Tax problems? No problem. A straightforward solution is at hand. I have not worked out the details; I leave that for the nuts-and-bolts flunkies in Congress. They can weave the filigree. Basic structure is my thing.
It’s based — if you can believe it, and because it’s coming from me, of course you can — on a problem facing the YMCA several years ago.* Two items intended to complement each other suddenly crashed head on.
- Membership at each branch varied according to facilities available and (somewhat) to income levels in the neighborhood.
- Membership in the Y was transferrable. Whatever your home branch, you could use facilities at any branch.
You see the problem, right? People — well-off chintzy types — drove downtown or out to tacky suburbs where they joined low-price branches, and then worked out at high-price branches. (I don’t recall people joining at high-price branches so they could work out at the cheapies, but this is fragmentary and perhaps altogether imaginary memory.)
Anyway, here comes… the pissing and moaning. You paid top dollar for pool and weight room and indoor track, and the cheapskate bozo beside you gets the same for a third the price.
What to do? Easy. Drop universal access. You want fancy amenities, cough up fancy dues; otherwise, cough up a premium every time you go. In other words, play where you pay.
Okay, here’s how we apply that to taxes.
If you want to pay taxes at fifteen percent, you get the same service everyone else gets at fifteen percent. Hit-or-miss health care. Every-other-week garbage collection. Supercilious public servants. Decrepit schools for your kids. Pot holes. Junkies on the sidewalk out in front.
If you want to move on up — say to the East Side — pay taxes at East Side rate, which is more like fifty percent. (Back in the good old days, top rate was even higher, but we don’t want to make billionaires suffer, do we?)
Futzing and fuming over the specifics? We’ll hire bright mathematical-type persons to combine what rich people think poor people are entitled to, and what poor people think rich people are entitled to.
There it is, neatly outlined. All that’s needed is a tiny bit of tweaking.
*This back-story stuff is as I recall it. I’m not teaching organizational history. Maybe it’s garbled. Maybe it never happened, and my powerful brain made it up as justification for the insight. Deal with it.