This is the inaugural posting for a new blog about U.S. federal income and payroll taxes. My focus is on ordinary Americans, people who work for a salary or run their own small business and don't have millions to invest on Wall Street. The blog will discuss how our tax system works, who pays and who doesn't pay taxes, and some of the ways that people who benefit from particular tax cuts or tax subsidies distort the information about those cuts or subsidies to get the support of ordinary Americans. It will look at the way corporate tax provisions benefit particular industries or large corporations to the detriment of ordinary Americans. It will debunk the myths and misinformation used to get ordinary Americans to support tax policies tailor-made to provide special benefits for the super-rich and to ensure that the super-rich stay that way.
We Americans, like all other humans, are social creatures. We live together in communities and are bound to total strangers by both shared values and shared risks. We pay taxes to support a system that will ultimately benefit us, our children, our neighbors and, yes, even those strangers on the other side of town or the other side of the continent. We do so because our shared community cannot exist without resources--to pave the streets, pay the police, support medical research that may someday save us or a loved one from one of the terrible diseases of the twenty-first century, provide a chance for artists and musicians to flourish, and give at least temporary support for those who have lost their homes to a tragedy or lost their jobs to outsourcing. We know there will always be some programs we may not approve of, and some expenditures that could be handled more efficiently in another way, but we understand that consensus government of a diverse population requires some mutual trust and mutual give and take. Let's hope that this discussion can grow, so that we do not find ourselves burdened in the future with a tax system funded entirely off the backs of those who work, while the leisure class that lives mainly on inherited wealth and capital investments reaps the lion's share of the benefits of a free America without carrying a fair tax burden.
If our government is honest with us, we are willing, even eager, to pay our fair share of the tax burden to support it. When our government is dishonest with us, or hides the true goal of governmental provisions behind meaningless platitudes or false promises or untrue distortions, we worry whether the overall system is truly fair. This blog hopes to address that worry by engendering open and fair discussions about the reasons for, and effects of, proposed changes to our tax system and the structure of the tax system put in place by the massive changes of the last four years.
Your comments are welcome, though I retain the right to edit or delete them if they are inappropriate, as judged in my sole discretion.