Monday, September 19, 2011

Simple Tax Reform - Tax Millionaires Like Everybody Else

Most millionaires and billionaires are not patriots (only a few are). So we can't expect them to pay their fair share of taxes unless we force them to. Would you pay more if you didn't have to? But we can't raise taxes on the rich unless our elected officials do our bidding. But they never listen to us AFTER they're elected!

What I can't understand is why the tax code has always been the most favorable towards those in the higher income group - such as those with enough earnings to at least qualify for a deduction on their tax return - such as mortgage interest on a house. This only induces debt on behalf of a bank earning interest on the loan, at the expense of tax revenues.

Poor people, those earning only $20,000 a year and who can't afford the down-payment to buy a house, can't get a deduction for mortgage interest...but the landlords who collect their rent do. A single poor man (like myself) without children, living in a room or apartment, is subjected to the full tax rate. A woman earning $20,000 a year (and who also can't afford to buy a house) might get a tax break if they have multiple children...and food stamps too. But these poor people spend ALL their money to live on, so they are taxed on everything they buy too. (That is a 100% tax bracket).

It's as though the tax code was written especially for those who have enough disposable income to invest in stocks, such as a corporate exec who earns most of their income after a base-salary of $106,000 in stock options, or wealthy "investors" or day-traders who can afford to invest in large blocks of stocks earning dividends, and those who can hold assets for 5 years or longer for a long-term capital gain because they have enough income to live on otherwise. These people can park their un-needed cash for 5 years or longer earning them money, and they're paying a lower tax rate (5% on long-term capital gains) than that of a poor person who's just barely eking out a living, sometimes working two low-paying jobs, and not even getting healthcare insurance.

With the exception of a recent reduction in our Social Security taxes (and that one-time tax refund) - and I don't understand this either, if the Social Security Trust Fund is supposed to be in danger of being under-funded. And why are the revenues being made up from the General Fund? Isn't that like robbing Peter to pay Paul? And why is there a $106,000 cap for a progressive tax contribution to Social Security and Medicare? Why not pay the same tax rate from $0 to $1 billion?

The banking executives, CEOs, hedge fund managers, and insurance bosses who did such a lousy job running their businesses (capital losses, bankruptcies, embezzlement, fraud, taxpayer bail-outs), got multi-million-dollar "golden parachutes", paid for with stocks held for 5 years, and only paid 5% in capital gain taxes (15% if held between 1 and 5 years, less than one year is taxed as "regular" income). All the deferments and loop holes and deductions the wealthy have access to is incredible.

And criminal enterprises, money launderers, drug dealers, loan sharks, pimps, etc. are also enjoying a lower tax rate than poor and law-abiding people.

With so many millionaires in Congress, how can we expect the rich to ever pay their fair share? Aren't members of Congress the foxes in the hen house? Even John Kerry bought his yacht out-of-state to save on sales tax, so we know even Congress is very conscience of the taxes they pay. So how can we ever expect them to tax themselves fairly?

As an aside to Congressional salaries: What's with Nancy Pelosi paying over $20,000 a month to RENT her San Francisco office? I could almost buy myself a small house for that kind of many! What exactly does each member of Congress have for an allowance, besides just their $174,000 salary, healthcare, vested pensions, travel expenses, and free parking? Are 3-martini lunches included too?

I fear we live in a Plutocracy, and our politicians are ALL bought and paid for on both sides of the aisle, and no serious tax reform will ever be initiated - after all, how many decades has it been that the rich has had all these tax breaks? The Windfall Profits Tax didn't last very long.

Instead of Obama's new Buffett Rule (raising taxes on anyone making a million dollars or more) I propose a flat 10% federal income tax on everyone's annual GROSS earnings in personal income up to $1 million (and a flat 20% thereafter). PERIOD. No deductions and no special rates for capital gains or dividends, and no lower rates for interest income. And no corporate subsidies, no "tax incentives", no deferments, no loop holes at all for corporations. They would all be subject to fail if they are not successful and profitable business enterprises.

The Bud Meyers Tax Plan for All (aka The 10/20 Plan)

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain's plan for tax reform calls for a 9% personal income tax, 9% federal sales tax, and 9% corporate tax, and is referred to as the "999" plan. I call for a "10/20" plan.

  • 10% on ALL GROSS EARNINGS in personal income (hourly wages, commissions and base salaries up to $1 million a year in GROSS INCOME; and 20% thereafter - And 20% on all capital gains, annuities, dividends, and all other personal earnings over $1 million a year).
  • A 10% tax on ALL GROSS EARNINGS up to 15 million dollars a year for small businesses and corporations; and 20% on all GROSS EARNINGS thereafter on the much larger businesses and corporations. (Eliminate ALL tax loopholes, deferments, depreciation, tax credits, etc.)
  • A 10% federal sales tax on certain luxury items such as yachts, private jets, and helicopters - and on mansions worth more than 5 million dollars; 20% on these items exceeding $5 million.
  • A inheritance tax of 10% from $250,000 up to 5 million dollars, 20% thereafter. (Below $250,000 pays no tax.)
  • Those earning less than $20,000 a year (whether single, married, or have children) would not be required to pay any federal income taxes on their first $15,000 (why tax those on fixed incomes if their only income is unemployment benefits, welfare, or Social Security?)

* Most individuals and small businesses would only need to use a simple one-page "W1020" form and realize an immediate tax savings, while larger multi-national corporations and the uber-wealthy would be paying "their fair share". Also, eliminate the cap on Social Security and Medicare contributions, but at the same time, deny Social Security benefits to those who have more than 5 million dollars in assets (but they can still use the Medicare-for-All government healthcare insurance.)

** The Internal Revenue Service's entire tax code would only contain the text in this gray-shaded box!

If not my plan, then we know for sure that low paid government tax attorneys will always write tax laws that high-priced corporate tax accountants can find holes in. Everyone should pay 10% with no excuses, no exemptions, and no deferments. Pay 10%, on time, with no excuses (or 20% over $1 million for individuals and $15 million for corporations.) - and if not, then get a lien put on your bank account and receive a trial date for tax evasion, and then expect to spend some time in jail!

I'm sick and tired of being accused of waging a class war. Tax everybody the exact same, and I won't have to listen to the uber-wealthy, Grover Norquist, and the Republicans whine like a bunch of stuck pigs anymore.

* An added bonus: Most individual tax filers and small businesses would no longer need to pay a tax attorney or H&R Block to file their tax returns anymore! You could buy my ONE PAGE book below! (Which would only contain the text in the gray-shaded box above.)

Stick it to the man! If record-profit-making multi-national corporations and record-salary-earning corporate CEOs won't pay a fair and living wage, or they have been sending our jobs overseas, then at least tax them more fairly to help pay for our government services and infrastructure!


  1. "A U.S.-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds said his senior colleagues had argued that the hollowing-out of the American middle class didn’t really matter. If the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade."

    Who doesn't want to tax these monsters?

  2. Rep. Paul Ryan told Fox News that the proposed tax "adds further instability to our system, more uncertainty, and it punishes job creation." This, of course, is total malarkey. Tax rates on the rich were higher during the Clinton years, when the economy was booming, and higher still during the long post World War II boom, when the economy grew at nearly 4 percent year for better than two decades and the great blue collar middle class was built.

  3. These are the very people, and the banksters, those who gave us the derivatives (aka "credit-default-swaps" - aka "financial instruments") that brought down the housing market...these are the "job creators" that the Republicans refuse to tax.

  4. In theory, I agree with Herman Cain's "9%" across the board plan. But I cant but wonder if it would be "fair" and/or equitable for all Americans given that he is so adored by the Tea Party. Great blog.