Letters to the Editor 1/21/16
INCOME TAX PROPOSALS
Any tax proposal that includes a value-added tax or national sales tax has the potential to harm a consumer driven economy, which ours is. The tax calculation and enforcement would probably be very cumbersome. Sales taxes, by their nature, are regressive. Lobbyists would be clamoring for exemptions and special tax breaks. There would be a great incentive to keep sales off the books.
The worst Republican proposal is Huckabee’s “fair tax,” which would have a high tax rate at every level.
The most sensible tax proposal is Ben Carson’s flat income tax proposal. Income taxes are the fairest taxes because they are based on what you make in a specific year. The proposal is essentially a flat income tax rate of around 15 percent with no exemptions, no deductions and no tax credits. It would take away the socialization (picking winners and losers) in the tax code. I would tweak his proposal a little by exempting the first $20,000 for individuals and $40,000 from families from the tax. That would cover most people’s itemized deductions and exemptions. All income would be taxed exactly the same, whether from wages, carried interest (hedge funds) capital gains, interest and dividends.
Corporations would also have their tax rate lowered to 15 percent with no special credits. The first $100,000 would have a zero-tax rate to help small businesses. Dividends would be deductible to prevent double taxation. Income would only be taxed in one country. Companies could bring money back to the United States without threat of double taxation. The trillions that could be brought back would be put to work helping invigorate the economy.
Ben Carson’s and other flat income tax proposals would be very pro-growth and greatly improve productivity when companies and individuals can spend more time earning money and investing than they do trying to beat the tax system. They would also reduce the ability of politicians to buy votes with special tax provisions.
Hillary’s and Bernie’s proposals, on the other hand, generally are extremely destructive. They hinder growth. They are centered on taking more money from the private sector and further expanding government. They pick more winners and losers instead of simplifying the cumbersome and destructive tax system. They continually believe that you can push tax rates on the highest earners closer to 100 percent. Bernie has mentioned 90 percent. The amount of lobbying for special tax rates would be rampant and there would be great incentives to hide and divert income to lower tax countries.
ACTIONS UNFAIR TO WASTE HAULER
Lake Area Disposal has received a lot of flak recently due to the closing of their recycling drop-off facility. Some folks are even dropping Lake Area as their waste hauler because of this closure. These people somehow think it is Lake Area’s responsibility to provide a free drop-off facility for recyclable materials for everyone, regardless of where they live or whether or not Lake Area is their waste hauler.
Rather than getting upset with Lake Area, they should be thanking them for providing that facility all these years. Something that other waste haulers here, whom they now want to give their business to, have not done.
It seems very unfair to expect just one waste hauler to bear the cost of its drop-off facility that serves all of us. After all, they are a business and need to make a reasonable profit, which they find they cannot do under the current circumstances.
My solution: The city (and Sangamon County as appropriate) arrange a get-together with all local waste haulers and negotiate revised waste hauling fees, applicable to everyone served by this facility that includes a reasonable subsidy to Lake Area to help them restore it.