Presidential Candidate Herman Cain, whom I dislike less than Rick Perry and probably less than Mitt Romney, has been talking a lot about his 999 tax plan. In short, he'd like to replace nearly all federal taxes with a 9% sales tax, a 9% income tax, and a 9% corporate tax, all of which he'd greatly reduce any deductions and exemptions for in the attempt at rough revenue neutrality.
I give him credit for recognizing that our current tax system is an abomination, dragged up from the hells of complexity that the Elders of the Second Sigma find congenial. It is precisely because these Elders of the Second Sigma, as represented by lobbyists, tax attorneys, lawyers, et al are so invested in the complexity of the tax system that I predict nothing of the sort will happen on this side of a total collapse of governmental legitimacy and authority. In their attempt to defend the infernal complexity of the existing system, they benefit from the Fundamental Theorem of Reaction---which is to say that any significant change WILL have winners and losers, and if you control the cultural battlespace, it is easy to provide a parade of sympathetic losers and implicitly demand that no change be made unless it is actually perfect, with no losers. Reactionaries know that this is impossible, and generally view this practice with contempt, but it wins elections and useful idiots.
But, since we're on the topic of taxation, let me present---only half-jokingly---a proposed Jehu tax plan. My prediction is that rich neurotypicals, like present day Americans, will loathe this plan because of its open and transactional nature. Here it is:
Create a ladder of classes, possibly even several ladders that branch off the first ladder. For instance, your ladder might look like this
Lower lower class, middle lower class, upper lower class, lower middle class, middle middle class, upper middle class, lower upper class, middle upper class, and a ton of flavors of upper upper class.
This class ranking would be 100% A-OK for discrimination. You could have neighborhoods that living in them required class X or lower, class Y only, or class Z or higher. There would also be perks associated with upper classes, like the police would ACTUALLY bother to investigate identity theft claims you made if you were of class X or higher, for instance. You'd also have a few sumptuary laws as well, so you could effortlessly display what class you were for the social and romantic marketplaces.
Now for the tax. You, the taxpayer decide what class you want to be for the next year. Your net payment to the treasury determines what class you're going to be rated as---perhaps with a sliding window function covering the past decade or so. And there you have it, a tax system that has very low complexity and requires next to nothing in the way of auditors. In addition, it acknowledges the fact that there is a hunger for discrimination---such is just inherent in our status-seeking natures--and chains it to a useful purpose. It also makes status displays a lot less subtle and costly. Everything is pretty transparent and above the board. Historically speaking, this isn't even all that odd of a tax system---it's like a head tax where the upper classes have a surcharge. I predict this same transparency and open nature would cause most neurotypicals to run screaming in terror.
Foundationalism: in praise of vagueness
2 days ago