09/11/2004: Thought for the Day:
The problem with wanting the tax code to be "simpler, fairer," and "pro-growth" is that it's impossible to achieve all three at the same time. You can make the tax code simpler and more pro-growth by taxing everyone at the same rate, but that's less fair because if Joe earns 10 times more than Sam, whatever percentage they both pay in taxes will pinch Joe a lot less than it pinches Sam. If your main concern is to make the tax system fairer, on the other hand, the best way is to make Joe pay a higher percentage of his income than Sam, to make Sam pay a higher percentage of his income than the next guy down the income scale, and so on, until you reach zero at an income level that allows a family to pay for the bare minimum required to survive in the richest nation on earth. But that certainly isn't simpler, and it won't foster growth (long-term growth, anyway) as fast as a lower tax on high incomes would.
--Timothy Noah, on Bush's desire to make taxes "simpler, fairer and pro-growth"
Len on 09.11.04 @ 09:17 AM CST