They Are Not Going to Simplify the Tax Code


While at the gym today I couldn’t help but notice the standard FoxNoise program playing above me. There, on the screen, was Neil Cavuto doing everything but French kiss Donald Trump in an interview about tax day. Apparently the Donald is considering yet another presidential run…because that never gets old.

Well, the conversation was centered around the complexity of the tax code, and how difficult and convoluted it was. Of course, Donald Trump doesn’t actually prepare his own taxes, but never mind all that. Apparently he’d love to be able to fire those people who do. According to Trump and to Cavuto, the solution was clear. Simplify the tax code by abandoning the progressive income tax for a flat tax, or the beloved Fair Tax. Nice and simple.

Of course, this claim is balderdash. The last thing in the world Trump, Cavuto, and the elites they represent, want is to simplify the tax code. The proof is that their proposals do nothing of the sort. confused bird

Look, the truth is that the progressive income tax is not particularly complicated in and of itself. If you want  simple, just do the EZ form. You match your income with your tax bracket, subtract what you’ve already paid and voila, you are done. Really, there are species of bird that can figure out their taxes on the simple form.

Taxes become complicated when you star applying for write offs and exemptions, or filing under special categories often related to different businesses. These are the very complications that Trump and the biggest advocates for a “Flat Tax” or a “Fair Tax” will never “simplify.”

Even in the event that they get their simplified tax policies, the same old exemptions will continue to exist. Perhaps with a flat tax the simplest part of the progressive income tax, the progressive brackets, will be simplified, but the byzantine exemptions and alternative categories, the complicated part of the tax code, will remain. Plus, a moderately progressive tax system will be replaced by regressive policies.

It’s easy to be seduced by corporate conservative claims. After all, they have professional PR people to frame their arguments. They know that the majority of Americans think negatively about paying taxes, and the tax code, thanks to corporate influence, is unreasonably confusing. Suggesting general tax cuts is an easy sell. Specific tax cuts, of course, are not so popular as citizens see programs that they like shredded. That’s why corporate conservatives always avoid giving specifics as to exactly which “wasteful” programs they intend to cut.

Simplifying the tax code may be an easier sell, but it’s equally nonsense. It’s the corporate class that largely created the complications in the tax code. They are not likely to reverse a system of which they benefit.

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