Posted by: thatjen | January 23, 2007

Forget Hillary, Where’s Steve Forbes When You Need Him?

Want to know one of my dirty little fantasies?

I get hot and bothered at the notion of a simple flat tax, on a regular basis. Imagine, a two-line tax form.
1> Your income.
2> Multiply line one by X%.
This is the tax you owe.

End of story. Ooooooooh, baby.

Ok, I don’t actually agree with Steve Forbes on ANY aspect of social or foreign policy.* And I do know that flat taxes are regressive, benefitting the rich at the expense of the rest of us. But fer-cryin-out-loud, the current system that we have is complete crap! It’s arcane, cumbersome, frustrating, skewed in favor of the rich ANYWAY, menacing, and a general pain in the ass.

Why all the fuming and whining? Well, in addition to our my** ongoing battle over the mortgage interest on our house, I just today found out that I have to pay the dreaded “nanny tax”. My mom’s housekeeper cleans our house every other week and does some childcare for us. It’s our one luxury and a concession to Lyme disease; we scrimp in other areas to make it possible. But if I’d known that I’d have to spend hours trying to understand how questions like “Date business started or acquired (month, day, year)” apply in this situation (did I start the “business” when I was born? When Natalie was born? The first day the housekeeper cleaned for us?), I might have preferred to sleep less and clean more. (Ok, I take that part back. What little sleep I get is essential!)

I know it’s a privilege to have this problem. But, oh, God do I hate anything and everything to do with taxes.


*And don’t ask me what I think of Hillary running. The feminist and the pragmatist in my head are still duking it out.
**If we were able to marry and therefore it could legally be “our” battle, it wouldn’t be a battle at all. Hmph.

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Responses

  1. In the past few years, an increasing number of articles and stories about tax reform have appeared in the media and the internet. It is becoming increasingly clear that the current US tax code has become a problem that we must address and solve.

    One of the proposed reforms is the flat tax, described in Steve Forbes’ book, “The Flat Tax Revolution.” The flat tax reform proposal in Congress (HR 1040) is a definite improvement over the convoluted tax code. Filing simplified tax returns on a postcard is appealing and has some popularity. However, history shows us that a flat tax doesn’t offer a permanent or satisfactory solution to our tax code problems.

    The income tax started out as a single rate (flat) tax. Under the control of government and isolated from the People, it gradually grew into an oversized, complex mess, with numerous loopholes, multiple brackets and high rates. In 1986, the tax code was overhauled, simplified and reduced down to two brackets. Many deductions and loopholes were eliminated. Today, we are up to six brackets, and most of the loopholes are back.

    This demonstrates twice over that a flat tax simply won’t stay flat due to the precedents that have been set. The flat tax leaves the current tax code in place and sets the stage for another return to the system as it is now; Congress with its power of legislation, and We the People with little input or control. Lobbyists have more access to congressmen than we do, and will continue to use their influence to procure tax breaks for special interests. Each tax break complicates the tax code just a little more, and they all add up to a code with over 66,000 pages that even tax professionals don’t fully understand.

    Finally, a flat tax is still income tax; a direct tax contrary to the founders’ vision as set forth in the Constitution. The income tax was made possible only after self-serving politicians did an end run around the Constitution and the People in 1913 and took powers for themselves that the Constitution denied them.

    In the 109th Congress, the FairTax Bill (HR/S 25) had 63 congressional co-sponsors; the Flat Tax Bill (HR 1040) had six.

    Rep. John Linder (GA) introduced HR25 (The FairTax Act of 2007) to the 110th Congress on January 4th, 2007. It already has 35 co-sponsors. The Flat Tax Bill (HR 1040) has not been introduced yet.

    Popular support for the FairTax is strong and growing; flat tax support has all but vanished. Two very successful FairTax rallies have taken place; no flat tax rallies have been held or planned. The FairTax Book has outsold Steve Forbes’ book “Flat Tax Revolution” by a very large margin.

    Income tax in any form, flat or graduated, is unacceptable. It’s time to scrap all income-based taxes once and for all and replace them with a single one-time retail tax, one that we control. At the same time, we need to repeal the 16th amendment so that income taxes will remain a memory.

    Once enacted, the FairTax will shut down the income tax code and replace it with the consumption tax. Companion legislation, to be introduced to Congress soon, will start the process toward a constitutional amendment that will repeal the 16th amendment.

    The flat tax was a good idea in its time, but that time has come and gone. Let’s give the FairTax a chance.

    Chad Sargent
    FairTax Volunteer
    Raleigh, NC

    FairTax.org

  2. I think eventually you guys will be able to get married. I think the world is becoming more liberal. sort of. Don’t get me started on Roe vs. wade.
    Good luck with the tax dealie, didnt ya’ll have problems last time with the first time homeowners exemption thingy?
    I can’t believe how big naterpillar has become, so fat and gorgeous I just want to chew on her thighs!

  3. If you are both owners of the house, I thought you could divide up the mortgage interest deduction according to how much you each contributed to the interest payments. You don’t have to be married to do that. (Or at least, that is my reading of the code. I end up taking the entire deduction right now because my wife is in school and the mortgage payment is coming out of my bank account.)

  4. I knew there was a perk in not having someone else clean my house–my MIL notwithstanding.

    Are you using an accountant or a tax prep software this year?

  5. J, you are absolutely correct. That is the utterly defensible, iron-clad approach (as I understand it now). However, many tax advisors have told unmarried couples that if household expenses are shared, either person may take the entire interest deduction or they can split it. Our *LESBIAN* tax accountant used this approach and gave it all to me. And that turns out to be perhaps not correct. We shall see what the final determination is.

    Em, I often think longingly of your MIL and her ministrations to your house. Ahhhh. Plus the not having to TAKE your kid to childcare is really a boon in the morning too (says she who was late, yet again, because it’s such a race against time to get everyone and everything out of the house in the morning). As for taxes, I *think* we are still having a tax accountant do them, but not sure whom. At any rate, I am doing the W-2 for the housekeeper because it has to be done by Friday and I don’t want to pay rush charges.

  6. yeah. We have an accountant. He does all of that figuring out for us.

    And the great part? He’s gay, and just had twins with his partner’s sperm, and his sister’s eggs and uterus – how awesome is that? So he’s TOTALLY on our side.

    So if we have to pay our cleaning lady and babysitters? I’ll wig, too.

    I’m WAY excited about HIllary, but I don’t know why.

  7. I am afraid of a tax nightmare next year – because I think I can deduct the expenses from IVF, but they might be more than my income, and how the F do I explain that without the IRS getting on my ass?

    Once again, IF we were married this would not be an issue, we’d file jointly and it would look not sketchy at all.


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