If you’re reading this the day it’s published it means this is the due date for extensions for partnerships and corporations. If you work in a tax office and things are quiet you might want to consider another job. (This is an inside joke directed at a former employee who struck out on her own. If you need bookkeeping in Vegas I know a qualified person to handle that. Seriously.)
I thought today would be the perfect day for me to announce my candidacy for president with a few tax policies I’ll sign into law via executive order if elected. Some of you might be darn excited about this unwelcome event as you think I’m a Democrat. Other might be excited because they think I’m a Republican. The truth is I’m neither. I prefer to waffle between both side of the aisle or as the police call it: walking in a drunken stupor.
As much fun as I’m going to have writing this, I am also dead serious. What follows are tax policies I would like to see instituted. Some things will sound very liberal and some things will sound downright conservative. Basically, I should tick off just about everyone in the room with something.
Welcome to politics.
Before we start I want to point out some things I plan as president are not completely tax related. For example, I will deal with the minimum wage, but connect it to tax policy. The same with welfare of every kind. Along the way I’ll fix the health care issues of the United States by default and solve trade issues and immigration policy in a way everyone will love until I’m elected. Then a third will love me and two-thirds will hate me until we approach the next election. Then the population polarizes and it ends up a dead heat until I’m assassinated re-elected.
Tax policy controls everything. Al Capone gets away with murder until they called in the Treasury Department. (It worked!) Welfare once required a trip to Social Services. Now it’s handled at the tax preparer’s office. Corporate welfare is even worse.
Trade disputes sometimes result in tariffs, an excellent way to tax your own people while convincing them it punishes the other country. (Don’t underestimate the ignorance of voters.) Once again important issues of national importance end up in a tax bill.
So, let’s get down to business. I’m confident I’ll win your vote.
Simple and Basic
With the exception of my own profession, everyone should love the basic framework of my tax plan. Republicans lowered tax rates to the lowest level since taxes were collected in this country. And I think they’re still too high!
For individuals and families: I propose to raise the standard deduction to $100,000 for joint returns; $75,000 for head of household returns; and $50,000 for single taxpayers. That means a married couple filing jointly can enjoy their first $100,000 of income tax free! (I know! It makes me giddy too.) Exemptions were eliminated with H.R. 1 and I don’t want to rock the boat so all you guys get is a huge standard deduction. In fact, itemizing is gone! If a hundred grand tax-free isn’t enough to stay solvent there isn’t a thing any politician can do to help you.
As for tax brackets, people like the idea of a flat tax. I propose two brackets so my peers at least have an outside chance of staying in business: 20% and 50%. After the standard deduction, the next $400,000 is taxed at a flat 20%. All income above this level is nailed at a 50% rate with nary a deduction available to reduce the tax.
I hear the howls of protest, my tax obsessed readers. You think President Accountant will bankrupt the nation with such a plan. Au contraire. To pay for this simple tax plan all the welfare tax credits are nixed. The Earned Income Credit: gone. The Child Tax Credit: gone. Savers Credit: nope. Education credits: huh? No, no, and no. No more handouts on the tax return. Let’s turn the tax office back into a tax office and not an unpaid extension of the welfare department of the government.
Also, all income is taxed at the same rate. No more special rate for qualified dividends or long-term capital gains.
Poor people need not complain. The Earned Income Credit was designed to compensate low income workers with a kickback of their FICA taxes. In my tax plan every worker gets the first $20,000 FICA tax free. If you work you get an instant EIC on your paycheck.
HOWEVER. . .
Social Security taxes now are like the Medicare portion of FICA: paid all the way to the sky. And FICA applies to ALL income: dividends, interest, capital gains (long- and short-term) and more. A sports star gets a $20 million bonus. Good for everybody! A CEO of a public company enjoys a windfall of stock options? Good for everybody. The Social Security and Medicare financial problems are solved.
If you think about it (I have) the reduction in tax credits more than offsets the massive standard deduction increase. We may have to institute another round of tax cuts or risk paying off the national debt.
I see fear in the eyes of business owners. Don’t worry. I thought about you guys, too.
This crazy new tax deduction for qualified business income is insane. All it does is increase complexity in the tax code, lining the pockets of tax professionals and attorneys practicing in tax law. In my plan the QBI is gone.
Don’t shoot! I propose a better solution. Businesses will enjoy their own standard deduction of $1 million. That’s right, my Republican friends, every small business owners will enjoy their first million tax-free on top of their generous standard deduction.
Big business is sweating right now, worried I’ll fill the Treasury at their expense. No way! As a gift for funding my political campaign you get the same $1 million standard deduction, plus a flat tax rate of 15%. You heard that right. The Republican plan of 21% is still waaaaay too high to compete internationally. We will start at 15% and reduce the rate 1% per year until it hits 12%.
Oh, don’t be sad, my liberal friends. To pay for this tax cut we will cut corporate welfare the way we did for individuals. If you think welfare to people is costing taxpayers, you haven’t added up how many handouts are lining the pockets of super-rich corporate executives. Those handouts will be eliminated completely.
To prevent small businesses and the big guys from gaming the system, all businesses controlled by a group only get one $1 million dollar business standard deduction only. In other words, you only get one million dollar deduction per investor. (And you guys thought I didn’t give this adequate thought.)
The U.S. is one of only a few remaining nations taxing on a worldwide system. My plan brings us in line with the world by switching to a territorial tax system, where only profits from inside the U.S. are taxed. The tax rate for profits outside the U.S. is 0%, giving a major competitive advantage to American companies operating abroad, something they have to dance around now to compete with other nations. That alone could resolve half the trade deficit.
Americans working abroad would not be taxed unless they earned the money in the U.S. The Foreign Income Exclusion would be obsolete with President Accountant.
To prevent games, corporations could not shift profits outside the country. Strong measures will be in place to avoid such a practice with a 10,000% penalty for offenders. (You’re getting an awesome deal. Don’t get greedy!)
Foreign companies that want to sell in the U.S. would also pay U.S. taxes for their profits earned in the U.S. (Where ya gonna get a fairer deal than that?)
This is just plain stupid. Tariffs are a tax on your own people! I would open the door to trade with all tariffs eliminated. If other countries don’t follow suit, fine. They can tax their own people more. All the better for our economy.
The U.S. and its businesses whine endlessly about free markets. Well, trade wars and tariffs are the exact opposite. Compete or go broke. Under President Accountant we will allow markets to decide the winners and losers.
The one issue we have a right to complain about is the theft of intellectual property. (I’m pointing at you, China.) Our current president has a point on trade issues with China and a few other countries. Policies that strip intellectual property from U.S businesses will be dealt with harshly. If it is determined (China is the worst offender here) that theft has taken place, the government of the country where the offending company resides must compensate for losses and prevent such theft. If the government of said country can’t regulate their own people that country is barred from selling any goods or services in the U.S. until they govern responsibly. No more stealing our stuff and using it to sell against our own hard-working business owners.
The details are more than I can publish right now, but trust me. It’ll be great! The best trade plan this country has ever seen.
It is repugnant that the wealthiest nation on the planet can’t provide basic medical care for all its people when other nations do just that. Therefore, I will sign an executive order my first day in office expanding Medicare to cover all U.S. citizens from Day 1 to Day End. No more Medical Premium mandate needed. If you want more than basic coverage; buy additional coverage. There is no additional deduction and businesses are not allowed to provide more health coverage to employees. Businesses are out of the health care business from now on (unless they are a medical business).
To pay for this basic benefit the Medicare portion of FICA will be increased 2%; half paid by the employee and half by the employer. All income, including dividends, capital gains and interest, will pay the additional FICA tax. And remember the FICA exemption above. Nobody gets hurt.
I hear my conservative friends complaining already. “We need to keep government out of our conversations with out doctor,” you say. I agree. Let’s keep your employer out of it, too. I for one am sick to death of telling my employees what kind of medical care they can get. Unless I’m a doctor or hospital, I’m out of the health care business and devoting all my time to my business, which is what I’m good at and the reason I started my business.
Is that grumbling I hear at the back of the room? No worries, my liberal friends. Under President Accountant the minimum wage will be abolished! You heard me right. Now holster your weapons.
The reason I’ll eliminate the minimum wage is because if we have a minimum wage to increase the number of jobs, then it stands to reason we must have a maximum wage to create more jobs. Don’t hear that argument too often, do you?
Eliminating the minimum wage will not put you at risk. Your favorite president will guarantee you see $15 per hour minimum on your paycheck each and every week. Rather than force companies to pay a minimum wage, there is a special tax for every hour any employee earn less than $15 an hour. That special tax is 20 times the amount your employee paid under $15 per hour.
I bet there will be no companies paying less the $15 an hour right quick.
Yes, businesses will be encouraged to automate with higher wages. But when has increased productivity been bad for a society? You get more for less. And with the new standard deduction and Medicare-for-all programs you will have a secure safety net.
There will be slightly fewer jobs, but they will pay better. Do I have your vote yet?
There is a lot to love by both sides of the aisle with my plans. Unless you are a tax professional you probably like my proposals.
It is unlikely I’ll actually be elected. Rumor has it a stark-raving mad crowd of accountants are approaching the Accountant farm as I write. With such a simple tax code with no loopholes, tax professionals are out of business. But then again, what did we produce? We manipulated a system created by man with no logical connection to reality. Very unproductive.
Was that gunfire?
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Tuesday 8th of January 2019
Great post! My plan would be: 1) No income tax on first $100k of all income; 25% through $1,000,000; 50% through $10,000,000; and 75% for anything over. Anyone making over $10 million is benefiting from some type of monopoly protection....govt needs to correct via high tax rate. 2) Repeal FICA and Corporate Tax. Treat businesses like REITS. Require 90% of profits to be distributed as dividends. Shareholders will pay income taxes on dividends.
Let me know what you think.
Thursday 20th of September 2018
Your plan, along with a concomitant reduction in military spending to $250 billion a year (just mind our own borders), plus no wall spending, should greatly strengthen the US because we will have close to a balanced budget, and in time, we will be running a surplus.
The Money Commando
Wednesday 19th of September 2018
I’m curious - have you done any “back of the envelope math” to determine how tax revenue would be affected by this proposal?
Wednesday 19th of September 2018
Very light back of the envelope, Commando. I would have to make certain assumptions to keep the tax plan revenue neutral. What I do know is that over 75% of individuals would not have to file anymore and many large corporations would pay more because they pay almost nothing now. My calculations are about as accurate as those of Congress so I should be fine. The FICA exemption is most problematic.
Tuesday 18th of September 2018
When you start selling campaign shirts and bumper stickers with the slogan "end corporate welfare," I'll be the first to buy one of each. And I'll order extras for Christmas. I'm an accountant and I agree wholeheartedly with just about everything in this post. Get employers out of the health care. Give small businesses a chance. Put us number-crunchers out of business so we can find something else to do. Like organizing our sock drawers by color. Bookkeeping. Helping businesses make money. That sort of thing. ;-)
Wednesday 19th of September 2018
Thanks for the new business idea, Jenn! I will seriously consider a short run of t-shirts.
Tuesday 18th of September 2018
Without a guarantee that governmental watchdogs will actually start doing their job there's no way I'd vote for a guy whos plan is to tax the companies who pay less then $15 an hour. Reason being is that if there's a will there's a way, and the companies will find a way to hurt their remaining employees even further if you force companies to pay them.