Since announcing my Presidential walk, I’ve had a number of imaginary people inquire as to what political party I’m walking, not running, under. To be honest, I didn’t know that was a requirement. It seems like we should just elect the best person to six-year terms based on instant-runoff voting tied to a parliamentary system of proportional representation. But since there appears to be no way around it, I will be happy accede to any party’s nomination should they wish to give it to me, except for the Libertarians, because they are hopelessly disorganized.
That out of the way, I’d like to turn to my first official policy pronouncement: taxes! I mean: ugh, taxes. They have no sense of humor.
The main problem with our tax system is that it involves numbers, and only socially maladept people really like numbers. Believe me, I know—I work with numbers. If, say, we only had to calculate taxes using colored pie shapes and paid them with social media photos or eggs from our backyard chicken coops, almost no one would care, and we’d share a lot more Facebook pictures of “Bertha,” our biggest producer. Unfortunately, the government is insistent that we use precise dollar figures, which means we need to wipe out the IRS.
To do this, I propose to greatly simplify all of our taxes into something that could easily be filled out by our children, who have already passed us in intelligence despite being five years old and throwing up, like, way more than I remember. My plan would create a short online form that allows people to enter their income, filing status, a handful of deductions, and number of dependent or co-dependent children. Instantaneously, their total tax would be calculated and presented in a socially shareable, vintage-filter app called “Instaxram.” Or people could choose to be old and pick up a one-page worksheet at the library.
Having abolished all but seven IRS employees, a Scantron, and the IRS IT guy (a five-year old immigrant)—and having put tax preparers out of business and into a golf community—we would then experience years of massive economic growth that would outweigh every other terrible consequence of my plan. Let me explain the details of how the new system would work:
- You add up all your income from your job, your second job, your odd jobs, and your Craigslist sales. That includes investment income, capital gains, and income from street zither-playing (the plan is rigorously fair). In other words, if you made it, you get taxed on it. Congratulations. You live in society.
- You subtract a big personal exemption that depends on the poverty level and how many children cause you headaches. The first $11,770 of everyone’s income is exempt, or $15,900 if you live with someone else and can’t just leave your underwear on the floor whenever you feel like it. Parents of dependent children are allowed to exempt $15,000 per child and a token sympathetic $1 for every stuffed animal or action figure they constantly trip over. The token sympathetic child toy tax exemption would phase out at $100, because then you have bigger problems.
- You deduct retirement contributions, charitable or uncharitable contributions, contributions to education savings accounts (503ck401s?), and contributions to health savings accounts (“personal death panels”). The mortgage interest deduction or deductions based on subtle clues or scientific evidence would be frowned upon, and also strictly forbidden.
- Fourth—and here’s the easy part—you pay taxes on the rest. The only change here would be that the top marginal rate drops to 30%, to offset the end of most deductions, exemptions, and credits, and the taxing of investment income. That way we can bamboozle filthy rich people into paying more and poor people into thinking that their taxes are being lowered, when most people’s taxes are pretty much going to stay the same. Since some of us lose and none of us win, it would be a victory for democracy, also known as “rule of the people persons.” Basically, the politicians are the only ones gaining anything here. Which would be great for me, because I would be President.
Now, this plan has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, nor should it ever be, because I’d be afraid it would show our economy returning to the barter system, making backyard chicken coops extremely valuable. Those things eventually get disgusting, and I really don’t want to hear about Bertha’s business on Facebook. So let’s just pretend that all the numbers work out, pass some legislation, and get back to walking. Because my budget is really sore from sitting here thinking about numbers. They are relentlessly unfunny.