IIWP (If I was President): Taxation
On occasion I think I’m going to write something about what I’d do if I was President. Now more accurately these are things I’d do if I was a dictator. But we’ll assume that in this fantasy universe the President is not surrounded by a bunch of charismatic but utterly hollow individuals. In this theoretically universe the government is a group of people who actually care about the people who are not in the government. Which is entirely possible, unlikely given the way people vote, but possible.
Taxation, in this nation that I am President of, would only come from one source: Luxury living. There would be no taxes on food, no taxes on houses, no taxes on income, and no taxes on land. There would only be taxation on living luxuriously which includes all non-necessity purchases. We are going to assume that in this fictitious universe people are going to accept the somewhat ambiguous term “non-necessity” and not try to abuse it. To save us the thousands of pages of documentation that might be required to stop lawyers or lobbyists from royally screwing the pooch. For those wanting a few examples, services, entertainment, and relaxation would be three luxuries. When I say relaxation I’m talking about products made to aid in that, not the actual act. Nobody is taxing you to nap, then again taxing on a free thing ends up still being free so I suppose it is still fine.
Taxation of luxury items would be somewhat high, 10 cents on every dollar, which though high would for most people be far less annually than they currently spend. The average American household in 2009 spent 43,395 dollars. Of that roughly half was for things that would no longer be taxed under this theoretical system of mine. So we are looking at 21,500 dollars per household. According to the Census in 2000 there are 105,480,101 households in the US. Which means annually the nation would take in 2,267,822,171,500 dollars. Which is 2.26 trillion dollars per year for those curious. Currently in 2009 the US took in 2.15 trillion dollars in Taxes, which in part had to do with every cutting back on spending because of the banking catastrophe that transpired. However it is estimated to increase to 3.4 trillion dollars by 2014 (and 2.3 this year if you were curious).
The amount of money brought in is the same, as of last year, but the reasoning is very different. People will no longer be taxed for supporting their society (income tax), they will no longer be taxed for supporting their nation (housing and land taxes), and they will no longer be taxed for being alive (various other taxes on necessities). Now people will only be taxed for living luxuriously, which means that our nations maintenance would be supported not by the mandated draining of income but by taking funds from humanities natural desire to live splendidly. If a family was hitting hard times and needed to live modestly they would be able to do so without being taxed and further hurting them.
The spending of tax money would also be greatly different. Projects would be based on quality of service and not on lobbyists. Companies that prove their worth through projects that are successful and supported by the communities that are affected by them would be hired to work across the nation. Likewise companies that support their local cities and states and do not invest money overseas (specifically to hide income, no punishment for aiding ailing nations). The internet would aid in this quest for quality as state populations could vote and comment on how they feel about a project. Were the roads that were recently repaved now dangerous to ride on? This type of information would be critical in choosing where to spend money.
We are also working off an assumption that manipulation of information would be an offense that could be penalized. A manipulation of information is any communication whose intended purpose is to mislead people into doing something against their own interest. It is incredibly popular in modern America (see healthcare and basically any political run). If an organization starts spreading rumors that the pavement used in a road job causes AIDS just to scare people into voting against it they’d be punished (this is an example, I wish it felt outlandish but considering commercials these days).
Reinvestment into the nation would also be prioritized. It would begin with the most vital elements of a society and work downwards.
At the top tier we’d have the following: Health (both preventative and curative) and Education. These would include organizations that examine foods and products to make sure they are healthy, like the FDA (but hopefully not underfunded or ideologically driven), investments into companies and families that produce high quality healthy foods. Investments into research to provide healthy food at high quantities and investments in providing food that is primarily grown within the states. Using greenhouses and other technology to replicate out of country environments. This is not to become isolationist but to better provide citizens with job availability.
On the education front we would fund both lower level and high level education and we would invest heavily in science. I would much love to see a nation where scientists who perform at high levels could receive the kind of paychecks a baseball player gets for playing a game as both serve an important purpose (though the latter infinitely more short term than the former). There would also be bonuses to companies who do not patent their products and bonuses to research groups who share information. The goal being to create a network of information that combines the greatest minds across the whole country. Also heavy investment in bringing top minds to all levels of school to help inspire children. I’m a firm believer that people will rise to the level you expect of them, and culturally we have much evidence for that.
If I didn’t establish it well enough, Health is a blanket term for everything outside of education that is vital for living. Housing, eating, and a clean environment.
After this you would have restorative work in states. Environmental protection, infrastructure repair (such as roads, bridges, and buildings), and multiple times each decade there would be a panel formed to examine any possible ways to improve on the many aspects of infrastructure. Perhaps discoveries have been made into a new alloy that makes plumbing much safer and long lasting, or a new form of solar energy could utilize unused surface area on rooftops. Just as an example.
Investments into other countries. Supporting education and health in our close neighbors as well as struggling countries. We would also end the drug war, legalizing drugs would be a good way to stifle crime globally as their major source of income would be struck directly. Plus this is a strong luxury item that could increase profits. A small investment into honest education on drugs would be the replacement, making sure that people know that while drugs are not evil if used improperly they can hurt a person. This way citizens can make informed decisions on the products. There would be a strong push also for companies producing these drugs for honesty on labeling in case extra additives are used to increase addictiveness. Not that it helps since most people know Cigarettes are as addictive as Water (seriously I can’t quit drinking the stuff).
After that you would have Military investment. Ideally the nation would be able to resolve issues with other countries through diplomacy (why else need diplomats?), but if direct threats are made or an attack is had there would need to be a military. Investments into this branch would involve reduction of casualties and improvements in accuracy. The goal is to end a war with the least casualties on either side as possible and do it as quickly as possibly. If we can launch a missile the size of a poodle up the ass of a man threatening genocide on our people on a Friday over soup I’d be all for it.
I’m quite sure I’m forgetting major things at this point. But no nation was built on the ideals of one person. That’s the whole point of a group, someone mentions what you forgot. Whatever I’ve forgot would go down here (unless it is a blatant important oversight). In essence my ideal nation would be one that is strongly driven by education, a strong educational background leads to nothing but prosperity as long as it is available to all citizens.
So this is the first part. Yes I admit that it is somewhat utopian, but the underlying idea is that Taxes would be far less dickish and they’d work because we’d be more conservative in our spending (well pretty damn liberal if the quality is there). Now I’m using the term conservative and liberal in their LITERAL meanings, I don’t really care about the political meaning to either. That nonsense will be saved for another day.