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A View from the Altar / Quick comment on taxes
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Quick comment on taxes

Our country taxes all kinds of stuff at different rates.  We tax retail sales in Florida at a rate of 7 percent.  And in Florida, wages are not taxed at all.  We tax your home phone at a certain rate and your cell phone at a different rate.  Gasoline, propane, natural gas, diesel fuel, and jet fuel (JP-4) are all taxed at different rates, and sometimes the tax rate on the same product varies according to its use.  Diesel fuel for a farm tractor is taxed less than diesel fuel for a semi.

Long ago, the Constitution permitted taxation of property, sales, imports, exports, etc.  All these were taxed at different rates depending on how the politics all worked out.  But we didn’t allow direct taxation of people’s wages.  Then the Constitution was changed, and now we do allow direct taxation of income.

And no big surprise here, the rate of taxation on personal income is different from the rate of taxation on increases in the monetary value of a piece of property.

That’s what all the hoopla is about with Mr. Obama’s deceitful blather about taxing the billionaire at a different rate from his secretary.  The truth is — and if he doesn’t know this, he shouldn’t be president — we might not tax the billionaire at all if he has no personal income stream.  What we do tax is the increase in the value of his property.  And, yes, we long ago decided to tax increases in property value at a different rate from personal income.

What with all the bloviating about this, you’d think the president had recently discovered some long-hidden subterfuge in the tax code.  Fact is, all taxation of every form, sort, kind, and variety is like this.  Virtually no two taxes are the same, and politicians have long kept it this way.

If you want a truly flat tax, you’ll have to do it Moses’ way.  He had a flat, 10 percent tax on net production along with a flat user fee on people who came to the tabernacle or temple.  If the president were truly interested in what he calls “fairness” rather than just playing the demagogue for his ignorant voters, he’d be pushing a Moses-style flat tax.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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