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Many Americans who have wrestled with a 1040 form, or who have paid someone to prepare their taxes, no doubt cheered the news that Congress will soon resume working on tax reform. However taxpayers should temper their enthusiasm because, even in the unlikely event tax collection is simplified, tax reform will not reduce the American people’s tax burden.

Congressional leadership’s one nonnegotiable requirement of any tax reform is “revenue neutrality.” So any tax reform plan that has any chance of even being considered, much less passed, by Congress must ensure that the federal government does not lose a nickel in tax revenue. Congress’s obsession with protecting the government’s coffers causes reformers to mix tax cuts with tax increases. Congress’s insistence on “offsetting” tax cuts with tax increases creates a political food fight where politicians face off over who should have their taxes raised, who should have their taxes cut, and who should have their taxes stay the same.

One offset currently being discussed is an increased tax on imports. This “border adjustment” tax would benefit export-driven industries at the expense of businesses that rely on imported products. A border adjustment tax would harm consumers who use, and retailers who sell, imported goods. The border adjustment tax is another example of politicians using tax reform to pick winners and losers instead of simply reducing everyone’s taxes.

When I was in Congress, I was often told that offsets do not raise taxes, they simply close loopholes. This is merely a game of semantics: by removing a way for some Americans to lower their taxes, closing a loophole is clearly a tax increase. While some claim loopholes are another way government distorts the market, I agree with the great economist Ludwig von Mises that “capitalism breathes through loopholes.”

By allowing individuals to keep more of their own money, loopholes promote economic efficiency since, as economist Thomas DiLorenzo put it, “private individuals always spend their own money more efficiently than government bureaucrats do.” Instead of making the tax system more “efficient” by closing loopholes, Congress should increase both economic efficiency and economic liberty by repealing the income tax and replacing it with nothing.

The revenue loss from ending the income tax should be “offset” with spending cuts. All federal spending, whether financed by taxes or by debt, forcibly removes resources from the private sector. Thus, all government spending is in essence a form of taxation. Therefore, cutting income and other taxes without cutting spending merely replaces one type of taxation with another. Instead of directly paying for big government via income taxes, deficit spending means citizens will be hit with an increase in the inflation tax. This tax, imposed on the people with the Federal Reserve’s monetization of debt, is the worst form of tax because it is both hidden and regressive.

Unfortunately, while Congress may make some small cuts in domestic spending, those cuts will be dwarfed by spending increases on infrastructure Keynesianism at home and military Keynesianism abroad. As long as Congress refuses to make serious reductions in spending, the American people will be subject to the tyranny of the IRS and the Federal Reserve.

The suffering will only get worse when concerns over government debt cause the dollar to lose its status as the world reserve currency. This will lead to a dollar crisis and a major economic meltdown. The only way to avoid this fate is for the people to demand a return to limited government in all areas, sound money, and an end to the income tax.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Income Tax, Taxes 
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  1. MarkinLA says:

    I agree with the great economist Ludwig von Mises that “capitalism breathes through loopholes.”

    By allowing individuals to keep more of their own money, loopholes promote economic efficiency since, as economist Thomas DiLorenzo put it, “private individuals always spend their own money more efficiently than government bureaucrats do.” Instead of making the tax system more “efficient” by closing loopholes,

    Yeah, like the loophole created to benefit UPS when the wanted to add trucks to their fleet that allowed people like doctors and lawyers to buy Hummers and Escalades for nothing. That was efficiency at it finest – people buying cars that get 10 miles to the gallon and hog up a lot of road space.

    How about those pre-Reagan loopholes for racing horses. Everybody should own a piece of a thoroughbred even if it is just to avoid paying income taxes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    Why is the solution to close the loophole and force everyone to pay higher taxes rather than, say, to lower taxes all round? If Hummers and Escalades are cheaper because of a loophole, and you don't want people to buy so many Hummers, why not allow people to make the same deduction on all vehicles, rather than a narrow selection of the most environmentally unfriendly vehicles?
    , @DRS
    I know a lot of people who are doctors that don't drive Hummers when they are working a hundred forty hours a week so you might want to preface that with some other form of employment.
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  2. Taxes are theft.

    They are a result of, and an incentive to, act in many other immoral ways, none ultimately of benefit to the taxpayer.

    So, why cut ‘em? Eliminate ‘em instead.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Another libertarian loser.

    Why do you people still exist?
  3. jtgw says:
    @MarkinLA
    I agree with the great economist Ludwig von Mises that “capitalism breathes through loopholes.”

    By allowing individuals to keep more of their own money, loopholes promote economic efficiency since, as economist Thomas DiLorenzo put it, “private individuals always spend their own money more efficiently than government bureaucrats do.” Instead of making the tax system more “efficient” by closing loopholes,


    Yeah, like the loophole created to benefit UPS when the wanted to add trucks to their fleet that allowed people like doctors and lawyers to buy Hummers and Escalades for nothing. That was efficiency at it finest - people buying cars that get 10 miles to the gallon and hog up a lot of road space.

    How about those pre-Reagan loopholes for racing horses. Everybody should own a piece of a thoroughbred even if it is just to avoid paying income taxes.

    Why is the solution to close the loophole and force everyone to pay higher taxes rather than, say, to lower taxes all round? If Hummers and Escalades are cheaper because of a loophole, and you don’t want people to buy so many Hummers, why not allow people to make the same deduction on all vehicles, rather than a narrow selection of the most environmentally unfriendly vehicles?

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    There should be no loopholes and everybody pays taxes purely based on what they earn. If you really believe that people should make the decisions about where the money is spent then loopholes are the last thing you want.

    Why do you make up this nonsense that loopholes cause taxes to rise. Didn't you see the revenue neutral part?

    Personally, I think it is stupid to make the distinction between earned income and capital gains. The idea that people need incentives to invest is ridiculous. What will they do with their money? They will either put it in the bank (which will invest it for them) or buy something which will result in people working (the stated goal of subsidizing investment) if they don't invest. The stock market was never a significant vehicle for getting capital in Germany and that didn't seem to hurt them.

    If you want to create differences between income then one might look at productive versus unproductive income. A guy building a factory that will employ lots of people is productive. Somebody in a brokerage clipping off 1/4 of a cent off every share traded and putting it into his pocket is not.
  4. Anon says: • Website

    I just wish Ron would do more for Tax Honesty. He has been the best friend in Congress to the movement, but I am afraid he doesn’t understand the constitutional insights it offers, even though he calls himself champion of the Constitution.

    Read More
  5. MarkinLA says:
    @jtgw
    Why is the solution to close the loophole and force everyone to pay higher taxes rather than, say, to lower taxes all round? If Hummers and Escalades are cheaper because of a loophole, and you don't want people to buy so many Hummers, why not allow people to make the same deduction on all vehicles, rather than a narrow selection of the most environmentally unfriendly vehicles?

    There should be no loopholes and everybody pays taxes purely based on what they earn. If you really believe that people should make the decisions about where the money is spent then loopholes are the last thing you want.

    Why do you make up this nonsense that loopholes cause taxes to rise. Didn’t you see the revenue neutral part?

    Personally, I think it is stupid to make the distinction between earned income and capital gains. The idea that people need incentives to invest is ridiculous. What will they do with their money? They will either put it in the bank (which will invest it for them) or buy something which will result in people working (the stated goal of subsidizing investment) if they don’t invest. The stock market was never a significant vehicle for getting capital in Germany and that didn’t seem to hurt them.

    If you want to create differences between income then one might look at productive versus unproductive income. A guy building a factory that will employ lots of people is productive. Somebody in a brokerage clipping off 1/4 of a cent off every share traded and putting it into his pocket is not.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw

    There should be no loopholes and everybody pays taxes purely based on what they earn. If you really believe that people should make the decisions about where the money is spent then loopholes are the last thing you want.
     
    That doesn't make sense. A loophole allows some people to reduce their taxes. That's more money in their pockets for them to spend as they see fit. Not that this counters your other points, but it defies logic to say that people have more choice over how their money is spent if they are allowed less of it.

    Why do you make up this nonsense that loopholes cause taxes to rise. Didn’t you see the revenue neutral part?
     
    That's not what I said. I asked you why you think the problems associated with loopholes are best solved by eliminating the loophole and forcing everyone to pay the higher rate. Why not just lower the general tax rate, for example?

    Personally, I think it is stupid to make the distinction between earned income and capital gains. The idea that people need incentives to invest is ridiculous. What will they do with their money? They will either put it in the bank (which will invest it for them) or buy something which will result in people working (the stated goal of subsidizing investment) if they don’t invest. The stock market was never a significant vehicle for getting capital in Germany and that didn’t seem to hurt them.

     

    Having more money to invest is precisely why any tax cuts are a good idea. You pointed to a problem when people started buying lots of large vehicles since they were able to write off those costs on their tax returns. I'm not denying it's a problem that people were incentivized to buy large, environmentally unfriendly vehicles, but before we even address that problem we also have to acknowledge the benefits. For example, doctors and lawyers can save more money on transportation. These savings fund their consumption, which helps whoever sells them goods or services; these savings can also be invested in production. They can use savings to charge lower fees or buy new supplies or hire new employees to help them provide better services.

    Now, back to the problem of buying only SUVs. How about letting self-employed people write off the costs of any vehicles they use for work? Then they won't be incentivized to buy the gas-guzzlers if other, less carboniferous cars are more economical. If instead we just close the loophole, we might stop the preference for Hummers, but we also eliminate all the other benefits I just listed. This results in lower consumption, lower savings, lower investment, higher fees, weaker business, and so on. So why not choose the win-win solution?

    If you want to create differences between income then one might look at productive versus unproductive income. A guy building a factory that will employ lots of people is productive. Somebody in a brokerage clipping off 1/4 of a cent off every share traded and putting it into his pocket is not.

     

    I think you just claimed that any savings are productive. What does the broker do with that money? He either spends it on consumption or he invests it directly or through a bank.
  6. DRS says:
    @MarkinLA
    I agree with the great economist Ludwig von Mises that “capitalism breathes through loopholes.”

    By allowing individuals to keep more of their own money, loopholes promote economic efficiency since, as economist Thomas DiLorenzo put it, “private individuals always spend their own money more efficiently than government bureaucrats do.” Instead of making the tax system more “efficient” by closing loopholes,


    Yeah, like the loophole created to benefit UPS when the wanted to add trucks to their fleet that allowed people like doctors and lawyers to buy Hummers and Escalades for nothing. That was efficiency at it finest - people buying cars that get 10 miles to the gallon and hog up a lot of road space.

    How about those pre-Reagan loopholes for racing horses. Everybody should own a piece of a thoroughbred even if it is just to avoid paying income taxes.

    I know a lot of people who are doctors that don’t drive Hummers when they are working a hundred forty hours a week so you might want to preface that with some other form of employment.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    You might want to follow the thread or read more closely. The real point was about tax loopholes and them being efficient.

    Years ago UPS was given a special tax break in exchange for promises that they would buy a lot of American made delivery trucks. Small business people who incorporated like doctors and lawyers got in on the scam. You buy a horrendously inefficient vehicle - save a ton of money due to tax write offs and sell it in three years for about what you paid for it. Not only was this a waste of gas and a road hog but it caused the auto companies to artificially continue making these hogs such that when 2008 hit they were hurt significantly when people could not afford 50,000 dollar SUVs.
  7. @jacques sheete
    Taxes are theft.

    They are a result of, and an incentive to, act in many other immoral ways, none ultimately of benefit to the taxpayer.

    So, why cut 'em? Eliminate 'em instead.

    Another libertarian loser.

    Why do you people still exist?

    Read More
  8. MarkinLA says:
    @DRS
    I know a lot of people who are doctors that don't drive Hummers when they are working a hundred forty hours a week so you might want to preface that with some other form of employment.

    You might want to follow the thread or read more closely. The real point was about tax loopholes and them being efficient.

    Years ago UPS was given a special tax break in exchange for promises that they would buy a lot of American made delivery trucks. Small business people who incorporated like doctors and lawyers got in on the scam. You buy a horrendously inefficient vehicle – save a ton of money due to tax write offs and sell it in three years for about what you paid for it. Not only was this a waste of gas and a road hog but it caused the auto companies to artificially continue making these hogs such that when 2008 hit they were hurt significantly when people could not afford 50,000 dollar SUVs.

    Read More
  9. jtgw says:
    @MarkinLA
    There should be no loopholes and everybody pays taxes purely based on what they earn. If you really believe that people should make the decisions about where the money is spent then loopholes are the last thing you want.

    Why do you make up this nonsense that loopholes cause taxes to rise. Didn't you see the revenue neutral part?

    Personally, I think it is stupid to make the distinction between earned income and capital gains. The idea that people need incentives to invest is ridiculous. What will they do with their money? They will either put it in the bank (which will invest it for them) or buy something which will result in people working (the stated goal of subsidizing investment) if they don't invest. The stock market was never a significant vehicle for getting capital in Germany and that didn't seem to hurt them.

    If you want to create differences between income then one might look at productive versus unproductive income. A guy building a factory that will employ lots of people is productive. Somebody in a brokerage clipping off 1/4 of a cent off every share traded and putting it into his pocket is not.

    There should be no loopholes and everybody pays taxes purely based on what they earn. If you really believe that people should make the decisions about where the money is spent then loopholes are the last thing you want.

    That doesn’t make sense. A loophole allows some people to reduce their taxes. That’s more money in their pockets for them to spend as they see fit. Not that this counters your other points, but it defies logic to say that people have more choice over how their money is spent if they are allowed less of it.

    Why do you make up this nonsense that loopholes cause taxes to rise. Didn’t you see the revenue neutral part?

    That’s not what I said. I asked you why you think the problems associated with loopholes are best solved by eliminating the loophole and forcing everyone to pay the higher rate. Why not just lower the general tax rate, for example?

    Personally, I think it is stupid to make the distinction between earned income and capital gains. The idea that people need incentives to invest is ridiculous. What will they do with their money? They will either put it in the bank (which will invest it for them) or buy something which will result in people working (the stated goal of subsidizing investment) if they don’t invest. The stock market was never a significant vehicle for getting capital in Germany and that didn’t seem to hurt them.

    Having more money to invest is precisely why any tax cuts are a good idea. You pointed to a problem when people started buying lots of large vehicles since they were able to write off those costs on their tax returns. I’m not denying it’s a problem that people were incentivized to buy large, environmentally unfriendly vehicles, but before we even address that problem we also have to acknowledge the benefits. For example, doctors and lawyers can save more money on transportation. These savings fund their consumption, which helps whoever sells them goods or services; these savings can also be invested in production. They can use savings to charge lower fees or buy new supplies or hire new employees to help them provide better services.

    Now, back to the problem of buying only SUVs. How about letting self-employed people write off the costs of any vehicles they use for work? Then they won’t be incentivized to buy the gas-guzzlers if other, less carboniferous cars are more economical. If instead we just close the loophole, we might stop the preference for Hummers, but we also eliminate all the other benefits I just listed. This results in lower consumption, lower savings, lower investment, higher fees, weaker business, and so on. So why not choose the win-win solution?

    If you want to create differences between income then one might look at productive versus unproductive income. A guy building a factory that will employ lots of people is productive. Somebody in a brokerage clipping off 1/4 of a cent off every share traded and putting it into his pocket is not.

    I think you just claimed that any savings are productive. What does the broker do with that money? He either spends it on consumption or he invests it directly or through a bank.

    Read More
  10. MarkinLA says:

    Tax cuts that are not paid for are just like loopholes – they benefit the few at the expense of the many. Cutting loopholes raises the rates on a few and cuts taxes on the many and increases fairness.

    The brokers earnings are that of a parasite – he adds nothing to the situation. It is not like he facilitated in a difficult transaction such as a real estate broker might.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    How does that work exactly? Neither or nor Ron Paul are arguing for paying for loopholes by raising rates on others. We want to pay for it by cutting spending.

    I don't quite understand your broker example. Is he stealing the money or is he being paid for a service? If the latter, who are you to say that his service is not needed or not worth the price? Surely that is up to the one paying.
  11. jtgw says:
    @MarkinLA
    Tax cuts that are not paid for are just like loopholes - they benefit the few at the expense of the many. Cutting loopholes raises the rates on a few and cuts taxes on the many and increases fairness.

    The brokers earnings are that of a parasite - he adds nothing to the situation. It is not like he facilitated in a difficult transaction such as a real estate broker might.

    How does that work exactly? Neither or nor Ron Paul are arguing for paying for loopholes by raising rates on others. We want to pay for it by cutting spending.

    I don’t quite understand your broker example. Is he stealing the money or is he being paid for a service? If the latter, who are you to say that his service is not needed or not worth the price? Surely that is up to the one paying.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Neither or nor Ron Paul are arguing for paying for loopholes by raising rates on others. We want to pay for it by cutting spending.

    Get rid of the loopholes and you can still reduce spending. The two have nothing to do with each other.

    The broker is part of how Wall Street makes it's money. They see that somebody has a bid to buy 1000 shares at 10 dollars and somebody has a bid in to sell 1000 shares at 9.99. The seller and buyer isn't matched so that the buyer get them for 9.99. The brokerage buys the shares at 9.99 and sells them to the other guy for 10 dollars and pockets the difference. Do this all day long and it adds up to a lot of money.

    This the front running at the heart of the computerized trading.
  12. MarkinLA says:
    @jtgw
    How does that work exactly? Neither or nor Ron Paul are arguing for paying for loopholes by raising rates on others. We want to pay for it by cutting spending.

    I don't quite understand your broker example. Is he stealing the money or is he being paid for a service? If the latter, who are you to say that his service is not needed or not worth the price? Surely that is up to the one paying.

    Neither or nor Ron Paul are arguing for paying for loopholes by raising rates on others. We want to pay for it by cutting spending.

    Get rid of the loopholes and you can still reduce spending. The two have nothing to do with each other.

    The broker is part of how Wall Street makes it’s money. They see that somebody has a bid to buy 1000 shares at 10 dollars and somebody has a bid in to sell 1000 shares at 9.99. The seller and buyer isn’t matched so that the buyer get them for 9.99. The brokerage buys the shares at 9.99 and sells them to the other guy for 10 dollars and pockets the difference. Do this all day long and it adds up to a lot of money.

    This the front running at the heart of the computerized trading.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    I think we're talking at cross-purposes. You seemed to be saying that loopholes automatically lead to higher tax rates for everyone else, but I don't see how that is the case. If the problem is that a loophole needs to be "paid for", surely that can be done by cutting spending, rather than raising rates on the rest. You haven't shown why it's absolutely necessary to fix the problems associated with loopholes by eliminating the loopholes only, leaving the general rates of tax and spending unchanged.

    I guess I don't see the problem with what the broker is doing in your scenario. Like any normal businessman or trader, he buys at a discount and sells at a profit. What do you expect him to do? Buy them at a mark-up and sell at a loss? If your problem with him is that he is playing a middleman role and his clients could just buy the shares for 9.99 and not let the broker get that extra point, then presumably they would do that if it were so easy. Brokers are like any retailers in that they absorb the costs in time and money of acquiring expert knowledge of the trade; instead of spending resources learning about the market enough to locate the profitable sales, clients hire brokers to do that for them. Naturally, the broker tries to profit off this knowledge; if there were no profit in that knowledge, there would be no brokers.
  13. A superior income tax system is one where the state governments are in control of how the federals spend their money.

    I suggest that state governments pay all federal income taxes, and that each state government have the power to legally withhold income taxes they believe are being misspent by the federals.

    In addition, I suggest that the 17th amendment be repealed, and that control of the US senate be returned to the state government legislatures.

    It never made sense to have 2 houses of congress representing the people.

    Read More
  14. jtgw says:
    @MarkinLA
    Neither or nor Ron Paul are arguing for paying for loopholes by raising rates on others. We want to pay for it by cutting spending.

    Get rid of the loopholes and you can still reduce spending. The two have nothing to do with each other.

    The broker is part of how Wall Street makes it's money. They see that somebody has a bid to buy 1000 shares at 10 dollars and somebody has a bid in to sell 1000 shares at 9.99. The seller and buyer isn't matched so that the buyer get them for 9.99. The brokerage buys the shares at 9.99 and sells them to the other guy for 10 dollars and pockets the difference. Do this all day long and it adds up to a lot of money.

    This the front running at the heart of the computerized trading.

    I think we’re talking at cross-purposes. You seemed to be saying that loopholes automatically lead to higher tax rates for everyone else, but I don’t see how that is the case. If the problem is that a loophole needs to be “paid for”, surely that can be done by cutting spending, rather than raising rates on the rest. You haven’t shown why it’s absolutely necessary to fix the problems associated with loopholes by eliminating the loopholes only, leaving the general rates of tax and spending unchanged.

    I guess I don’t see the problem with what the broker is doing in your scenario. Like any normal businessman or trader, he buys at a discount and sells at a profit. What do you expect him to do? Buy them at a mark-up and sell at a loss? If your problem with him is that he is playing a middleman role and his clients could just buy the shares for 9.99 and not let the broker get that extra point, then presumably they would do that if it were so easy. Brokers are like any retailers in that they absorb the costs in time and money of acquiring expert knowledge of the trade; instead of spending resources learning about the market enough to locate the profitable sales, clients hire brokers to do that for them. Naturally, the broker tries to profit off this knowledge; if there were no profit in that knowledge, there would be no brokers.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Wrong. I am arguing that ALL loopholes needs to go. Then if you cut spending everybody gets the same cut. It is wrong for some people to pay 20% on 100K and others to pay 15% on 100K.

    That is all I am arguing. I am not arguing for or against the broker. I am arguing against the stupidity of having one type of income versus another. My example was only that if you are going to have that kind of stupidity why not make it productive versus non-productive - if there is even such a way to define that. Of course that is what is supposedly the reason for giving capital gains the preference, it is considered productive but it really isn't as far as I am concerned.
  15. MarkinLA says:
    @jtgw
    I think we're talking at cross-purposes. You seemed to be saying that loopholes automatically lead to higher tax rates for everyone else, but I don't see how that is the case. If the problem is that a loophole needs to be "paid for", surely that can be done by cutting spending, rather than raising rates on the rest. You haven't shown why it's absolutely necessary to fix the problems associated with loopholes by eliminating the loopholes only, leaving the general rates of tax and spending unchanged.

    I guess I don't see the problem with what the broker is doing in your scenario. Like any normal businessman or trader, he buys at a discount and sells at a profit. What do you expect him to do? Buy them at a mark-up and sell at a loss? If your problem with him is that he is playing a middleman role and his clients could just buy the shares for 9.99 and not let the broker get that extra point, then presumably they would do that if it were so easy. Brokers are like any retailers in that they absorb the costs in time and money of acquiring expert knowledge of the trade; instead of spending resources learning about the market enough to locate the profitable sales, clients hire brokers to do that for them. Naturally, the broker tries to profit off this knowledge; if there were no profit in that knowledge, there would be no brokers.

    Wrong. I am arguing that ALL loopholes needs to go. Then if you cut spending everybody gets the same cut. It is wrong for some people to pay 20% on 100K and others to pay 15% on 100K.

    That is all I am arguing. I am not arguing for or against the broker. I am arguing against the stupidity of having one type of income versus another. My example was only that if you are going to have that kind of stupidity why not make it productive versus non-productive – if there is even such a way to define that. Of course that is what is supposedly the reason for giving capital gains the preference, it is considered productive but it really isn’t as far as I am concerned.

    Read More
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