Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Update III to "Wonderland of Dishhonesty"

Bill Hobbs has his response to my response to Barry's response to my original post. Whew! Got that straight?

It's a good, short explication of Bill's proposal for implementing the TABOR-bound income tax. But the important qualifier, the one I forgot in my original statement and the follow-up, is here:
And if they propose tax reform that is revenue-neutral and includes a flat income tax permanently eliminates and bans those other four taxes, they might find me - and others of like mind - voting for it.
It's the "flat" part of the income tax.

I don't think that can happen, or at least it can't stand if they first implement a flat income tax. The pressure to "make it fair," to convert it into a graduated income tax, will be fierce, especially from Memphis-area legislators and other Democrats. It's the kind of sloppy thinking, prey on ignorance, punish the rich divisiveness that suckers too many.

I did some research and found this, from the Federation of Tax Administrators website. Note that of the fifty states, they list seven with no income tax at all, and two more (including Tennessee) which only tax investment and dividend income. That leaves 41 with some kind of income tax.

Of that 41, only six (Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, South Dakota and Texas) have flat taxes. The rate steps of the remaining 36 range from 2 (Connecticut) to 10 (Missouri and Montana)! The odds don't favor Tennessee.

Now, you've probably already noted that Colorado is one of the six. True. But as Hobbs notes here, already there are calls in Colorado to start to change things. I firmly believe that even if the flat tax is first started, the graduated one will be swiftly called for. Too many on the Left depend on this kind of chicanery and income redistribution for it not to surface.

So, I remain deeply skeptical. Yes, everything I've written on this so far has evidenced a deep distrust of my fellow men, or at least the elected ones. That's true because I also believe that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." No matter how well-intentioned, any position of power will come to be taken over by those who relish the power, who will then work to consolidate and expand that power, as well as enriching themselves and their friends. The best solution is to keep such positions as limited as possible (constitutionally), decentralised (kept as close to the community as possible, even if that means some degree of replication), and focused (kept to the point and not given broad scope).

Also, I need to clarify something that might be misconstured. I did not feel actually betrayed by Bill's position on TABOR-bound income taxes. I meant to say, and thought I had, that I had an emotional reaction, as though that had been the case. It was to illuminate Barry's point about his being perplexed by how some seem to take it so emotionally. I am one of those people. It's about my money, which I make precious little of, and my desire to keep it -- especially from those who want to use it to reward friends and buy votes. So, yes, I do take it personally.

I would hope that all of you do, too.

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