Originally Posted by Anikdote
I don't think the nation is served by folks making money, rather it's served by folks making the value they trade for money. When so many folks make money, but offer no more value in return for it than filling out forms... well those folks are contributing nothing to the cost of maintaining the American lifestyle. As a nation we are less effective for it.
The complexity that wastes so much effort is a result of American's lying to ourselves about what taxes should accomplish. We say we want to tax wealth to pay a government that treats us all equally, we approximate wealth as income... but then are dissatisfied with the inherent unfairness of taxing income. We don't want to ask the farmer who spent $200,000 to produce a $250,000 income to contribute more than the insurance salesman who made $100,000 in income without spending anything to do so. So we start adding deductions and credits for farm equipment and mortgage to make an income tax approximate a profit tax. Maybe some more tweaks to try and make life 'fair' for folks dealing with bad luck or bad choices... and then find out our exceptions have now let the insurance salesman write off his new Humvee.
America would do better with a simpler tax system. But that system won't come along until we stop using income as a basis for taxation and just ask folks to pay for what the nation provides us all equally.
A man approaches you and says "gimme $100," you respond that you'd prefer not to. He says "we should compromise; gimme $50." The next day he approaches you: "gimme $200." At what point is it reasonable to stop compromising and just say no?