In response to this, our government under President Obama has taken bold measures. We have increased deficit spending, giving out Trillions of dollars to the banks which helped caused the reckless gambling economic meltdown. We have virtually nationalized our automobile industry, helping to ensure they will never again be competitive, or even solvent without government subsidization. We have stepped up efforts to tax industries and business owners, to accelerate the destruction of harmful and polluting employment. The administration is pushing to nationalize our health care industry, to ensure that the cost rises to match the level of frustration people have getting effective insured medical care. Next year the administration will push plans to impose enormous crippling new energy taxes, to insure our industry will never be able to recover. The Obamanation hopes publicly, without logical basis, that one or more of these bold initiatives will magically restart our economy, while privately delighting in the opportunity this crisis have given them to push the Socialist agenda more than any other period in nearly the last century.
At this point, you might be asking yourself: why is the government doing everything they can to make the problems worse? Well, the answer is two-fold: first, the government generally makes problems worse when they act, regardless of their nominal intentions, and second, in this case the Obamanation is not trying to fix the problems, they are trying to use the problems as an excuse to instigate a Socialist government, and in that respect they are succeeding. More depressingly, even if the citizens manage to defeat this brazen attempt at a government takeover, there's nothing to prevent the next attempt (promised already in the form of Tax and Cap), or subsequent attempts. What we, the people, really need is something which goes to the heart of the problem, and seeks to cripple the government's ability to do damage like this not just now, but in the future as well.
One of the big, underlying problems which is a common thread in the recent actions of the Obamanation is the relentless expansion of government, and aggressive pursuit of social manipulation through monetary, and primarily tax, policy. Now, most people (from all political ideologies) don't have a problem with the government spending money to "help" the people in general; the primary source of disagreement stems from how much money to spend, and on what things. When the income tax was instantiated in the US, the purpose was to fund a war effort, and the enormous burden placed upon the taxpayers was a staggering 2% of income. With the nature of politicians, this naturally grew from there, reaching nominal rates above 90% in some cases. This carte blanche to expand and manipulate the tax base gives license to the government to pursue spending and wealth redistribution programs of various forms, with no obvious check or limit, and it's getting worse. This is the problem which I would propose to solve, as a stepping stone to addressing many of the other problems.
Now, many people would argue (myself included) that the only legitimate purpose for taxation is to fund the government's operations. This obviously conflicts with the current usage of taxation, which is as much about dictating and manipulating social policy as funding operations. Moreover, the operation themselves are often social policy based, rather than what could be considered legitimate fundamental government operations. My proposal does not address this problem, however it would, I think, provide some incentive for people to fix this problem, and a platform for the people to exert leverage against problems like this in the future.
I would propose a Constitutional amendment to limit the total amount of taxation each individual in the US is subject to, per year, based on income. To wit:
The government shall not, though all direct taxation, collect more than 25% of any person's income per tax period.
Furthermore, the government shall not collect more than 20% of any person's income during a tax period without declaring a state of fiscal emergency at the beginning of the tax period, and stating the maximum percentage of income which it will collect during that tax period (not to exceed 25%).
What this would do, and not do:
Obviously, this would impose an upper bound on income collected by the government through direct taxation (income, property, other). It does not limit indirect taxation (sales, tariffs, etc.), so the tax rates could, and probably would, still be ridiculous. It also, notably, does not dictate that the tax rates need be uniform, or the collection not have favored activities (eg: deductions), or that the money need be used only to fund essential government operations; all of these are noble goals, but all are beyond the scope of what I think is essential to have in our Constitution, at least at this point.
What the first part does is impose a hard limit on the government's ability to drain money from its people, which would necessarily impose a limit on the expansion of government, and wealth-redistribution programs. This ignores devaluation of the currency, of course, which is an ongoing problem I hope the government will eventually solve, but is beyond the scope of this effort. Is would be, however, a good first step, and would be sure to cause some consternation in the halls of special-interest payouts and corrupt favor mongering.
The second part forces the government to acknowledge, publicly, that they are doing a bad job, fiscally-speaking. While I don't think that will dissuade anyone or cause any immediate change, it does set the stage for further initiatives, which could be tied to the state declaration. For example, you could limit the scope of additional spending while in that state, or not pay the members of Congress, or limit terms to one while the government is in that state; all of these would just serve to re-enforce the concept that it's "bad". Note that I would prefer a number more like 10% as the "soft-limit", but I realize that with the current state of our enormous government services set, that's unrealistic. This, however, would be a good start.
BTW, I need to acknowledge that this post was somewhat inspired by Penn & Teller's BS episode about taxes, which is highly recommended. There might be a followup later about the other excellent point they raised: the complexity of laws, tax code included, serves the interest of the police state, and true freedom means eliminating all the ways you ambiguously "might" be guilty of something from the laws; but that's for another time.
Anyway, thanks for reading; feel free to add your thoughts. I have no idea how anyone could/would go about starting a process to get a change like this done, and I certainly don't have enough time/effort to do so, but in the spirit of making a more perfect union, this is something I would do.