If Taxes Were Simple…

complex taxes…   simple taxes…
the rich
pay less
we all
pay less
a criminal
a contributor


If taxes were simple, everyone would be better off

Politicians love power. A complicated tax code gives them the power to spend our money and steal our time in ways that even tax experts don’t understand. This makes it easier for the rich and powerful to hijack the political process and pay less tax, and more difficult for the rest of us to hold politicians accountable. Many taxes, many rates, many exemptions ultimately undermine trust between citizens and government.

What if there were only one tax? What if there were only income tax, for example, and no other taxes: no sales tax, no corporation tax, nothing?

What if there were only one rate? What if you received your first $20,000 of income tax-free, for example, and paid 40% on the rest?

What if there were no exemptions? What if, no matter how devious your accountants, no matter how persuasive your lobbyists, you still had to pay 40%, same as everyone else?

If there were one tax, one rate, no exemptions, politicians would have no less power: they’d still be able to give handouts to whoever bribed or blackmailed them the most, they’d just have to explain to voters that they’d raised taxes from 40% to 41% to do so. As for the rest of us, we’d no longer waste all that time filing our tax returns, and we’d no longer live in fear of making a mistake; we’d know precisely how much of our money the government was spending, and we’d pay our taxes a little happier that we’re making a fair contribution, just like everyone else.


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Revolutions by Mike Duncan – Corrupt legislators, if you want to know how prepetuating unjust taxes can lead to your losing your head, literally, listen to Mike Duncan's excellent Revolutions podcast. Episode 3.2 – The Broken Regime describes how the Ancien Régime's taxes were in desperate need of reform. The rest of the series on the French Revolution shows how the ruling class's failure to address this or any other issue led so many of them to the guillotine.

If a podcast is listed on things made thinkable, it means I listen to it regularly and can recommend it as a thought-provoking follow-up to this visualization


First published 25 December 2015

other pages on things made thinkable

Trillion Dollar Economies   Elementary Particles   Memories of Weather
Trillion Dollar Economies   Elementary Particles   Memories of Weather
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