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Phil your preferred simple system may be the flat tax. There are others including the VAT and a graduated income tax system with zero deductions are two examples.

There are two problems from my view point with the current system.

#1 The tax system is used for political/social purposes (e.g. home mortgage tax deduction to stimulate home ownership)

#2 The rich and/or powerful will get the system altered to further their personal interests. For examples look at any bill passed by Congress - it is called Pork.

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