Time to Get Out of the Box

Rob Meltzer

As I have spent much of the day sending emails to Washington urging members of Congress to reject the Senate fiscal cliff deal, its occurred to me that we’ve all been in this situation before. We have a dead car. The mechanic says it needs a new engine and new brakes, but you can only fix one of the two. Doesn’t the debate just become hypothetical? I’d like to suggest that the lesson from this whole sordid episode is that the income tax is dead, and we should bury it. Seventy percent of our national economic activity is driven by consumer spending, which means that whatever goes to Washington doesn’t cycle immediately into the economy. People without money don’t participate in the economy. People with a little more money, particularly the self-employed, can avoid taxes simply by fluctuating their business activity. As a general rule, the rich really don’t care.  So, no matter what Congress does, the brunt of the failed Obama policies are going to fall on those who can afford it least. If one thing should happen this year, it should be the beginning of an entire dialog on how to move beyond the income tax. Dead and buried. So what comes next? I don’t have an answer. national sales tax? value added tax? a tax on stupidity, which would weigh heaviest on our elected leadership? At this point, the question should be squarely on the table in Washington when the new Congress convenes. It would seem that America has now rejected the income tax. What should replace it?