Normally I don't touch politics on this blog, but this year seems to be the year of the political outsider, so as an outsider, I want to propose a few politically unpalatable proposals that I think would make my country better.
Of course, by the time these proposals made it through the political machine, they would be so bastardized that even I would disown them, but I'm feeling idealistic. As a voter, I want to see political candidates grapple with these underconsidered policy proposals. And as a blogger, I want to hear your thoughts!
Mincome, or a minimum income program is a wealth redistribution program. Essentially, every American will be guaranteed a minimum monthly income (say $1000 per adult and $250 per child). Anyone who falls below that level of income can receive a check from the government.
The goal of the minimum income program is to reduce poverty by providing poor people with money.
These are the pros associated with the mincome:
These are the cons associated with the mincome:
I view the mincome as a replacement for most major social benefits programs including SNAP, EBT, Section 8, TANF, SSI, Social Security and unemployment benefits.
I still see a place for Medicaid and CHIP since healthcare costs can easily eat up a mincome and cause financial distress, but nearly every other social program can go ahead and disappear.
Of course, the mincome is an imperfect program, but it is efficient. I think you might be surprised by the number of people who would support this measure. The poor, the people who want to automate poor people's jobs, small government folks, bleeding heart liberals, and maybe an economist or two.
I personally find the whole idea appealing because I hate poverty and inefficiency, and the most efficient solution to eliminating poverty is giving poor people money. It's not the best solution, but I dare anyone to find a more efficient one.
Simplify the tax code
The tax code is difficult to understand, and it wastes lots of time, money and resources. I understand the necessity of having laws associated with calculating income (such as depreciation schedules, allowable expenses, etc.), but I think we can do away with everything else.
Most deductions and credits are driven by special interest groups, and it seems silly that the tax code can be manipulated to appease special interest groups. Of course, those who itemize their deductions might be a little bit pissed off, but I would hope that a simplified tax code could lead to lower tax rates.
Everyone hates paying taxes, but we don't need to make calculating taxes such a pain in the butt.
These are the pros associated with simplifying the tax code:
These are the cons associated with simplifying the tax code:
Everyone pretends to hate special interest groups. Let's put our money where our mouths are and reform the tax code.
A Flat Income Tax paired with a Progressive Consumption Tax
To be perfectly honest, I love the idea of a flat tax. It's incredibly efficient and it doesn't reduce incentives to work. The problem with a flat tax is that the percentage required is north of 20% (assuming a modest standard deduction). Why does it have to be so high when just over half of all people pay taxes today? It's because most taxes will still come from the rich, and we need a lot of rich people's money. Sorry rich people. And sorry middle class.
Yes, with a flat tax everyone but the uber rich get screwed. Bummer.
The flat tax idea sucks until you pair it with another good idea known as the progressive consumption tax. A progressive consumption tax is a tax on spending. The more you spend in a given year, the more tax you owe. So the 50,000th dollar you spend will be taxed at a higher rate than the 49,999th dollar you spend.
These are the pros associated with this program:
These are the cons associated with this program:
I'm not sure that this program would gain broad support, but isn't it theoretically great?
What are your theoretically great, but politically impossible ideals?
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.