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Ian, THanks for your reply. However, your idea of taxing for "social programs" through the income tax, while seemingly simple, is aggravatingly impossible to implement in practice. A better idea is a flat tax, at 1-3% with a for everyone up to a certain income, say 20K and indexed for inflation, then 10-15% of income for the rest. I would treat all money received as income, and if the tax rate is low enough, no one will complain about the payment for estate taxes, capital gaains,etc. I would also tax the transfers from trust funds to beneficiaries. The Kennedys, Fords, and Rockefellers have escaped for too long. And I would make everyone write a check to the government four times a year so they see real money going to WAshington, not the funny money we now call withholding.

You and others will complain that we shouldn't tax the poorest, The problem with not doing so, is that like any other economic benefit, zero cost creates infinite demand. Everyone should pay something (I don't mind paying more if I have more) so they all have a stake in the decisions that is not just what they get but what it costs them, because everyone benefits from government. Moreover, requiring people to pay taxes creates a sense of owenership and dignity that doesn't exist with the welfare handouts we now so generously characterize as earned income tax credits.

The thing to remember is that we have tried all of the tired ideas that GOre and his followers have urged on us for 75 years, and they have gotten us into this mess. Time for some new ideas, and to learn from history instead of repeating it.
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