Robert J. Samuelson: Income tax has become a citadel of political power

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  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    March 9, 2014 6:07 p.m.

    Well, looks like we're done talking economizing and have gone on to how much moola the government can take in to pay the interest on its' gargantuan debt. Simplify? Why not just say everyone can just keep up to X amount of their gross income? Trouble is, even if the government could greatly increase income from taxation, it would just find a way to spend it. IMHO.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    March 8, 2014 9:08 a.m.

    The IRS has proven itself to be a corrupt bureaucracy. Let's get rid of it with a fair tax. Every one wants it, but the legislators and bureaucracies.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 7, 2014 2:49 p.m.

    " Now will they do the right thing and reform taxes, reform Social Security, reform other entitlement programs to strengthen the middle class, and strengthen America?"

    Will anyone? Has anyone? Would the elected GOP leaders?

    I agree that we need reforms. But I have not seen either party even try to do it. (The GOP talks a good "reform" game when they are the minority party, but does nothing when they have the power to do so.)

  • David Centerville, UT
    March 7, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    To be very honest, most Americans simply want predictability. I can appreciate the fact that Obama & Democrats have been willing to dramatically change the political, cultural, and structural landscape of America through health care, support of gay marriage, transfer of wealth, etc.

    They should also be bold enough to reform Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs that are draining the annual budget. They should be bold enough to reform the tax code so that it is flatter and fairer. No more should there be 47% of Americans who pay NO income tax. They should be bold enough to reform union pensions to save budgets for future generations.

    Discretionary spending is at its lowest level in decades due to the massive entitlement spending, of which is dramatically increasing as baby boomers move into that period of life where they draw upon federal revenues.

    So yes, I appreciate that Obama and Democrats are willing to do bold things. Now will they do the right thing and reform taxes, reform Social Security, reform other entitlement programs to strengthen the middle class, and strengthen America?

    We can only hope so.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 7, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    Tax reform, that is created by Republicans, is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Politicians may talk about simplification but in the end, they show their true character by making things so complicated so that only certain people can profit. Greta Van Susteren's one page jobs plan sounds great until you read it, it seems to allow businessmen free labor paid for by the taxpayer.

    Personal income is the best way to allocate government costs in our nation. A flat rate tax would be best because of the simplicity of calculating and collecting the tax. If the income tax was a flat rate on everyone, the tax could be calculated at the source and never be touched by the individual. This would eliminate tax returns, tax years, and a whole lot of complex exemptions, exceptions, and many other ways for individuals to cheat. If the business operation withheld the tax and remitted it to the government as it is occurred, the tax would be applied to every person in America and even non-Americans who derive their income from American business.

    Simplicity is the only way to have a fair tax.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    March 7, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    Camp's proposal is interesting, but the highest rate is too low. It should be 45 percent. Sadly
    Samuelson's proposal is nonsense. No one wants to say this, but Americans are understated.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 7, 2014 6:38 a.m.

    People are overwhelmingly in favor of a simpler tax code.

    They want to reduce the tax rate. As long as it is their rate that is reduced.
    They want to reduce deductions. As long as their deductions are not touched.

    I completely agree that Congress doles out deductions based on those who have the lobbying and campaign contributions to effect those changes.

    Why do we need any tax deductions? How simple would it be?

    You earn X dollars, you pay X percentage on that money. Period.
    One caveat. I feel that we need a sliding scale.
    A 25% tax rate on a family of 4 earning $40k per year would be hard to handle, but we should all pay something.

    If you look at the various tax deductions, it is easy to find a group who paid for that deduction, and pays to keep it. It's called lobbying. And it is called Campaign contributions.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 7, 2014 12:45 a.m.

    The lack of spending power in the middle class is dragging the macro economy down. Any change in tax policy must help restore demand potency to the middle class. Samuelson doesn't demonstrate this in his proposals.