Nobody is happy paying taxes. Republicans promise magic economic growth if we cut taxes mostly on the wealthy. Democrats promise to raise taxes on the rich. It’s time for some fresh thinking.
What if you could legally avoid paying some taxes? What if there was a way to pay for more of what you use, and not pay for things that you are not connected to? And if this could be done while collecting enough funds to help the oppressed rise from poverty, and keep the planet healthy, even better.
Here is a proposal with ideas stolen from republicans, libertarians, environmentalists and academics.
The basic idea underlying all of these taxes is that if you are creating a problem, you pay to fix it; cancer treatment is paid for as much as possible by taxing carcinogens (as they are phased out). Unhealthy food could go towards paying for health care. This way, in theory, if a problem gets worse, the funding for it increase.
Outline of the plan:
- carbon tax – pays for environmental protection
- flat income tax – pays for the services that all citizens use
- wealth tax – helps with upward mobility programs
- estate tax- helps with upward mobility programs
- miles driven on the road tax – pays for . . . roads
- sugar tax – pays for healthcare costs
- carcinogen tax as it is phased out – pays for healthcare costs
- tax on high frequency trades – helps with upward mobility programs
the US gov generates about 3.18 trillion dollars a year in revenue, so we need to match that number. here is how much each tax i propose could generate
All of these numbers are rough, back of the envelope calculations
|carbon tax||$20 per ton of CO2||100 billion|
|natural resource extraction tax||10% of all revenue||10 billion from oil and gas, 4.5 billion from coal, 600 billion from gold coper and other mineral extraction (this seems high, what are other peoples estimates?)
total: 614.5 billion
|flat income tax||10% tax on all income above the poverty line||Hard to estimate but it is similar to a GOP tax proposal that was estimated to raise ~1.5 trillion|
|wealth tax||0.5% on all wealth over 20 million||132 billion and here (very, very rough back of the envelope math)|
|estate tax||same as current- 17% (actual average) on more than $5.3 million per individual||8.5 billion|
|miles driven on the road tax||whatever raises 85 billion (annual amount feds spend on roads)||85 billion|
|sugar tax||$0.10 per 12 oz can equivalent||12 billion|
|carcinogen tax as it is phased out||increase tax on cigarettes and tax known carcinogens||try to raise as close to 125 billion as possible|
|tax on high frequency trades||.5% on trades||175 billion annually|
|luxury tax||20% tax on all luxury goods (fancy cars, expensive watches, mega mega mansions)|
If massive inequality is paid for with a wealth tax, luxury tax, and estate tax, the higher inequality grows, the more money we have to address it. If people are driving more, causing wear and tear on the roads, a miles driven tax would raise more money for roads.
This plan also has some of the benefits that conservatives want: more economic growth as investments in the economy are rewarded.