Editor’s note: As you probably noticed, The Daily Signal has made tax reform a focus of our coverage and commentary. Here is some of what you’ve had to say on the topic in recent weeks. Be sure to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Rachel del Guidice’s story about the family of ranchers in North Dakota, I am a land surveyor and I get involved in forced sales because they need a survey to transfer property (“Tax Reform a ‘Big Deal’ to Mom Who Wants to Keep Ranch in the Family”).
I watched a farmer lose the farm he spent his childhood helping his parents build. They had over 400 acres, and when the government was finished they had 125 acres. The government set the value at $16,000 per acre because much of the surrounding land was sold as 5-acre tracts, never considering the capital investments to develop that 5-acre lot. When they sold, the land brought only $3,000 per acre, it’s proper value.
Talk about chasing your tail. And the attorneys told them it would cost just as much to fight the government in court. Hard to compete when the opposition sets all the rules and declares all the values. The government is not about doing the right thing; it is about gaining revenues so politicians can buy votes to stay in office and send along that criminal enterprise share to the elites. They will use whatever means possible.
You either pay the government or you pay that attorney friend of the government. All that matters is that they claim enough that they get their share. Washington has become a criminal enterprise. Extortion is their game, a game that includes being poverty pimps and accounting thugs.—Robert Joseph Shannon
If we were to return to a constitutional taxation system and forcing a runaway federal government to live within its means, we wouldn’t have this problem. A “progressive” income tax is one of the 10 planks of the communist manifesto.—Richard Ely
I’m a tax CPA. I can come up with ideas to satisfy most concerns. As a staunch conservative, and one who recently paid out some estate (death) tax, I am actually not for elimination of it, as charity is a huge benefactor in estate planning.—Jim Fisher
— Rob Bluey (@RobertBluey) September 20, 2017
This is a simple proposition: The estate/death tax amounts to double taxation. Anyone think that having to pay double taxes up front is fair or appropriate (aside from our communist/socialist/leftist comrades)? Of course not. The capital gains tax punishes everyone, and is again another form of double taxation.
Taxes to federal, state, and local entities should be based on a once-a-year assessment of income, without all the loopholes, etc. The government should downsize and live within its means (tax revenue) and eschew any further loans.—Derek Dubasik
Could someone please tell me why the government taxes an individual when he or she dies? Isn’t this a double tax on the property the individual had? Don’t people pay taxes on the income they make each year? How about the equipment they buy during that year? The land that is bought, is it not taxed each year by the government?
I’m curious because when my father-in-law passed in 1987, he was a teacher at a Christian university who had written some study guides. He was not classified as being rich, he was faithful to give unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s and unto the Lord that which was the Lord’s.
He was worth $750,000. We met with his lawyer after the funeral, and he told us everything was being handled by the firm: his savings and checking accounts at the bank for personal use, his accounts for his book income. All of which he already had paid taxes on. His house, the land it sat on, his car (a 1975 Dodge), his clothes, furniture, and lawn tools were all listed to be taxed by the government again, because he died.
We received a registered letter a short time later with a check for $35,000, which we had to pay taxes on, and a list of the worth the government had placed on everything.
So it is not just the rich who are hit twice with a tax, it is every person who dies.—Paul Newnum
— Kristy (@luchadora41) September 18, 2017
Dear Daily Signal: About Rachel del Guidice’s report, “Conservatives Call for Tax Reform to ‘Put Small Businesses Back at Heart of Economy’”: You are what you say—or tweet. We could believe in tax reform for small business if the evidence was pro-small business. It’s not.
The bill passed in the House by Speaker Paul Ryan repealing the Affordable Care Act showed no tax reform for health care, no tax reform for the middle class, only tax benefits for the superrich.
So excuse us progressives if we don’t believe tax reform will enhance middle class workers in any way, aside from sabotaging affordable health care through removing the tax penalty for not enrolling in any health program, and the unwarranted shift of $800 billion from states’ Medicaid funding to fat cats who don’t need it.
Consistency isn’t Trump’s strength, but we must believe what our “lying eyes” see—not small business tax reform by Republicans.—Bill Lemoine
Laws are equal for all citizens with the exception of tax law, which punish more the ones who produce more, simply because they have more. If every citizen pays the same amount of tax, there would be no overspending, open budget, waste, poor administration of resources, socialism or communism, permanent welfare, lazy people, Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Obama, Hillary, or the Democratic Party.—Felipe Solanet
— Mark Juelich (@markjuelich) September 13, 2017
Dear Daily Signal: So, Mr. President, how many jobs are created by the middle class (“Trump: Rich Would Pay Same or More Under Tax Reform”)? Just asking. Time to ante up and fulfill all your campaign promises. Otherwise you are just another political blowhole being sucked into the swamp you pledged to drain. Don’t doubt me. Facts are stubborn things.—Jim Fuscaldo
It’s about time. Just because you live on dividends, it does not mean you’re wealthy. My dad was killed at 35; we lived on dividends from family savings. We paid the highest tax rate possible on $50-a-week income. We need a tax that treats everyone equal, as long as the source is legal.—Elaine Whitmore Cary
“The wealthy” is too vague a term for me to get my head around. Wealth is so relative. Living in the Northeast earning over $250,000 a year, you feel like you can barely keep all the plates spinning. That same figure out in central Idaho would be a fortune. No one pays $15,000 a year in local property taxes for their domicile on a few acres in central Idaho, but try owning a few acres in New Jersey and it’s a whole different thing.—Vladimir Petrovich
Ideally, there should not be an income tax on the people at all; it violates the Constitution as written. But since there is one, it should be equal across the board for everyone and businesses should all have the same tax rate. Otherwise we could consider it favoritism.—Taryl Gibson
Dear Daily Signal: Taxes have been out of control for a long time (“Tax Reform Will ‘Help Everyone,’ Small Business Owner Says”). When a citizen has to hire professionals to fill out a “simple” tax return, something is wrong.—Jann Leger
Yes, if Congress ever gets it done. Abolish the IRS, have a flat tax. No one has what it takes to make that happen, so the richest and the poorest continue to win on taxes and the middle class pays.—Diana Vanvleet
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) September 5, 2017
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Fred Lucas’ report, I agree that tax credits are a bad idea, even though the philosophy of credits was famously championed by Ronald Reagan (“Trump Says Tax Reform Could Create ‘Millions and Millions of Jobs’”).
I cannot see the IRS as being capable of handling welfare, and taxes are not the place for social engineering. It would work better to increase the personal deduction, remove all other deductions, and just charge a flat tax after that.
It is automatically progressive; you make more, you pay more. But it removes the incentive that so many high earners have for hiding income. For instance, the rental properties we own are worth more as a tax shelter than as an investment. If we pay off the loans, our income soars and we are screwed with taxes.—Bill Tanksley
Around 75 to 100 percent of the corporate tax rate is paid by workers through lower wages . The variation depends on the type of corporation, size, and so on. The personal income tax is a direct cut into American pockets, so how does lowering it not leave people with a bigger paycheck?
This would cause less favoritism through a simpler tax code and more fairness for small businesses and middle class Americans. Especially when most of the deductions, tax credits, and such are traded with a lower rate. The compliance cost and the sheer amount of evasion is already high.
Revenue neutrality is only 0.9 percent above baseline for the corporate tax cut.—Rune-André Tørresdal
Mr. President, we the people don’t wish to be disappointed by our government concerning tax reform either. We already enjoyed that surprise with Sen. John McCain concerning health care reform. If I was the president or a senator, I wouldn’t count on McCain not doing his maverick routine once again.—Cathy Ann Turner
God bless President Trump! There are far more of us with him than are not with him. The media lies, and that’s the simple truth.—Claire Montaina Larson
Didn’t Trump also state that he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it, and he was going to fix health care and no one would be without, and he was going to be too busy working to play golf? Sheep, keep on sheeping.—Chris Ori
— Deplorable KEVIN (@ACatholicKnight) August 22, 2017
Dear Daily Signal: You don’t value what you don’t pay for, is my thought in reading Rachel del Guidice’s report (“Paul Ryan Calls for Tax Reform, Letting Americans ‘Keep More of Your Own Money’”). Our tax system is the greatest teacher of irresponsibility we have. The 47 percent not paying taxes are plundering our country. The only fair outcome is to have everyone pay the same percentage of income tax.
Our socialist Congress can’t or won’t see that they are ruining America. They want their cut of the robbery more than they want to protect America.
Leaving the means of the successful in their own hands is the only intelligent way to lift the general welfare. This step of enlightenment and away from disrespect of personal property is before us.—Michael Watson
House Speaker Paul Ryan calls for tax reform? What does he think his president has been calling for? Ryan is a politically deaf RINO. Get rid of him at the midterm. Give us a flat tax, and take away that congressional power over those of us who they are supposed to be serving.—Aubrey Yancey
We don’t need tax reform. We need to dump the entire IRS code. We don’t need an income tax. A consumption, or sales, tax is what is needed. I would much rather pay taxes on what I spend than what I earn.
HR 25 and SB 19 (the fair tax legislation in Congress) would rid us of the IRS and the lobbyists who have created the onerous tax code we now suffer with. It would benefit lower-income families with the prebate on the “necessities of life,” it would eliminate the corporate tax, it would eliminate the inheritance tax, it would eliminate filing taxes with the IRS.
There would no longer be 50 percent of the nation not paying their taxes. Read the plan before you criticize.—Robert Davis
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) August 5, 2017
Dear Daily Signal: Too many of our lawmakers in the House and Senate have been there way too long and think they have forever to get things done (“Conservative Leader Says Congress Must Make Good on ‘Bold’ Tax Reform”). They should have retired years ago. Term limits in Congress is the only way things will change.
Tax reform is so overdue. Don’t even consider the European or Canadian way of taxing. Get Obamacare repealed and get a basic tax reform pushed through as you know you will never get Democrats’ acceptance.—Bonnie Clarke
A flat tax is a mistake. We really should have some type of progressive tax rate that imposes higher taxes on individuals and institutions that benefit greatly from public resources. How many companies would survive without access to an educated workforce?
Wealthy and successful European nations have high sales taxes/VAT taxes, which are regressive but seem to get the job done. I think the deduction for mortgage interest payments should be eliminated completely. It disproportionately benefits the wealthy and large borrowers, and promotes excessive investment in homes by those who are able to afford it.
It will be interesting to see what the Republican majority in Congress comes up with; they did such a good job with the repeal of Obamacare. But Trump promised us “the biggest tax cut ever,” so I have no doubt that is coming very soon. I’m not sure how they will square that with reducing the deficit, but I’m sure the Republican majority will figure out that part too.—John Levin
I wouldn’t mind a flat tax of 7 percent for individuals and corporations—and this includes welfare, which is income. Only deductions would be mortgage interest (legal residence) and contributions. We also need to eliminate government waste and reduce the deficit.
Do we really need the energy and education departments? State issues, so move them to the states. Eliminate red tape. Read former Sen. Tom Coburn’s book “Back in Black.” Interesting. We need more Dr. No’s in Congress.—Tony Jenkins
Dear Daily Signal: Unless the “reform” consists of implementing a flat tax or some form of the fair tax, first proposed by the advocacy group Americans for Fair Taxation, I don’t want to hear about it (“Trump’s Treasury Secretary Says Tax Reform Will Happen Within the Year”).
Anything else is just more of the same: The government confiscating far too much of our hard-earned money to finance its ever more grandiose, ever more controlling, ever more irresponsible, delusional, and dangerous socio-political ambitions.
The fact that Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, is touting another allegedly “bipartisan” congressional effort and saying he thinks Democrats are “excited for tax reform as well” is hardly reassuring to anyone with a brain and even a modicum of historical perspective. This latest attempt at tax reform may —if it ever gets off the ground—leave us slightly less enslaved. But slaves of the state we still will be.—Dale Allen Steinke
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) July 23, 2017
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Adam Michel’s commentary, “Republicans Just Made Tax Reform More Difficult,” if our brave young soldiers waited for the perfect time to storm the hill, we would still be sitting on the beaches of Normandy. Grow a pair and move now, as we voted you the power to make bold moves.
As “Old Sarge” would say, “If you storm that hill, young men, you may get shot; but if you don’t, I certainly will shoot you.” The meaning of this story is move forward or we voters will certainly give you the ax.
We are bone-tired of your campaign double talk and excuses. We have itchy voting fingers. That isn’t thunder you hear all over America, it’s conservatives turning over every stone looking for honest conservatives to primary you cowards. To hell with you RINOs. We will find some true conservatives to take a stand if you will not.—Malcolm Harbison
As an extreme liberal, I can find little in Adam Michel’s commentary article on tax reform that I can disagree with. It certainly would be better than the current chaos the Trump administration is causing.
And no, there is nothing even socialistic about the Democrats’ agenda. Even extreme liberals like me do not even approach the classic definition of socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.—John Roberts
So there you have it. The GOP insists on playing by the rules (revenue neutral) and gets nothing done, while the Democrats move mountains with lies, fraud, bribery, extortion, and intimidation. So we will keep ratcheting left until we all are told to wear the hammer and sickle.—Anthony Alfero
Spending our hard-earned dollars was never the problem. Spending our hard-earned dollars on waste, special interests, and corruption is and was the problem. There has to be an expose on how the Senate and House govern themselves.
Exempting themselves from Obamacare is just the tip of the iceberg. Many consider themselves elitists: smarter, richer, and with more influence and control than you or I. And in many ways, they are just that. The rules and laws members of the House and Senate have passed to govern themselves are a disgrace. Reform taxes, please, but look to how any new tax laws will affect them and their cohorts.—Maureen McKenna
Congress is not about Democrats or Republicans; we have been taxed beyond human endurance to support illegal aliens, refugees, and welfare, and to make the majority of Congress richer, by taxing hardworking citizens. Enough is enough.—Charlie Pena
Casey Ryan helped compile this column.