Tax Ideas, or how to improve the IRS by eliminating it.

I’m working on a theory so if this is a bit of a run on please excuse me and if you post your suggestions and they’re good I’ll try to incorporate them.

From my observations it looks like we still think about paying tax much the same way we did 500, 1000 or even 2000 years ago. In the beginning of taxation it was paid with chunks of gold or something real and needed like food or some other goods. The king had yet to think he could only write numbers on a ledger and trade it for gold, he still had to expend at least some resources to mine gold himself or to acquire it from his subjects.

In this day and age we pay our tax with something that has no real value, its just numbers not even on paper anymore and strangest of all we are paying it back to the same people who made up the stuff in the first place. Its not quite that simple as a number of shell games have been invented to obscure this reality but the money in your pocket with the name of the country you are in right now is the same country that expects you to pay them back a percentage called taxes.

The main banks only have a small fraction of the money they loan in any bank. The majority of the funds today are loaned into existence when loans are made. Charter banks have the legal right to create money out of nothing, the banks are in charge of how fast the economy grows, not the government. That’s one of the privileges of being a member bank of the Federal Reserve in the USA.

I also learned that the huge bank bailouts were facilitated with newly created money, the Fed (which is really just a group of the leaders of the largest banks) just wrote down a number and gave it to the banks. The Fed had no problems doing this for the benefit of the banks and in fact they cried that this was absolutely necessary. In effect the creation of the bailout and for that matter a portion of every loan issued by a charter bank has devalued every US dollar in existence by putting more dollars in the market. With no corresponding increase in the value of the economy if more dollars are created it reduces the value of every dollar. The day after the bailout your money was worth less and so was every US dollar, all the bankers seem to be alright with this happening.

Now think about this, what is the difference between taking funds out of your bank account or devaluing your dollar? If your wealth was reduced by the same amount you owed in taxes there is no difference. We really don’t need a huge expensive bureaucracy like the IRS. We don’t need to support the huge and very wealthy Tax Preparation Industry. Without these two groups the savings would be astronomical.

At least you can say the banks and the insurance industry and Wall St. do something, its not always the best thing and I certainly believe you should not base your economy on the money changers but you can sort of follow the money around and figure out something that looks like economic value but how about the IRS? The IRS is a hugely expensive corporation that consumes a ton of resources and produces nothing, sounds like a pretty harsh statement but since all they do is re-handle numbers I think I’m pretty accurate  Remember now the majority of money isn’t even printed on paper anymore, its just a figure on a ledger moved from here to there and often just made up from mostly thin air in the first place.

Here’s my solution. How about a system where the wealth and growth of the economy is calculated and the money needed to run the government is just printed the same way loans are granted and bailouts given? This would have the advantage of not needing a huge bureaucratic agency or the Tax Preparation Industry that we are also paying to deal with the IRS. If we did this we could then spread the cost of running the country evenly over the users and owners of the currency.

I think my last line is the biggest problem, the wealthy people don’t want to spread the cost evenly they seem to like a system that is easily gamed where the wealthy always come out on top. Last week on “60 Minutes” they spoke about the current recession and how during the last five years 95% of the American population lost wealth but the top 5% has had a 500% increase in wealth. Think of how much they are laughing that a recession for the majority is really the boom years for the wealthy 5%?

My idea would still require the population to file returns but they would be used to collect information and not extract funds. It would work much the same way the census is used, you could even pay people to file returns. Suddenly the underground economy would become part of the GDP, that’s billions of dollars from what I hear. I found a report from 2005, it said it costs $10 billion to run the IRS that year. I don’t know if that’s the entire cost but I suspect it leaves off much like the cost of using the courts and police to enforce the system. The private tax preparation industry is said to be worth $500 billion a year so a change to a tax that was built into the currency could instantly save a trillion dollars a year and expand the economy at the same time.

(Originally published November 4, 2010, edited December 3, 2012)
1014001_578802382187740_1712000414_n
(Photo: facebook group Occupy Wall St.)
Advertisements

Craigslist imitates life?

Guitar search or another day meeting jerks.

FG110

Its all about the odds I tell myself. Yesterday I had to go to the East side so I though I would drop in and see a used guitar that was on my route. The guitar came up on Craig’s days ago and I contacted them immediately as $95 seemed like a good deal. They responded and we were going to set a date until hours later I get another message a different account saying $95 was a mistake and they now wanted $200 which is almost full retail and out of the question.

I offered somewhat less and said it was pending the guitar being exactly as described. Three days later I arrive (after they set up and moved my meeting twice). Nice house in nice area but the first bad sign is a hand written “House For Sale” sign on the front lawn. The old dude is packing boxes in the garage and stops to take me into a house with no carpet just the underpad. His wife tells me a story of how the guitar was under a bed upstairs when they bought the house and that the guitar belonged to some actress… I mentioned it was a nice story but unless she was also famous for playing the guitar and left some document saying she was the owner it would not affect the value.

He hands me the guitar, first bad sign is he put new strings on it. The ad did not mention this nor did the photo show it, I said its not as described but he takes little notice until I find that he also lost one of the screws that holds the high E string so now what is the point of new strings if you can’t tune the string? I also notice a deep crack in the body that was not listed. He tells me he’ll find the screw and mail it to me. I also mentioned that his ad was misleading because he was clearly out of the area. I offer him $95 and he opens the door saying he has another offer, I ask if he lied to him too and leave.

Here’s the problem, everybody today is an expert at everything they do. They are consumers and the consumer is always right so how can anything they do be wrong? Our guy revised his ad last night, he still wants $200 but now he mentions the new strings and includes that this is a perfect guitar for the beginner, its not. You don’t buy a beginner a 40 year old guitar that has not been played for over thirty years. He’s a jerk for taking off the old strings as not only did he loose a part and put some fresh scratches on it but he also lost information that the strings could have told us about its condition and how it was stored. To this old timer 40 years is not a long time and that’s what allowed him to waste money on strings and monkey with something he knew little about.

You can get a brand new beginner guitar for $100, with a warranty and one that parts are available so how does his logic make his worth $200? Because its his, that’s it. I call it lottery mentality and its when anything that you find is worth a fortune because somebody else found one that was worth a million and hell I want mine too.

(Originally published September 10, 2011)

Why don’t we label energy usage like we label ingredients?

John Brower got me thinking with his post about saving the planet, well actually he was commenting about his son’s assignment to watch this film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZIF8TjqhSU and he added about his efforts to save energy…   I agree that turning off an unused light bulb is a good thing but its a rather small thing when you compare it to industrial and military usage and those groups are actively working on making sure we never know the details of their operations. 

 

Part of the problem is much of the data of energy usage is shielded from our view for various reasons like;

 

-We’re only the public and why do we deserve to know the private business of huge corporations?

-We’re only the tax payers and why do we need to know how the military uses our resources?

-We’re only the consumers and why do we think we have a right to know what goes into what we buy?

 

Here’s one simple idea that could be implemented and its very similar to the laws that govern how ingredients are listed on products. How about if we had a “total energy cost” printed on the label? I don’t mean that label they put on refrigerators to show you how much it costs to run, you can (and should) buy a simple energy cost meter at the hardware store to find what all your appliances are costing you.

 

I’m talking about a label to display the amount of energy used to manufacture and deliver THAT product you are holding in your hand. How green are your vegetables when they require oil for chemicals, oil for farm equipment and oil for transportation to be sent half way around the world to market?

 

Right now there is no easy way you can compare the energy cost of locally made vs. imported products, I believe having it at a glance would change peoples habits and that might be why we won’t see it and I’m thinking of Monsanto’s efforts to fight GMO labels.