Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Some Radical Ideas

Let's add one for law enforcement:
Get rid of the exclusionary rule as well as qualified immunity.

Until some real news picks up, here's a list of some ideas that will probably never pass but I think would go a long way to solving what are perceived to be the most pressing problems. This was just a quick list so if I think of more I'll add them.

Mandatory health insurance to cover catastrophic emergencies
Eliminate employer deductions for health insurance
Flat income tax with a large per-person deduction
- Alternatively, replace the income tax with a sales tax, with exemptions for necessities
Term limits for congressmen
Balanced budget amendment
Phase out social security and the associated taxes
Allow parents to use the tax money spent on their child to send them to a private school
Legalization of drugs, prostitution, gambling
Line-item veto
Replace all government recognized marriage with civil unions
Extremely large increases in allowed legal immigration
High penalties for employers of illegal immigrants
Elimination of all corporate subsidies
Removal of all federal highway funding mandates

If anyone wants more details on what I mean, or why I think a particular idea would be good, let me know and perhaps I'll expand it into a full post. Otherwise you can be thankful that with this list I'd never get elected for anything.


Alan Rosenwinkel said...

why a flat tax?

Donnie said...

Why a progressive tax? :-)

I personally like the idea of a flat tax very much. It doesn't penalize success.

Alan Rosenwinkel said...

Doesn't any graduated tax penalize success? The more you make, the more you pay. What I'm wondering is why a linear graduation as opposed to some other form. You could just as easily argue that "not penalizing success" means scaling the tax rate on each additional dollar earned to scale with the marginal benefit of that dollar to the tax payer. Also, people seem to associate "flat tax" with "very few deductions" tax policy. They are not necessarily related. Is there some logical reason why a flat-tax is the ideal system? Br the way, "it's simple" isn't a good reason. The 1001 deductions are what make the current system complicated, not the fact that you have to use a tax table.

Donnie said...

So, this notion that the tax rate can be scaled with the marginal benefit of each dollar to the tax payer bothers me, because somebody other than the tax payer is deciding for them how beneficial that dollar is to them. That doesn't seem fair to me at all; who give them that right? But maybe you can suggest a fair, objective way that such a measure could be made.

Ben said...

Eliminate employer deductions for health insurance

I've heard a lot of people say this, and I think it's very misleading. There is no "deduction" for employers when they give you health insurance. Like other money that they spend (e.g. on salaries, office space, free sodas for employees, etc.), they don't have to pay tax on it because it is a business expense. They only pay tax on profits.

In my mind, the most important fact is that employees don't have to pay taxes on health insurance that they receive from their employer. And the only fair way to fix this is to make employees pay taxes on every non-work-related benefit that they receive. If your employer gives you a free vacation to Europe, you have to pay taxes on it. Why should health insurance be any different?

dave hiller said...

Ben's right, I should have phrased it more generally as "treat health insurance exactly the same as other salary".

dave hiller said...

To further clarify, neither the employer nor the employee pays any associated taxes (income, social security) on health insurance benefits, and therefore it's cheaper for a business to supply health insurance than the amount of salary needed for the employee to buy health insurance on their own. This gives you a system where the vast majority of people have their health insurance tied to their job, which is what the proposal attempts to change.

Bush has recently proposed this, although this paper doesn't think his plan is sufficient.

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