A Libertarian Plan for Tax and Congressional ReformSubmitted by samadamscw on Thu, 10/08/2009 - 01:42
After the exhaustive FairTax debate in another thread, I was asked to submit my ideas for reform that I think we should work for to fix the present mess we are in.
So here goes, feel free to rip or give kudos all you like. I encourage criticism (constructively) because it will help me develop the positions and strengthen my arguments for them. (or maybe abandon them or make new proposals)
These are in no particular order except the first.
The most important reform we can make actually is not a tax reform, but it will lead to it as sure as anything can be:
#1 - Fix the maximum size of Congressional districts to 50,000 people.
This will get us several benefits.
1) Representatives are by nature now, more responsive to their districts.
2) Smaller constituencies allow for the possibility of more variation than the limited "views" of the two major parties.
3) It is now infinitely easier to elect someone to replace Representatives that are either not responsive to the people, violate their oath of office, or generally fail to implement good policies, or fail to block bad ones.
4) Smaller number of voters needed to win also makes it significantly cheaper to run for office so much that one could physically canvass the whole district personally. This would open up the possibility of a more citizen legislature rather than having career politicians. People who otherwise would make great Representatives could now run successfully where with the current massive districts, they would be also-rans.
The combination of all of these effects means it is more likely that real tax reform and reductions of spending can be achieved. The people will insist on it, and they have the means to remove and replace any Rep who doesn't follow along.
Reducing spending makes income taxation unneeded.
Eliminating income taxation forces spending reduction.
Either is infinitely more achievable with smaller constituencies.
There are some associated logistical reforms that will further advance these benefits:
1) limiting the time spent by Congress in session drastically to at most 2 sixty day sessions a year.
2) limiting pre-session committee time to no more than 30 days each and that such committees meet in State Capitols rather than D.C.
3) requiring that the other half of the year be spent in the home district.
4) indexing pay to the median salary of that district
5) Requiring both chambers follow their own current rules concerning reading of bills and "cool off time" before debate begins or the bill cannot become law under the constitution.
6) eliminating huge staffs that are no longer needed since the districts are manageable by one person.
7) ending the spoils system and return committee selections to the "committee of the whole" as well as changing committee chairs to being elected by their committees rather than appointed by "leadership."
#2 - As for specific reforms to tax policy, we should eliminate the Gift and Estate tax, as well as the tax on capital gains and allow people to opt out of Social Security and stop paying all FICA taxes. Benefits should be moved back to the general budget. There should be a cutoff and phase out of retiree benefits. People need to be educated on the fact that NO ONE has ever "paid into" any account, and they are not "owed" the money. By necessity, this phase out will likely take over a decade.
I, believe it or not, do not have an issue with the current so called "income tax" as it is written. (Subtitle A) I DO have issue with how it is currently illegally enforced and collected against people who it is not levied on. (which is most Americans)
#3 - We should rewrite Title 26 to make it obvious who those taxes are imposed on without question. (as opposed to the current treasure hunt nature of the code)
#4 - We should end the use of audits and the courts as tools of fear and terror to scare people into paying a tax they don't owe. Audits are supposed to be verification of the GOVERNMENT's books with YOU being used as the "standard" - not the other way around.
#5 - We should repeal the anti-first amendment provisions of Title 26 that prohibit educating people about the tax laws.
#6 - We should place the burden of proof back squarely on the government in tax matters. (the FairTax to its credit makes some of these improvements and I applaud that effort)
#7 - We should make it a crime to enforce the tax laws in direct contravention of their plain language and the court cases which clarify and define the statutes. There should be VERY harsh penalties on ANYONE who committed such a crime or cooperated with anyone under color of law committing such a crime. Government agents which committed such crimes should be PERSONALLY liable for any harm or damage caused to a citizen.
#8 - On the State level, this needs to be done wholesale for all Federal laws, not just tax law. There is a bill offered by a Georgia gubernatorial candidate, Ray McBerry, that does just that. I think this is a model act for the other States to follow with. If I chose the State office route instead of or before the Federal, I would work to advance just such a bill.
(Google Ray McBerry or search for threads on him here on DP)
#9 - I also support McBerry's other main bill which commandeers federal tax receipts and apportions remittance to the Treasury based on the percentage of constitutional spending.
(McBerry has five other bills out so far that are similar, but these two are most applicable to tax law.)
#10 - We should also push Congress to transition to using apportioned taxes for every appropriation that is beyond the resources raised through basic excises, imposts and duties. Along with this, all duties and imposts should be completely uniform - like a flat duty of X percent or X dollars or cents per item regardless of the item or country of origin.
#11 - We should repeal the federal fuel and alcohol excises. This goes along with ending puppet string payments to States for transportation.
#12 - We should sell off the railroads and phase out the Railroad retirement tax and benefits. (as well as FUTA)
#13 - Repeal the Federal Firearms Act of 1935 and subsequent acts made under that authority, they are essentially draconian taxes on the right to keep and bear arms.
I know this is a long list, but this is what I have so far. A pretty good start I think to cleaning up a big mess. The kicker here, is that each of these is independent of the others. So if it turns out after more research that one of these is counter productive or will take more time to win a majority support for passage, then that's okay. We can skip it and/or come back to it later. There is somewhat of an order to these that will make passage of all of them easier, and in fact, it might be worse if we tried to do them all at once. Transition periods can be a good thing, and might help us perfect later reforms to avoid unseen pitfalls.
Clearly though, if we do only one of these reforms specifically, I think it should be #1. By doing that, all of the others, or any comparable reform, will be infinitely easier compared to today.
There you have it folks, let 'er rip!