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Taxation Without Reason

Money Pit
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

One of the rallying cries during the American Revolution was, “No taxation without representation.” If the founders thought taxation without representation was bad, they should see what taxation with representation looks like.

That is one of the reasons John Stossel wrote about “Taxation Without Reason.” Our income tax forms are due in a few weeks. He says he feels like he must hire an accountant because Congress keeps adding to the tax code. He picks just a few of the bizarre aspects of our tax policy.

“I can get a deduction for feeding feral cats but not for having a watchdog. I can deduct clarinet lessons if I get an orthodontist to say it’ll cure my overbite, but not piano lessons if a psychotherapist prescribes them for relaxation. Even though whaling is mostly banned, owning a whaling boat can get you $10,000 in deductions.”

No wonder so many Americans pay for tax assistance. We spend about $104 billion each year and waste 2 billion hours filling out tax forms. He says the tax code exists “to satisfy the whims of politicians.” Mortgage deductions invite us to buy bigger homes. Solar tax credits entice us to put panels on our roof.

We are told that tax incentives are a good thing and even encourage giving. On the contrary, Steve Forbes explains that “Americans don’t need to be bribed to give.” He reminds us that, “In the 1980s, when the top rate got cut from 70% down to 28% … charitable giving went up. When people have more, they give more.”

We need a simple tax code, but politicians want to use tax incentives to manipulate behavior and control us. During this election season, you need to ask candidates whether they plan to make it easier and simpler to pay our taxes. viewpoints new web version

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