The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Ides of April

Taxes are done! Actually, they were done and mailed off yesterday, and unlike the past few years, I didn't have to pay any this year.

But in thinking about taxes (via The Duff Wire and as of this writing, you still have fifty-nine minutes to finished them up and get them postmarked, so hurry up!) and the flat tax proposal or even other forms of tax reform my gut feeling is that they won't get very far—all the proposals are just too radical a change for most Americans. A better method would be to take a longer view of tax reform and take smaller steps that would be easier to push through Congress and past the President yet get them a step closer to a true tax reform.

One such step could be the elimination of tax withholdings; I'm not talking about repealing withholding of Social Security (the very real Sacred Cow in Washington) or Medicaide or Medicare but the other taxes that are withheld when you fill out the W-4 form. It can be easily sold to the government as a way to jump-start the flailing economy as that will give people a bit more discretionary money to which to spend on consumables (after all, that's what a good consumer does, right? Consume?). It is too late to get it repealed for this year, but target a repeal date of say, January 1st 2004 that companies will no longer be allowed to withhold taxes (other than Social Security and Medicare); I think that's doable.

The payoff of such an act towards tax reform won't really be felt until January 2005, with a total tax meltdown come April when people realize just how much they really owe! And you can bet that tax reform will be all that much easier to push through!

Granted, best results would occure if the sticker price of income tax (for lack of a better term) were to hit during an election year; even better during a Presidential election year, but if we're willing to take the long view with a bit of paitence, this one small step could be the break needed to get real tax reforms going here in the US.

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