Monday, January 30, 2012

My #1 Tax Reform Idea: Replace income taxes with a sales tax

My just-published column answered the question, "What one change would you make to our tax system?" I'd replace income taxes with a sales tax.


euquant said...

Hi Marty,

Congrats on the Atlantic piece.

Glad to see it... a nice reminder to check back in here to see what interesting new contributions at your home base.

You're really on a tear.

What have you changed your approach that's getting all the good new exposure?

Marty Nemko said...

Euquant, frankly, I just, cold, sent clips to 10 prestigious publications and the Washington Post and The Atlantic hired me. Both of my bosses are in their 20s and I'm enjoying working with them.

mdubuque said...

Hi Marty, I oppose this idea.

We don't have trickle down economics, we have GUSH UP economics where the wealth of 99.9% of us GUSHES UPWARDS to the billionaires.

Your proposal intensifies that process. Sales taxes hit the poorest the hardest.

Marty Nemko said...

Matt, the article makes clear that basic items would be exempt to ensure the poor pay little, and that luxury items would be heavily taxed so the rich pay their fair share.

mdubuque said...

Marty, with all due respect the VAT is a bureaucratic nightmare in Europe for businesses and people alike full of red tape and obscure definitions of what is and is not covered and it changes from year to year.

But the basic point remains.

Poor people spend a far higher proportion of the disposable incomes than billionaires.

So this proposal is wildly supported by the billionaires, because it directly serves their interest.

Marty Nemko said...

Again, Matt you misread my article. It strongly OPPOSED a VAT tax.

And my version of the sales tax DEMANDED progressivity--exemption of sufficient basic items from taxation to ensure the poor pay little and an extra luxury tax to ensure the poor pay their fair share.

Matt, if I recall, you've also misread other of my writings. So might I ask that before commenting, which forces all subscribers to read your comments, and perhaps for me to respond, that you carefully read the material you're criticizing.

Corban said...

Sniff check: regressiveness, compliance costs, utility as a tactical weapon.

Sales tax in pure simple form is regressive. You've corrected this by exempting product categories so the poor would benefit more than the rich. Regressiveness fixed.

The reduction in compliance cost is substantial and predictable. Good thing.

Alas, a simpler system loses utility for those who treat it as a tactical weapon. Simpler shaped buildings mean fewer (but larger) shadows to hide in. I personally cry crocodile tears over this part.

This plan passes the sniff test. We would have to be mindful of the exempt categories though. Food is acceptable; I don't want to see ballroom dancing though.


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