The argument for a flat tax rate

It is not an overstatement to suggest that every activity we engage in is subject to taxation. The system behind these taxes is a bureaucratic mammoth, a deadweight on the economy. It also erodes public trust in our government. If a person is well-connected and surrounds himself with savvy lawyers and accountants, he might be able to game the system. But struggling families and small-business owners such as my grandparents are not able to bend the rules for personal gain.

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Nothing illustrates best the debacle that our tax system has become than the federal income tax code. This tax alone, with all its complex rules and interpretations, is estimated to be about 10 million words and rising. The taxes themselves, however, are only a fraction of the cost of having this code. The Mercatus Center estimates the cost of complying with such rules — measured in terms of the time, money and effort that it takes to prepare one’s taxes — to be as high as $600 billion per year. Those are resources that could be used in developing new goods and services, investing in education and infrastructure, and enforcing key social programs.

The best solution to this conundrum is a simple flat tax with no deductions, except for a deduction for each adult and each child. This policy would simplify the process of preparing our taxes, as well as transform our political system by ending the complexity that gives government bureaucrats so much power. Indeed, a flat tax would encourage transparency because politicians would no longer be able to broker tax breaks that favor special interests. Everyone would pay less in taxes and in terms of compliance. Further, studies show that a flat tax would grow the tax base and increase revenue for government. This system would allow hard-working individuals to keep more of their money, underscoring a robust work ethic in society. By eliminating loopholes and requiring everyone to pay their fair share, a flat tax offers a model of fairness and productivity. 

From Gerardo J. Cruz, Alexandria, Va.


Congressional leaders need to lead

I’m a 72-year-old independent voter who can no longer watch our political leaders in Washington act like children and get so little done. I make no party distinctions; they are all equally at fault. While I could go back much further, let me just go back 16 years. We are still talking about immigration — this inaction can be traced back at least 50 years — and we refuse to confront national debt. The date on which we run out of funds for Medicare and Medicaid approaches while Washington does nothing. I have no idea if President Trump can fix things. My issue is mainly with our Congress. “We the people” have elected 535 “leaders” that have been pretty much ineffective. It’s our fault for electing them, and it’s their fault for not performing. Consider this: The top four congressional leaders — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Democrats: A moment in history, use it wisely 'Comrade' Trump gets 'endorsement' from Putin in new mock ad by Lincoln Project MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPublic awareness campaigns will protect the public during COVID-19 Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday MORE (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — have been in Congress for about 116 combined years. We have a Congress led by senior members who cannot lead, deliberate, solve problems or act in a civil manner. However, I would give them a perfect score for being childish. Along that line, I’m asking Americans to consider March 10, 2017, as our first — and, hopefully, last — “Pacifier Day.” If interested, citizens would send pacifiers to the four leaders named above. They would be a reminder to them that we the people are not paying children.

From Tom Tyschper, Gilbert, Ariz.