The federal budget and you | Nov. 14
Try revamping our tax system
It was interesting reading the Sunday Perspective section on the budget commission's report and the individuals and organizations offering their suggestions in reducing the federal budget. All the cuts suggested — if you could get Congress to pass them — would not balance the budget but only slow the rate of our escalating national debt.
The problem is that all taxes are based on narrow lanes of taxation. Take income tax, for example. In 2008, Warren Buffett made $500 million and paid tax a rate of 15 percent. His secretary made $60,000 and paid tax at a rate of 28 percent. Why? Because hers was income and Buffett's was dividends. Unfair? You bet.
There has to be a simpler and fairer way to eliminate the deficit and balance the budget. And there is. The universal exchange tax, or UET, would eliminate our national debt in three to four years. Thereafter, it would eliminate the IRS and give the federal budget more money than Congress ever dreamed of.
The universal exchange tax is like a sales tax but it charges one-tenth of 1 percent on every documented exchange. Buy a hundred dollars worth of groceries, you pay 10 cents UET. Buy a $1,000 big-screen TV, the UET is $1; a $25,000 car, $25; and so on. Hardly money worth crying over.
So how can these minuscule amounts generate $4 trillion-$5 trillion a year? Well, the UET is not just for individuals. It include banks, financial clearinghouses, title companies, credit card companies, brokerage houses and tax collectors, all charged with processing and documenting transactions of value.
There are 4 quadrillion to 5 quadrillion exchanges in the United States every year. And each quadrillion is equal to approximately $1 trillion in revenue, or $4 trillion-5 trillion. Our federal budget this year is $3.8 trillion.
Americans have always been known to be independent, and resisting taxes is just another way of expressing it. But with the UET, there will be no income taxes, no IRS, no keeping of receipts to prove a deductible, no April 15 deadline, and no federal taxes deducted from your paycheck.
Under UET, your taxes are one-tenth of one percent for everything you buy. Better hold on to those pennies.
Don Hayes, Tampa
Hashing out the numbers
This was a fine article; do more of them, please. It serves to get citizens thinking. As many points of view as possible need to be presented. Frank, honest discussion is good for the country.
I'm a "constitutional conservative," which means I believe in returning the country to the principles set forth by our Founding Fathers, i.e., nothing radical. I believe we have mostly created our own problems by straying from the blueprint provided in the Constitution.
Think it's too old to be of any value? Think again. They thought of almost every problem we are having today.
Gerald Larson, Dunedin
Vouchers only for the faithful Blumner column, Nov. 14
States as laboratories
Robyn Blumner assumes in this column that tax money is the rightful property of the state. Perhaps in some other system of government it is. Our system is founded on the notion that only people have rights. Governments have powers that are granted to them by the people via documents known as constitutions.
In the case at issue, the people of the state of Arizona, acting through their legislature, made it possible for citizens to specify how much of their taxes will be routed to certain schools not part of the public school system. Given the uniformly ghastly performance of those public schools, it's not difficult to see why Arizonans might be amenable to alternatives.
We have a federal system. Certain tasks are delegated to the federal government. Others are delegated to state governments. For that latter group, we are supposed to have up to 50 potentially unique solutions to common problems, a schema known as "massively parallel trial-and-error." When there are 50 different ways to fund schools, for instance, we would shortly discover that one state was doing it very well, others good but not great, and still others poorly. Over time the poorer models would be discarded for better ones.
Frank Clarke, Oldsmar
Howls from the left
It didn't take long before the howls of protest came from the left on the deficit panel's recommendations. The talking point seems to be that the recommended cuts disproportionately affect the poor.
When are these people going to get their heads out of the sand on what deficit spending has done and is doing to drive our country off a cliff? What part of "We don't have the money!" do they not understand?
Since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society program, our hard-earned tax money has been dumped by the billions into the War on Poverty. Guess what? Poverty won.
The only thing these programs have accomplished is to create a gigantic underclass that depends on the government. For some reason there are many folks who believe America owes them because they were born here. We taxpayers are quickly getting a case of "poverty fatigue." It is time to stop paying people for merely existing.
Dramatic cuts in spending and entitlement programs are not only necessary but long overdue.
To those who say deficit reduction disproportionately affects the poor, I respond that the poor disproportionately affect the deficit.
Good job, deficit panel. Now let's see if President Barack Obama has the guts to take action. I am not holding my breath.
Laura Harris, Brandon
Sarah Palin deleted my comments on Facebook | Nov. 14
Flatterers only need apply
This article should serve as advance warning of Sarah Palin's style of governance: surround yourself with flatterers who constantly confirm your genius and insulate yourself from all opposing views, polls, studies and facts.
Blame John McCain for opening this Pandora's Box of nightmares. Can no one put the lid back on Alaska? Heaven help us!
Liliana Sablich, Port Richey