Friday, September 02, 2005

Let’s Tax (wisely) and Spend (wisely)

Our nation, already on the brink of bankruptcy as a result of our engagement in unnecesary foreign wars has been pushed over the edge by foreseeable, but unplanned for natural disasters. New Orleans was built below water level, over-built California is perched atop large-scale faults in the earth, and much of the Midwest lies along tornado alleys created by the Interstate Highway System.

We need to tax wisely and spend wisely. The first source of tax revenue for the States should be gasoline taxes. Every freshman economics student knows the theory of supply and demand. Raise the price and demand drops. Alas, the supply and demand curve for gasoline is relatively inelastic. The price of gasoline can be raised again and again without demand being affected. But there is a limiting price at which consumers will, finally, begin to balk. Oil companies have raised their prices again and again searching for that limit. To date, all the profits have gone to the oil companies. By adding a dollar or more in tax to each gallon of gasoline, we will arrive at that limit sooner than expected, with the happy result that all the profits along the way will go back to us the taxpayers.

The second major source of revenue will be estate taxes. This country was founded two hundred plus years ago on the theory that inherited wealth didn’t mean diddlysquat, that the right to the pursuit of happiness would be open to all regardless of birth. Acting within our democratic principles, the States should impose a tax of 50% on all estates in excess of $2 million and of 90% on all estates in excess of $5 million. Bill Gates is entitled to all the results of his hard work and good judgment; his kid isn’t.

The Soviet Union fell apart when it became evident that the sons and daughters of its dedicated if ruthless leaders had no taste for work (though plenty for cocaine and fast cars). Don’t let this happen here.

The third source of revenue is based on a proposal by Abraham Lincoln when he found himself engaged in a war he did not want. Let those who profit most from a country be the ones to pay to preserve it. And the President asked Congress to impose a graduated income tax. Let him do so once again.

The rich will flee the country will they? Right. Just as earth quakes and mudslides have forced so many executives to move from California.

Which reminds me. Let a dollar-for-dollar assessment be levied against any and all attempts by American residents to make deposits in offshore accounts. Let a two-dollar per dollar assessment be made against any American business that raises prices during a natural catastrophe. Let a 90% tax be levied on all profits from sales to the Department of Defense or its contractors.

Now, how do we spend this revenue?

1. Rescue efforts.

2. Housing for the homeless and those without funds.

3. Rebuilding water supplies and sewage lines nationwide. The allocation of monies thereof to be determined on the basis of population, made locally by individual Congressmen, and audited by the General Accounting Office.

4. To local police departments for training and additional personnel.

5. For education to replace the monies slashed by “The No-Child Left Behind” Act.

6. To hire meat and agricultural product inspectors.

7. On computer equipment for the immigration and naturalization service so they may track visitors, temporary residents, and potential terrorists.

8. On increased personnel for the border patrol so they may prevent illegal immigration.

9. On increased personnel for the immigration and naturalization service so they may track down and deport illegal immigrants who’ve made it past the border patrol. (This could include the payment of bounties to local police departments for turning over illegals to the INS.)

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