Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sirota and Me: Final Thoughts

Once again a good time was had by all. I would like to throw some appreciation to Blog For Democracy and Georgia For Democracy for throwing a bang up event.

Most of the evening was a recap of the book, Hostile Takeover. So instead of another summary, I highly encourage you to check out the podcast from Georgia Podcast Network.

Instead I want to talk about the flat tax.

I'm a marginal flat taxer. In reality, I think the entire tax system needs to be worked over from top to bottom. A flat tax may not be the ultimate answer but it's a step in the right direction. Which leads me to my question for David Sirota.

I stepped up, took one of the little index cards and submitted a question for the Q&A session.

My question was "would you consider a flat tax is it was across the board. Income, estate, corporate, everything".

What came out was "I'm sure you are aware in Georgia that we have a couple of flat tax guys, a couple of people ask what do you think of that". (Ahem, Catherine)

First of all, I would lay a large amount of money that I was the only "flat tax guy" in that room. Second, as the question was read I swear I could smell the tar cooking. I looked around for the feathers.

Give Sirota credit though. He admitted that progressive versus flat tax as concepts is a much tougher issue. And that is really the point for me. I am not so radical or absolute that I do not understand there are issues of practicallity with such a radical change in the structure of the tax system. However, I do believe that change is needed. In my opinion, the progressive tax system is inherently unfair. There has to be a way to level out the fairness without unduly hurting the most desperate. We should at least have that conversation. I think even Sirota would agree.

8 comments:

Amber Rhea said...

There has to be a way to level out the fairness without unduly hurting the most desperate.

I agree with you there. But I don't understand how anyone can make that statement in one breath and also say that the flat tax is something worth considering. I really just don't understand how anyone who's not a selfish multi-millionaire could think the flat tax is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I was helping to collect the questions, and I assure you that several people asked similar flat tax type questions.

griftdrift said...

I was just being a little snarky. No harm intended. ;-)

Sara said...

Well, was Jerry Brown being a selfish millionaire when he proposed a flat tax in 1992?

Anonymous said...

no harm taken. just wanted to reassure you that the integrity of the question card process was intact. ;) btw, i'm paula. didn't mean to be anonymous - just didn't feel like creating a blogger id.

griftdrift said...

Hi Paula. No problem. If I minded anon people, I wouldn't be going by a ridiculous name like griftdrift. Anyway, it was a great event. I look forward to future ones.

And on the whole flat tax thing, like I sort of hinted out. I'm not completely sold on it. I understand in reality it would be a huge tax break for the rich (maybe) and huge tax hike for the poor (maybe). The only way I think it could work is if you closed all loopholes. No deductions period. The way I see it now, with exemptions and deductions, the only people that are really paying the load are the ones in the dead middle. And the only people making money are damned accountants.

Now I eagerly await the screams of blackjakk who not only worked in the arts in the past and has patiently explained to stupid child griftdrift that donations would dry up without deduction incentives but is also an accountant.

I can almost feel the burn already.

CatherineAtlanta said...

Grift,

Frankly, I was surprised to see more than one question about the flat tax. In fact, when i got the first one, I put it aside, thinking I would skip it. But when more than one appeared I changed my mind. I'm sorry that I did not read your entire question but I thought that indicating the Georgia connection was somewhat compelling.

There were many questions that went unasked the other night - some because they were unrelated to the topics at hand, and some because they were, well, a little unclear or wacky. It's not an easy task, to sort thru the questions quickly, while keeping the discussion going.

As far as the progressive tax system being unfair - well, there are many unfairnesses in our system of economics and government. The tax system seems to be less essential for revision than, say the fact that corporations can pollute our environment, hire undocumented workers, avoid taxation by going off-shore, not provide health care to employees (nor pay them enough to provide their own health care), with few repercussions.

I'd like our society to focus first on the things that truly do hurt the most desperate of us. Then maybe we can talk more about the tax system.

Thanks for the compliments. We enjoyed our visit with Mr Sirota and the warm reception he received both Wednesday and Thursday night.

griftdrift said...

Hey Catherine. I'm a little surprised there was more than one question as well. Maybe the flat tax thing resonates a little more deeply in Georgia than we think?

Anyway, I will give you this. I agree with Sirota that too often the social contract between corporations and the communities is overlooked. It does seem at times that with free market absolutist, it is all about benefits with no responsibility.

Of course this type of thinking gets me in all kinds of trouble with my libertarian brethren.