is Roland Hansen going on about now.

Well, think about it. How many jobs are there within the IRS itself? How many jobs have been created because of our complex federal income tax system? By that last question, I refer to such jobs associated with accountants, tax service companies, tax preparation computer software, paper mills, ink producers, the printing industry, the materials handling and transportation industries, etc. Then there is all the postage associated with mailings, all the related fuel usage by all involved in the entire process, and on and on and on. If the United States did go to a flat rate federal income tax, look at all jobs that would be eliminated at the IRS and all the jobs that would be eliminated by industries that directly and indirectly provide ancillary service to the IRS and its mission. What about all those people who would lose their jobs? Would many of these people then become unemployed and turn to welfare? What cost would we pay if public policy did indeed reflect a substantial turn of direction on the issue of flat tax and/or some other comprehensive tax reform? What would be the trade off?

I want to know where Clinton, McCain, and Obama stand on the IRS. I want to know their positions on taxes. After all it is a very taxing issue to confront. Personally, I think Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama will continue to side step the IRS and income tax reform.

In a tangential but somewhat related issue in regards to the two remaining active Democratic presidential primary candidates: so much for John Edwards insisting that they include a focus on the economically disadvantaged (formerly known as the poor and the needy) in their campaigns!!!
John Edwards, please come back; the country needs you, we need you, I need you!

I feel all tax and spent on this IRS thing. I’m out of here.

3 comments:

Judy said...

I like your idea because it is
I It's
R Real
S Simple

Tim Higgins said...

Roland,

I fear that the reason that you haven't seen anything like this from the candidates is that such a tax does not arise from the premise that the "rich" are not paying enough.

Since this appears to be a fundamental premise of politics these days, I fear that you will hear little about it until the Libertarians decide on their candidate, and none afterwards as the media goes through its normal 3-card monty in hiding this party's choice.

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