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October 20, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Let’s get rid of federal income tax

Isn’t it time to replace the IRS with a system of no federal income tax?

To support the budget of the federal government, a national sales tax would be a great replacement for our present system and could be run by the Treasury Department.

No more benefit and retirement programs for IRS employees. What a savings for the American people, who would be able to keep their hard-earned dollars.

The sales tax percentage would be determined by the total of each year’s federal budget; some years more than others.

For the very poor, special credit benefits would apply on their payments.

I wholeheartedly believe that this new sales tax program would be so much better than our present income tax system — and guess what: No more IRS scandals.

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  1. Danny Wuerfel, the President's personal pick, to clean house in the IRS has failed miserably. His IRS report on the results of his review was trashed by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. The IRS is a dinosaur. So is the IRS tax code. At over 100 years old, both [IRS and the tax code] have outlived their useful life. It's time to scrub both and start anew. And the Government of the people will.

    Carmine D

  2. The wealthy are all for replacing the income tax with a national sales tax. So, guess who gets to pay more in taxes under this plan! Right, it's the working class.

    As for saving a bunch of money by eliminating the IRS. Their budget is $12.6 billion out of a Federal Budget of $3.6 Trillion. Don't spend it all in one place!

  3. Leave it to the parasitic class to oppose both a national sales tax and a "flat tax." They might have to contribute in some way under those scenarios and become productive citizens rather than remain lazy & slothful. We don't need an IRS acting like the Gestapo garnering intimate and personal data from us. The Founders would never have sanctioned any bureaucratic agency that held that much power over us and they did not authorize an income tax accordingly. They also did not create departments of commerce, energy and other such bureaucratic nightmares because they had just escaped from being under the thumb of such tyranny in England and elsewhere. They knew - "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Osama Obama and his fellow travelers are showing us just how true that adage really is. Forget about the "Arab Spring!" What we really need is an "American Spring!" Let's make it come true in the 2104 elections!

  4. Do it. Get rid of the IRS. Like the rest of Obama's government,it's a mess.

  5. In attempting to demonstrate that those in the lower economic rungs pay no taxes and to imply that they are part of the moocher class Re, as usual, manipulates data to achieve results favorable to his position and has the temerity to cite as a source....himself!!! The bottom rung of taxpayers are not exempt from state and local taxes, fuel taxes, vehicle registration and fees, property taxes [regardless of ownership or rental] and sales taxes. If they are working poor they are not exempt from Social Security and Medicare, unemployment and state or local payroll taxes., Many receive earned income rebates, a tax scheme proposed by conservatives to reduce dependence on "welfare" programs. But as to the income tax replacement. It is widely acknowledged that sales taxes are regressive, that is they impact lower income individuals and families more than higher income. I could support a GST, a goods and services tax applied to all financial transaction, possible excepting food and medicine. So long as the tax is broadly applied....investments, capital gains, stock awards and payouts, consulting fees, political fundraising, Kim Kardashians butt lift and TVs, cars, couches and Orvis fly rods, it might be acceptable. How about some details, Mr. Ball.

  6. This letter is nonsense. Nonsense that only benefits the rich. What is not mentioned in this letter is the simple fact that this grand scheme, if it goes into effect, will go on for only a little while. Then quietly, like Governor Walker in Wisconsin signing anti-abortion laws late at night, they'll change it all around and shift all the burdens on the middle class and pound the poor into mush.

    I simply don't trust the bastards. Not even to clean my toilet.

    When I was young, my father wisely told me that whenever a rich man comes up to you and says he's going to do something for you at a nominal fee, the best thing for me to do is to grab my back pocket, protect my wallet, spin around, and RUN LIKE THE DEVIL. Because they only want my money.

    This get rid of the IRS thing is only a scheme.

    To make the rich richer.

    The one and only way to fix anything is to get rid of all the loopholes that let corporations get away with murder. Even the tiniest subsidies and loopholes. Get rid of 'em all.

    Second is to make sure everyone pays their fair share. The rich make more than anyone else? It's only fair they pay more. EVERYONE pays their fair share. Which is not the way it is now.

    And third, let's give the IRS the power they should have had before. These campaign 501(c)4 organizations, both left and right, are all garbage and they are gaming not only our political system, but America too. Tax 'em til they scream like little girls.

    We FIX the IRS. Not destroy it.

    But of course, the Tea/Republicans, as well as their rich benefactors, will not like that idea. Why? BECAUSE IT MAKES SENSE.

  7. IRS does it again. Posted tens of thousands of SSNs on a government web site: IRS.gov.

    A reckless act of incompetence and malfeasance. And a huge black eye for Government.

    Carmine D

  8. The purchases of Corporations are nearly all written off so eliminating income tax and the IRS would eliminate corporate, dividend and inheritance taxes as starters.

    Hedge funds that earned $30 billion a year would pay nothing. Dividends and benefits paid to owners, executives and stockholders would be tax free. This is the plan: make all corporate income tax free.

    Sales taxes would be placed and raised as required on medicine, medical and dental bills, food, utilities, vacations and the internet to name a few.

    Totally insane nonsense. Riots would come next.

  9. Colin, Great response! This letter is total nonsense, that can never work. As always the righties here only post the parts that are beneficial to them, and leave out what's meaningful to the majority. The sooner the right wing goes the way of Whigs the better!!!!

  10. Two choices seem reasonable here:

    Tax goods and services, as Pat Hayes suggests; or

    FIX the IRS, as Colin From Las Vegas suggests.

    Either one is paletable and doable. As a middle income person, being FAIR is the goal. One can accept the fact that the nation's infrastructure needs our support, doing our individual parts chipping in to make that happen is fine, as long as a person isn't losing their home, car, and well being while in the process doing it. Taxes are cradle to grave no matter where we live on this planet!

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  11. All taxes can be manipulated by government to favor some and disadvantage others. The incomes tax system we have in this country has been manipulated until it is very, very unfair.

    Personally, I doubt if our government will make any real efforts to simplify the income tax or make it more fair, nor will they abolish the income tax and IRS in favor of something else. I push for option two myself, with a GST or something like it as a replacement.

    As I always do however, I will repeat that whatever tax system we have, if we don't enact term limits and public financing of campaigns, the rich and powerful will simply buy influence in Congress to manipulate whatever tax system we have to their benefit. In addition, our government will manipulate any tax system, as it does now now to 'encourage' outcomes some people favor.

    NONE of this belongs in America but we can't fix any of it if we continue to place members of our national legislature in a place, where to keep their jobs, they must do the bidding of the rich and powerful to have the money they need for election and re-election.

    Michael

  12. Tax reform, what's that? It will never happen as long as a handful of the weathiest Americans control our government.

    oligarchy

    1: government by the few
    2: a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also : a group exercising such control
    3: an organization under oligarchic control

  13. Do you guys have any idea how many powerful groups make a living off the United States tax code? Tax attorneys, tax preparers, investment advisors, offshore investment groups. They have unbelievably powerful lobbying groups in Washington. The complexity of the tax code is their bread-and-butter.

    Special interests are the reason we have a tax code that is thousands of pages and completely unintelligible and a healthcare system that costs trillions when two thirds of the country can't come up with $2000.

    In the 1990s I put together tax exempt medical trusts in Southern California. I had a very powerful law firm based in San Francisco that dealt with the tax exempt legal status mumbo-jumbo. It used to take one year to two years to get final approval at a cost of thousands of dollars per trust. Companies make a fortune off this kind of stuff.

  14. A national sales tax sounds great, but I fail to see how it would save the "American taxpayer" any money. The government currently spends around $3.7 trillion a year, so the government needs $3.7 trillion in revenue to pay for it. Whether that comes from income tax or a national sales tax, the cost to the "American taxpayer" is the same. The only difference is in the distribution of the burden of paying for it among different taxpayers. Since the annual national Personal Consumption Expenditures in the U.S. is around $11 trillion, in order to raise $3.7 trillion to fund the government, we would need a national sales tax of around 33%. Add in another 8% to fund the state government, and we are talking about a 40% sales tax on all items we buy. How many jobs in Nevada do you think that would create? The only people who come out ahead in this scenario are the rich and the very rich.

  15. PS And exactly who is going to enforce paying the national sales tax if we don't have an IRS? Use the honor system? Ya, right.

  16. If you want a simpler lower-cost nation get rid of lobbying. It's the root cause of much of what ails us.
    In addition to the complexity of the tax code everyone and I mean everyone cheats like hell. When the IRS does its line audits on 1040s they find over 90% of tax returns either have significant errors or the filers have engaged in significant cheating by over claiming deductions and under reporting income.

    People line up for government benefits by the hundreds of millions yet no one wants to pay taxes. They want something for nothing and deficits are a result.

    You need a tax system that's fluid and can change on a dime. If we have a couple more wars taxes go up. If baby boomers die out faster than expected taxes go down. Or we can eliminate the federal tax system and finance the entire country through deficits.

    For many years Money Magazine did their annual tax addition. They would send a fictitious family to tax preparers all over the country and have the preparers do the returns. Of the thousands of returns that were submitted to the magazine how many were done correctly? I don't think they got one correctly prepared return in all the years they did the experiment. Some preparers charged several thousand dollars in preparation fees and those were the returns that were typically the furthest off the mark. The chain preparers typically got the closest.

  17. Mr. Pratt.. Where people would save money is in the transaction costs. The government would still need it's $3.7 trillion but the hundreds of billions of dollars that we give to H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, attorneys,Intuit, investment firms, would be saved.
    There are more tax preparers than firemen and policemen. 1.2 million. They're all being paid.
    http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washing...

  18. Mr. Chuck... At 93,000 employees the IRS employs roughly twice what the MGM Corporation employs. They handle close to 150 million tax returns per year. Given the circumstances they do okay.

    I could care less about the IRS. For the last 30 years I have advocated getting rid of lobbying. Lobbying is the reason Washington is paralyzed and almost nothing gets done.

    Last week a big deal was made about the extension for employers with more than 50 employees complying with the insurance requirements. How many employers are there that have more than 50 employees that don't currently provide insurance? About 9000. That's out of 28 million employer and non employer businesses. That's probably how many business owners there are in my ZIP Code. Its lobbyists representing the food industry that are pushing for an exemption. Years ago they managed to get a minimum wage exemption and now they don't want to provide medical care for the workers. They don't want to pay these people anything. Many servers in the United States make two dollars an hour. They don't want to provide any benefits either. Median income in that profession is $18,000 a year.

    A lobbying group representing 9000 business owners can stall an entire piece of legislation. You think you can blow up 1.2 million tax preparers and get rid of the IRS. You're living on Fantasy Island with Ricardo Montauban and the little man.

  19. Carmine is sweating the 2300 Social Security numbers that were accidentally revealed by the IRS.

    In the Heartland and TJX security breaches of the last few years 200 million people were exposed.

    Does anyone believe that any organization can function in today's high-tech environment without having an occasional faux pas. We live in a country that completely lacks mental health services and nuts and crooks are omnipresent. If you want perfection you're not going to find it here.

  20. chuck333 - "So zippert1 with your logic you feel its best that we keep the IRS, with all its current scandals"

    Both conservative and progressive groups were targeted, the IRS did nothing illegal by investigating groups seeking amnesty from taxes. So where is the scandal?

  21. zippert1 - "Lobbying is the reason Washington is paralyzed and almost nothing gets done."

    dustman444 - "PS And exactly who is going to enforce paying the national sales tax if we don't have an IRS? Use the honor system? Ya, right."

    Two very accurate comments, thanks.

  22. This is all Fox News stuff to boost ratings. All this nonsense will blow away like a fart in the wind.
    The Democrats went overboard with costant attacks on Bush. Now Obama is under 24 hour attack by Republicans. I feel sorry for the next poor fool.
    All this weakens the country and makes politics a terrible career choice. Who wants insults 24 hours a day. It's no wonder guys like Weiner and Spitzer will probably hold elected office again. No one else wants the job!

  23. Vernos,

    Do you believe that the IRS investigated the groups they investigated in the course of routine work, treated their applications exactly the same way they treat any application, acted on them as quickly as they possibly could and that there is absolutely nothing to be concerned with at all with what the IRS did and how they did it?

    Michael

  24. Gerry,

    You are correct about lobbying but you cannot legally stop groups, interests, businesses, etc from asking for things from their representatives (ie lobbying).

    The correct solution is to allow the lobbying, but insulate our representatives from influence by enacting public financing of campaigns. That way, our representatives would be using only publicly provided money to run campaigns. Groups, interests, businesses, etc could still lobby their representatives but they'd have nothing to offer the representatives in return for getting what they wanted.

    Congress will never enact public financing, but we could demand it. Unfortunately, we don't.

    Michael

  25. Michael,

    It was a self described Cincinnati IRS conservative who admitted to starting the investigations. Something Darryl Issa tried to hide from the public. The investigations may not have been equal simply because the Tea Party's went haywire applying for exemptions, which is why they were targeted. In other words, a man doing his job because warning flags popped up.

  26. As usual, as with most debates these days,we again begin in the middle of the problems with a tax reform debate. The U.S. is literally on the brink of financial destruction and chaos, because of out of control Executive Branch policies, intentional undermining and an ineffective Congress who tries but is impotent in reigning in a tyrannical and unlawful administration.

    The first priority is to clean up the Executive Branch. The decay from within our government begins right there.

    What must sink into everyone's head is that the Executive Branch is an increasingly tyrannical out-of-control mob with tacit encouragement by president Obama. The situation is worsening, and even gaining momentum.The government's core culture has been in the process of cleverly and intentionally redefining itself with the president's implied consent and by the example of his own language and unconstitutional behaviors.

    It is prevelant everywhere you look. While the Executive outwardly appears to be in a state of confusion,and near anarchy, this is all a matter of intentional design. This is Obama at his best. And it will only get worse from here on.

    Obama's strategy is to light so many scandalous and illegal bond fires that Congress cannot begin to deal with them all. Alas, Obama is on his way to overwhelming the system and driving a wedge between a stand- and- watch citizenry and their elected but overwhelmed representatives in Congress. America is not designed to cope with rampaging and out of control lawlessness. Every institution is based on the precept of the rule of law. These institutions are confused by the apparent massive bureaucratic bungling and anarchical appearing behaviors that are are infesting in the Executive.

  27. Bob Jack....the Founder did an admirable job delineating the gross and petty tyrannies of George the Third, His Majesties Government and the Honorable British East India Company which led to the overthrow of the territorial government. Perhaps you could educate us as to the tyrannies of the Obama administration.

    Until you can make a convincing case your words will be, as aptly put by Gerry Hageman, as farts in the wind.

  28. I say this plan isn't bold enough! Let's just give all the money -- all if it -- to the Koch brothers, and let them dole it out to whomever they deem worthy.

  29. Vernos,

    I try hard not to believe everything I hear and read, and especially so if it conforms to something I 'want' to believe.

    I don't know who initiated the IRS scrutiny of those applying for 501(c)4 status; whether it was started at a high or low level, whether it was or wasn't tied more to conservative groups than liberal groups, whether approval was intentionally delayed or not and the answers to many other questions. Why is that?

    It is because I can go to different sites on the internet, different radio stations, different TV stations and get 'so called' facts that are exactly opposite from each other. I also don't know because a person possibly in a position to know what is actually the truth took the Fifth.

    You seem to gravitate toward Progressive information providers, which is fine, just as Conservatives gravitate toward Conservative information providers. The issue I have with you and many on the Conservative side is that you are all too willing to accept what is provided to you on your selected information providers as 'fact' and not question it.

    These information providers, on both sides, with very few exceptions, have an 'agenda' and have no compunction at all in providing information that is questionable all the way to being absolutely inaccurate. You might want to up your skepticism of your selected information sources. My skepticism of 'all' information sources is at an all time high, and for very good reason.

    Michael

  30. @ Pat Hayes

    Pat,Youv'e got to kidding! You don't see the tyranny in the unchecked behavior, scandals,illegal violations of constitutional rights,the evasion and stone walling of Congressional investigations,lies made before hearings, invasive intrusions on citizens, and the lawlessness of this Executive? I will write another piece if you have missed all this somehow.

    Failing to see this is like walking into The Smith Center and seeing no seats!

  31. Michael,

    That information was from a transcript in a deposition held by Darrell Issa.

  32. Vernos,

    I already knew that. Look, one side wants to tar the other side by saying this was all political and controlled by the White House. The other side wants to say it was all innocent, all fairly proportioned and that it all started at relatively low levels of the IRS with little to no knowledge or guidance by higher ups.

    The problem I have is the same. Our information providers now all have agendas. They don't report fairly anymore. They 'spin' the facts to suit an agenda. Fox does it. CNN does it. MSNBC does it. They ALL do it.

    I think it would have been incredibly stupid for the Obama administration to get within 100 miles of anything like this, so I don't think they did. I don't know if they did but logic tells me to doubt that they did. Logic likewise tells me that it would have been highly foolish for President Bush to move against Iraq when he 'knew' they had no WMD's. I don't know that he knew and invaded anyway and I think that is unlikely but it could be true.

    It's really a tragedy that our information providers have all taken sides and cannot be trusted and it is equally tragic that so many of us have lost a healthy skepticism of the media that they have 'earned'.

    Michael

  33. Here is a radical idea. Get rid of all business taxes and have only the personal income tax.

    Understand that I thin a flat tax or a general sales tax would be highly unfair. I believe a graduated system, in theory, is the best way to go. But to make that work one has to a) get rid of all the loopholes, and b) avoid taxing the same income multiple times.

    I say consider getting rid of all business taxes because in the end the consumer STILL pays them in the form of higher prices. I'm toying with the idea that if there were no business taxes at all, then tax rates would have to go higher on dividend income, for starters. If corporations tried holding too much back in retained earnings then the unions would have a big target to go after unless companies raised pay rates, which they could easily afford to anyway at that point. They would have to do that so employees could afford their products, for that matter.

    If it was done right, without loopholes, prices would come down due to market pressure, which in turn would help reduce (or at least control) the burden of assistance to low-income families who truly needed it.

    Obviously there are a lot of numbers that have to be crunched to see if this is viable, but I think the taxation of income multiple times, especially at the business level which just gets passed on to the consumer anyway, is a major source of the problem.

    It's a radical idea, but at least crunch the numbers and see if there is something there to look at.

  34. Why not ? some employers take the taxes out but never pay it to IRS and then refuse to give thier employees thier tax statements at the end the year, dont they WEE Kirk O Heather wedding chapel?. Ohhh wait isnt that tax fraud ? and tax evasion? hmmmm, now there's a story for ya LV Sun.

  35. "Carmine is sweating the 2300 Social Security numbers that were accidentally revealed by the IRS."

    Gerry:

    Your numbers are off by a factor of 10 to the 2nd power. I don't care if it were just one, IF I was the one. How about you? Would you like to post your SSN here for 24 hours. Then take your chances!

    Carmine D

  36. "Until you can make a convincing case your words will be, as aptly put by Gerry Hageman, as farts in the wind."

    Gerry,

    You'd feel differently if you were downwind from the flatulence. 100,000 IRS employees before the surge of 20,000 more for Obama care smell a lot worse than the pig farm on a hot humid day.

    Carmine D

  37. "Not gonna happen."

    Really. Don't kid yourself. The House Ways and Means Committee is passing a bill to cut the IRS budget by 25 percent next fiscal year. And that's just the start. Don't think Congress can scrub a Federal Agency in totem? Think again. Congress can zero out the IRS budget. Power of the purse strings.

    Carmine D

  38. VernosB (vernos branco): You noted (at 1:26 p.m. yesterday) that "It was a self described Cincinnati IRS conservative who admitted to starting the investigations."

    And, of course, the supervisor of that unit was a conservative appointee of the last Administration...

  39. A roughly graduated income tax could be reported on a post card: Line 1 - total income from ALL sources.
    Line 2 - Enter appropriate tax rate (one of perhaps 6). Line 3 - Multiply line 1 by line 2. Pay this amount.

    Of course, this would require ALL payees to report ALL income paid to every US taxpayer. But how could THAT be a problem? It's already required for all wages, salaries, and interest payments - that covers the most of us...

  40. Congress is like a hurricane--you never know what it's going to do and which way it will go. Such is the fate of IRS. 20 year life? $10,000 bet? Save it. You'll need it top pay your taxes.

    Carmine D

  41. "I love the IRS.

    Never had a problem with them."

    Not many people can say this and genuinely mean it. While I pay taxes and don't complain [think Oliver Wendell Holmes], I can say with absolute certainty most Americans view taxes and the IRS with dread and disdain. Even before the most recent IG reports about wasteful and abusive IRS spending of taxpayers' monies. The reason in part it took from 1776, with a war fought over taxes paid to England and King George, to 1916 to enact a Federal tax on individuals and businesses.

    Carmine D

  42. An interesting idea, Alexanderh. But it might have created just a tad of a problem on the morning of December 8, 1941.

  43. AlexanderH wants to limit spending. Kind of difficult when you have 10,000 people a day retiring over 20 a year time frame. If you want to save money drive down medical costs. If we limit our medical spending per capita to the next most expensive country which is Norway, we would save enough money to fund Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and the military with taxes at current levels.
    Contrary to the baloney that you hear on Fox news. With Obamacare we've had the slowest increase in medical spending in decades. Last quarter medical spending was down for the first time in 42 years. The federal government scored its first budget surplus last month in five years. More dramatic medical initiatives to drive down costs would balance the budget in a very short time.

    They want to eliminate the IRS? No matter what kind of tax system you have you need a central revenue authority. Who's going to collect and allocate the money. They might change the name of the IRS but it will always be there.

  44. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/1...
    Through the years numerous participants have said higher taxes wouldn't generate higher revenues. Horse manure! Cavuto and Lou Dobbs said higher taxes would kill the stock market. All time highs today.
    As I stated above you will never see a national sales tax replace the current tax system. Not with lobbying and 1.2 million people making a living off the current tax system.

  45. I follow the same doctrine that RefNev Freeman and others here do. I don't respond to personal attacks by untrusted commentators here. In 3 days your posts evaporate. I can wait.

    Carmine D

  46. Gerry:

    Cavuto and Dobbs say a lot about the stock market. So does Charlie Gasparino. These are opinions. Sometimes right and sometimes wrong.

    Here's the facts. In 1980, the top 1% and 5% of income earners in America paid 19.1% and 36.9% of total Federal income taxes. Today, the top 1% and 5% pay 37.4% and 59.1%. Meanwhile, 41.6% of American earners now pay no federal income taxes.

    Carmine D