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(Reason Magazine)   62% of Americans favor a flat tax. And their opinions are just as valid and well thought-out as the 52% that prefer cats to dogs, and the 29% that enjoy Here Comes Honey Boo Boo   (reason.com) divider line 314
    More: Stupid, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Americans, flat tax, party favors, Americans favor, cats  
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1657 clicks; posted to Politics » on 15 Apr 2014 at 6:24 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-15 04:38:02 PM  
So uh...did they oversample the South in this poll?

65. Region
• Northeast
.............................................18%
• Midwest
 ...............................................22%
• South
 ...................................................37%

• West
 ....................................................22%
• Total
 ...................................................100%

www.ritholtz.com
 
2014-04-15 04:40:10 PM  
51% of Americans think that "cloud computing" or "the cloud" means that your data is stored in actual clouds in the sky.
 
2014-04-15 04:44:41 PM  

themindiswatching: So uh...did they oversample the South in this poll?

65. Region
• Northeast
.............................................18%
• Midwest
 ...............................................22%
• South
 ...................................................37%
• West
 ....................................................22%
• Total
 ...................................................100%

[www.ritholtz.com image 850x610]


No no, that's called "unskewing".
 
2014-04-15 04:47:55 PM  
Call for a flat tax, sure.  Call for a "fair tax," sure.  But call it what it is: tax the poor.  If you're thinking you'll pay less in taxes under a flat tax, then that burden has to be shifted somewhere.  If we flattened the tax rate, the rich would pay a lot less and the burden has to be shifted somewhere.  If we shifted the taxation scheme from income-based to retail-purchasing-based, it would shift grossly onto the poor, who typically spend all their non-housing money at the retail level.  And if it isn't shifted to the poor, via some tax amnesty below $X,000 of income?  Then it gets shifted to the middle class... because it is shifting FROM the rich.

If that's what people want, fine, but just call it like it is.
 
2014-04-15 04:48:14 PM  
The tax code is ridiculous and needs to be simplified...but I don't think a flat tax is the answer.
 
2014-04-15 04:52:04 PM  

themindiswatching: So uh...did they oversample the South in this poll?

65. Region
• Northeast
.............................................18%
• Midwest
 ...............................................22%
• South
 ...................................................37%
• West
 ....................................................22%
• Total
 ...................................................100%

[www.ritholtz.com image 850x610]


It's  highly unlikely that they just used those numbers without weighting them to proper population numbers.

Polls are weighted, that's pretty must just how polling works. The real secret sauce in polling is trying to figure out what value to assign the weights.
 
2014-04-15 04:54:39 PM  
F*ck off with your flat tax bullsh*t Reason.

Seriously.
 
2014-04-15 04:57:30 PM  
Anyone favoring a flat tax should also know that it will essentially be a 25% federal sales tax.

Who here wants a 25% federal sales tax?
 
2014-04-15 04:59:56 PM  
62% of Americans probably think that if you move into a higher tax bracket all of your income will be taxed at that higher tax bracket.

There's a lot of reasons why Americans are so goddamn dumb, but I think the number one reason is because we're not forced to be smarter.
 
2014-04-15 05:01:07 PM  
If 62% of Americans agree on something, there's a decent chance it's a terrible idea.
 
2014-04-15 05:02:47 PM  
Question: does your flat tax plan include capital gains as income?

If your answer is yes, good luck getting that passed in Congress.

If your answer is no, thanks for blowing Steve Schwartzman and the rest of Wall Street.
 
2014-04-15 05:03:07 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Anyone favoring a flat tax should also know that it will essentially be a 25% federal sales tax.

Who here wants a 25% federal sales tax?


A lot of countries have VAT and manage to do fine. I doubt that's what the flat tax people have in mind though.
 
2014-04-15 05:08:13 PM  
also 95% of americans don't actually know what a flat tax is
 
2014-04-15 05:13:09 PM  
so? more than half of americans think the biblical version of creation is true.
 
2014-04-15 05:16:01 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Anyone favoring a flat tax should also know that it will essentially be a 25% federal sales tax.

Who here wants a 25% federal sales tax?


That's less than what I pay now... sounds good!
 
2014-04-15 05:18:31 PM  

Rincewind53: Polls are weighted are inaccurate, that's pretty must just how polling works.

 
2014-04-15 05:20:37 PM  
Please, 157.32% of Americans don't understand percentages. I doubt they can grasp the effect of a flat tax.
 
2014-04-15 05:20:53 PM  

Lando Lincoln: 62% of Americans probably think that if you move into a higher tax bracket all of your income will be taxed at that higher tax bracket.

There's a lot of reasons why Americans are so goddamn dumb, but I think the number one reason is because we're not forced to be smarter.


Yep.  I remember after Obama's inauguration articles written by allegedly wise pundits about all the people they knew who were going to make sure they made only $249,999 so as to not lose money under the socialist.

People's ideas about taxes do not match up to the reality of taxes, asnd they sure as shiat won't match up once they figure out what a flat tax will do.
 
2014-04-15 05:21:00 PM  
People aren't going to get off the flat tax stupidity until they enact the darned thing.

I'm fine with simplifying the tax code and getting rid of deductions and such but having everyone pay the same % would not be a good thing for the lower and middle classes.
 
2014-04-15 05:21:38 PM  
Oh, and you absolutely HAVE to include capital gains as income.
 
2014-04-15 05:25:31 PM  
I have an idea for a flat tax.

Anyone less than $100,000 a year pays NO TAXES.

0.0 is pretty damn flat. We'll increase the burden on the upper crust and capital gains to fix it.
 
2014-04-15 05:30:47 PM  

themindiswatching: Marcus Aurelius: Anyone favoring a flat tax should also know that it will essentially be a 25% federal sales tax.

Who here wants a 25% federal sales tax?

A lot of countries have VAT and manage to do fine. I doubt that's what the flat tax people have in mind though.


There are differences between a flat tax, a VAT, and the proposed National Sales Tax. I am not a fan of any of them, but the idea is to replace both the Income Tax and the Payroll Tax (Social Security) with a National Sales Tax. We probably do way too much social and industry manipulation with the Income Tax for it to ever get serious consideration. I tend to lean toward flat marginal rate tiers, with the lowest marginal rate being 1%, just to give people "skin in the game."

I have no idea what the tiers should be to make a system work (are quintiles big enough?) but I recall reading research that if a tax system is perceived as "fair," tax evasion tends to go down.
 
2014-04-15 05:31:23 PM  
Flat tax is stupid - the burden always hits lower income earners than higher income earners.

Apparently people have never taken an economics course and learned about the marginal value of a dollar.
 
2014-04-15 05:31:23 PM  
Basic math: if the US spends twice what it takes in you'll need to double taxes to break even.

What I want is the opportunity to pay a fraction of my tax bracket rate just like the rich guys.
 
2014-04-15 05:31:23 PM  

doglover: I have an idea for a flat tax.

Anyone less than $100,000 a year pays NO TAXES.

0.0 is pretty damn flat. We'll increase the burden on the upper crust and capital gains to fix it.


I would go for that.
 
2014-04-15 05:34:06 PM  
This really is not the best day to ask me my opinion on this subject.
 
jbc [TotalFark]
2014-04-15 05:36:43 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Anyone favoring a flat tax should also know that it will essentially be a 25% federal sales tax.

Who here wants a 25% federal sales tax?


It's going to be a lot more than 25%
 
2014-04-15 05:37:42 PM  
The flat tax is a good start, but it has some serious problems. Most significant of those is the fact that it's upwardly regressive. For example, let's assume a flat tax of 20 percent, just to make calculations simple (obviously 20 percent would represent a ridiculously high tax rate in any but the most liberally progressive system, but since that's close to what we're living in now it makes sense to use that as a realistic starting point). Now, assume three people at radically different income levels. Person A is "poor," in the classic sense (ie, eligible for welfare); Person B is middle class, assuming a pre-Obama administration (i.e. pre-Recession) definition; and Person C is moderately wealthy. Their annual incomes are as follows:

Person A: $30,000
Person B: $200,000
Person C: $4,000,000

Now, apply the 20 percent tax rate. Here's what each person pays in taxes per year:

Person A: $6,000
Person B: $40,000
Person C: $800,000

Do you see that? Person C is actually paying more than 133 times what Person A pays per year. ONE HUNDRED THIRTY THREE TIMES. One. Hundred. Thirty. Three. Think about that for a moment. Are we seriously saying that Person C should be 133 times more liable, tax-wise, in a system that's supposedly "flat"? It's absurd to even suggest that. And before the knee-jerk liberals start wailing and gnashing their teeth, no, I'm not suggesting that a rich person should pay the same as a poor person, or even a middle class person. That would be equally absurd. But, still.

One hundred thirty-three times.

So consider that perhaps a true flat tax system needs some redistributive properties associated with it, just to reflect the realities of how much more money it requires from those who, through no fault of their own, begin with more money. Let's use that 133 percent as a foundation for a multiplier that we can apply to all three groups to make their flat amount more truly and equitably flat...not "flat," in other words, but "FLAT." To reflect the enormous discrepancy between the effective tax rates, Persons A and B get a positive multiplier based on their tax rate, and Person C gets a negative multiplier based on income. So, observe:

Person A: 6,000 X .133 = 798.  Add 798 to 6000 for a $6,798 total tax liability.
Person B: 40,000 X .133 = 5,320. Add that together and you have $45,320 total liability.
Person C: 4,000,000 X .133 = 532,000. Subtract that from the previous tax rate of 800,000, and you have a new tax rate of $268,000

Now, is this system completely equitable? No, of course not. Person C and person A are still separated by almost 40 times a total tax rate. But, as mentioned above, nobody can really argue that the more affluent shouldn't pay at least slightly more in total revenues. It's really about "flattening" the dollar amounts to remove this wrong-headed notion that some citizens should be more responsible for footing government's bills than others. We could, of course, spend hours debating the actual multiplier number...admittedly, 133 is arbitrary; it could possible be lower but would more likely, in fact, be higher since it would obviously need to be based on the top income for which taxes are paid that year. The number would likely have to change on an annual basis as more wealth is created). But overall, I think we can all agree that this system is, at its heart, better than what we have now. It's equitable, it's fair, and in the end, it's Flat.
 
2014-04-15 05:40:17 PM  
The Reason-Rupe April 2014 Poll interviewed 1,003 adults on both mobile (503) and landline (500) phones

Half their respondents were on landlines.


Marcus Aurelius: Anyone favoring a flat tax should also know that it will essentially be a 25% federal sales tax.

Who here wants a 25% federal sales tax?


The followup question asked them how much it should be.

19. If a flat tax were implemented, what percentage of income, from zero to 100, do you think Americans should pay in federal taxes? (ASKED OF THOSE WHO FAVOR FLAT TAX)

• MEAN................................................... 18%

• MEDIAN................................................ 15%
 
2014-04-15 05:43:34 PM  

Pocket Ninja: Do you see that? Person C is actually paying more than 133 times what Person A pays per year. ONE HUNDRED THIRTY THREE TIMES. One. Hundred. Thirty. Three.


It's been awhile since I saw one as fine as this.  Good work.
 
2014-04-15 05:47:47 PM  
Rich people will find a way to not pay taxes no matter what kind of reform is enacted. Whether it's hiring accountants to find loop holes, parking their money overseas or in the case of the really rich, getting all their income from capital gains, which is hardly taxed at all. And then they turn around and whine that the welfare queens are bleeding them dry.
 
2014-04-15 05:50:25 PM  
America: The greatest Muliti-Level Marketing scam

/I just KNOW I'm gonna get one of them pink Cadillacs. I just KNOW it.
 
2014-04-15 05:51:12 PM  
I remember talking to someone about flat tax when Steve Forbes was championing it during his run for President.

He said, "I'm all in favor of a flat tax, makes it predictable and means we can lay off a ton of IRS people."

I said, "they want to make it 14%."

He said, "Oh fark NO!".
 
2014-04-15 05:51:26 PM  
Sorry, but anyone who really advocates a flat tax as a legitimate solution doesn't understand taxes, or their practical effects, at all.
 
2014-04-15 05:59:16 PM  

haemaker: I remember talking to someone about flat tax when Steve Forbes was championing it during his run for President.

He said, "I'm all in favor of a flat tax, makes it predictable and means we can lay off a ton of IRS people."

I said, "they want to make it 14%."

He said, "Oh fark NO!".


And to be revenue neutral, it would have to be about 3x higher than that.  Nobody is going to vote for a 42% flat tax.
 
2014-04-15 06:02:16 PM  

BSABSVR: Nobody is going to vote for a 42% flat tax.


Douglas Adams fans might.
 
2014-04-15 06:17:22 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: doglover: I have an idea for a flat tax.

Anyone less than $100,000 a year pays NO TAXES.

0.0 is pretty damn flat. We'll increase the burden on the upper crust and capital gains to fix it.

I would go for that.


Still that is a progressive tax.
 
2014-04-15 06:18:33 PM  

Grand_Moff_Joseph: Sorry, but anyone who really advocates a flat tax as a legitimate solution doesn't understand taxes, or their practical effects, at all.


Perhaps someone could explain it to us using some sort of analogy. Possibly agricultural in nature, maybe even using the seeds of large tropical palms to help enlighten us.
 
2014-04-15 06:21:34 PM  

doglover: I have an idea for a flat tax.

Anyone less than $100,000 a year pays NO TAXES.

0.0 is pretty damn flat. We'll increase the burden on the upper crust and capital gains to fix it.


You sound poor
 
2014-04-15 06:24:26 PM  
I'd settle for lower effective rates and the banishment of exemptions.  It should not take a billion dollar industry to file taxes each year.
 
2014-04-15 06:26:29 PM  
img2.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2014-04-15 06:26:55 PM  

slayer199: The tax code is ridiculous and needs to be simplified...but I don't think a flat tax is the answer.


A flat tax will more heavily burden those with the least resources.
 
2014-04-15 06:28:48 PM  

JimmyTheHutt: A flat tax will more heavily burden those with the least resources.


See, the concept of marginal utility which the flat tax pretty well ignores.
 
2014-04-15 06:33:09 PM  

JimmyTheHutt: slayer199: The tax code is ridiculous and needs to be simplified...but I don't think a flat tax is the answer.

A flat tax will more heavily burden those with the least resources.


So be it
encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com
 
2014-04-15 06:34:42 PM  

Jackson Herring: also 95% of americans don't actually know what a flat tax is


yeah, they probably should have asked that question first.

then after the "ohhh, (nod) o.k." go into the survey.
 
2014-04-15 06:38:20 PM  
And what percentage of those who favor a "flat tax" could explain how a flat tax would shift the tax burden?  Shoot, what percentage of those even knew roughly what they paid in Federal Income Tax for this tax year, and what percentage of their income it was?
 
2014-04-15 06:38:54 PM  

Pocket Ninja: The flat tax is a good start, but it has some serious problems. Most significant of those is the fact that it's upwardly regressive. For example, let's assume a flat tax of 20 percent, just to make calculations simple (obviously 20 percent would represent a ridiculously high tax rate in any but the most liberally progressive system, but since that's close to what we're living in now it makes sense to use that as a realistic starting point). Now, assume three people at radically different income levels. Person A is "poor," in the classic sense (ie, eligible for welfare); Person B is middle class, assuming a pre-Obama administration (i.e. pre-Recession) definition; and Person C is moderately wealthy. Their annual incomes are as follows:

Person A: $30,000
Person B: $200,000
Person C: $4,000,000

Now, apply the 20 percent tax rate. Here's what each person pays in taxes per year:

Person A: $6,000
Person B: $40,000
Person C: $800,000

Do you see that? Person C is actually paying more than 133 times what Person A pays per year. ONE HUNDRED THIRTY THREE TIMES. 

One hundred thirty-three times.


And they have 133 times the income. So, yep, they pay 133 times the tax.

Fair is fair. You make more, you pay more.
/Doesn't matter, never gonna happen.
 
2014-04-15 06:39:12 PM  
I had a friend for the flat tax. I told him how the rate would need to be 23%-27% and he replied no he wanted it at "15%". When I explained to him how that was impossible he told me he didn't care that it was just the job of politicians to make it happen.

*face palm*
 
2014-04-15 06:39:55 PM  
www.smidgeindustriesltd.com
 
2014-04-15 06:41:09 PM  
There are a lot of valid reasons to prefer cats.
 
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