Replace Progressive Taxes with a Flat Rate for All

By Fein, Bruce | Insight on the News, January 9, 1995 | Go to article overview

Replace Progressive Taxes with a Flat Rate for All


Fein, Bruce, Insight on the News


Rep. Dick Armey, Texas Republican and the House Majority Leader-designate for the 104th Congress, deserves applause for his proposed legislation to enhance the fairness of government concurrent with a boost to economic growth.

Styled as the Freedom and Fairness Restoration Act, the bill would target income taxes, spending and regulatory laws that penalize the most productive and enterprising members of society -- and indulge the unambitious, indolent and inert.

That skewing is not only morally wrong but also morally backward. Its persistence since the New Deal is ascribable to the politics of envy and an egalitarian ethic intolerant of genius and aristocracy of merit.

The Armey legislation would establish a flat income-tax rate of 17 percent on all income. A personal exemption of $13,100 would be authorized for a single person; $17,200 for a single head of household; and $26,200 for a married couple filing jointly. Those exemptions would be augmented by $5,300 for each dependent of the taxpayer. Thus, a married couple with two children would escape any income tax until earnings exceeded $36,800. Earnings derived from savings, such as interest or dividends, would be untaxed because the investment sums would have been taxed previously as income.

Business owners also would pay a flat tax rate on net income. The business tax base would be gross revenue less purchases of goods and services, capital equipment, structures, land and employee wages. Fringe benefits, interest and payments to business owners would be nondeductible.

A flat federal income-tax rate would be no curio. Indeed, flat taxes are more the norm than the exception in tax codes, such as sales, excise and property levies. Federal income taxes initially were flat; but progressive rates crept into the system to enable spend-thrift politicians to raise more revenues while losing a minimum number of votes. Thus, at present, the top 1 percent of all income earners pay approximately 30 percent of all federal income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers contribute a paltry 5 percent of income tax revenues.

Those disparities are morally outrageous. The highest earners deserve the greatest societal kudos. Their activities satisfy more wants of their fellow citizens than does the labor of low-income individuals. The proof is that consumers are voluntarily willing to pay more for goods and services of high-income earners.

In other words, the more an individual satisfies the demands of others, the more income; altruism and avarice converge in free-market economies. As Adam Smith cogently observed in The Wealth of Nations, an individual pursuing his own gain promotes social ends that are not part of his intention. He amplified: "I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Replace Progressive Taxes with a Flat Rate for All
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.