15 April, 2009

April 15 – Tax Day – FairTax, Tea Parties, Total Income Tax, Oh My!

Well, long time readers of this blog know how I feel about our tax code. At the risk of being redundant, today is a good day to check out www.fairtax.org, and learn about the FairTax.

If you do a little research on it (and I encourage you to do so), you may run across a “fisking” website, www.fairtaxfraud.com. You can read my smackdown of this ill-informed site here.

I also encourage you to read both of the two books co-authored by one of the sponsors of the bill, The FairTax Book, and FairTax: The Truth: Answering the Critics.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any good website or book that criticizes the FairTax.  Not that there aren’t plenty of criticisms out there, but they’re universally bad. The most common tactic is to misrepresent what the FairTax is, and then to punch holes in all the problems with their misrepresentation. Or they’ll make meaningless claims like “you will no longer be able to deduct your mortgage interest from your income taxes” (which is technically true, but completely irrelevant as I point out in my smackdown that I mentioned above).

Perhaps I’ll be forced to write a critical post about it myself. I’ve said numerous times that the FairTax is not without warts. I’m pretty certain it’s impossible to create a wart free tax plan. It just has fewer warts than any other plan that I’m aware of.

One might ask if I’m going to be attending any of today’s Tea Parties. There is one here in Indianapolis.

View 2009 Tea Parties in a larger map


Unfortunately, I’ve had several circumstances that have caused me to miss time from work recently, and I know I have at least a couple more coming up, so I won’t be able to attend. I highly encourage you to do so, however.

I also encourage you to be suspicious of a Republican politician who jumps on the “Tea Party” bandwagon. These protests aren’t merely about high taxes, but high spending. Ask this Republican where s/he was the last 8 years when spending was out of control (or at least what we thought of as “out of control” then…drop in the bucket compared to now).

Not that there weren’t Republicans who tried to reign in the growth of government over the last 8 years. But they were the minority in their own party. And is the primary reason we are now saddled with the government we now have.

Today’s also a good day to reflect upon how much you actually paid in taxes this year. No, not the size of the check you’re writing today, or the size of the “refund” you’ll be getting, but the total amount you’re paying. Do you know? Most people don’t.

Mine? About $24,000 in federal and state income tax. Note that doesn't include FICA taxes, unemployment taxes, property taxes, vehicle excise taxes, sales taxes and probably a few dozen other taxes that aren't coming to mind at the moment. Even I don’t know my total tax burden offhand, although at least I keep a close enough eye on my finances to be able to calculate it.

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