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MadDAsHell

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Member since: Wed Nov 5, 2014, 11:56 AM
Number of posts: 2,067

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The U.S. Tax Code: Should it be structured to raise revenue, drive "desired" behaviors, or both?

I've been chewing on this question this morning after Senator Warren's announcement that she was working to make it easier for us to file our taxes.

While I do appreciate those efforts, I responded to a related thread stating that this taxpayer would so much rather have a simplified tax CODE than a simplified tax FILING system. And I'm not necessarily talking about a flat tax or any other regressive crap the neocons can come up with to help corporations avoid paying their fair share, but simply shifting our approach to tax collection in this country.

I'm not an accountant or a tax policy historian, but it seems like over 200 years our tax code has went from one with a primary goal of RAISING REVENUE for government expenditures, to one with a primary goal of INFLUENCING BEHAVIORS that the government sees as desirable. This is scary for 2 reasons:

1) Who gets to decide what those "desired" behaviors are? This can be heavily influenced by which party is in power. While deductions/credits/etc. may seem innocent, is it a good thing that a home-buying decision is heavily influenced by the mortgage interest tax deduction, a deduction that while nice, fails to mitigate the enormous risk the buyer has just assumed by purchasing a home? Is it a good thing that giant corporations get tax breaks alleged to help them "create jobs," when we know full well that that isn't happening in a lot of cases even when the breaks are applied?

2) This system, focused on driving behaviors instead of raising revenue, time and time again fails to raise sufficient revenues to cover expenditures, because when deciding how much can be spent, instead of simply estimating the # of taxpayers and income levels in a given tax year, it's grasping in the dark at estimates on how many people will take a certain deduction, and how much that deduction will net each person, etc.

What are your thoughts? Do you like the current tax approach?

Clinton supporters: 2016 aside, are you comfortable with DWS's stated purpose for superdelegates?

With a primary candidate being 15% to the nomination before a single one of you has voted?

And with this system, alarmingly undemocratic in the eyes of many, being a feature of the "Democratic" nominating process?

I acknowledge it's probably hard to separate the merits of the system with the immediate and substantial advantage it gave your preferred candidate from the day she declared, but if you can, I'm sincerely curious how the average Clinton supporter views this system.

Good for the Party, or an embarrassment to the Party?
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