The Instigator
bmdrocks21
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
dukeofpanda
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Flat Tax

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/15/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 809 times Debate No: 113937
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

bmdrocks21

Pro

The United States should use a flat tax instead of a progressive tax.
dukeofpanda

Con

No, it should not
Debate Round No. 1
bmdrocks21

Pro

The first main advantage of the flat tax is its simplicity. Our current tax bill is over one thousand page[1]. In our current tax system, the sheer complexity of the tax bill allows for dozens of loopholes that can prevent the wealthy from paying their share of taxes. Instead of having hundreds of forms, the flat tax would have two to file, which would eliminate not only stress associated with filing taxes, but also no longer require the IRS and eliminate these loopholes[2]. The stress comes in the form of the average of 28 hours 30 minutes just to find out what is owed because of deductions and other complications. This loss of time leads to about a $200 billion loss in productivity annually[4]. This money is either lost from the individual or is payed to a corporation who handles it. With a flat tax, those jobs wouldn't be necessary, and the money could be used to spend on more productive economic activities than just finding out how much taxes need to be payed. The IRS is not only ineffective, but it is also very expensive to run. Since the IRS expends about 41 cents for every $100 they collect, the collection alone costs us just under $1.3 billion in tax revenue every year, not including these employee's salaries[3]. The IRS is also unproductive, as a government study showed the IRS toll-free number provided its callers with the wrong amounts to pay 25% of the time, as even the government has difficulty understanding its tax code[4]. Tax preparers have also proven ineffectual. 45 different tax calculations were received from 45 different tax preparers for the same tax return[4].
Also, as previously stated rich individuals get out of paying most of their taxes. The fact that different calculations were found 45 time proves that unfair loopholes and deductions exist. For this reason, rich individuals can afford to pay for the best tax preparers who can exploit the most portions of the tax bill. This contributes to the second point: the unfairness of the current progressive tax. The flat tax would tax people a percentage of their income and therefore, the proportions of taxes payed would be equal across all income levels. It is unfair to engage in a progressive tax because it punishes individuals for attaining higher incomes. This inherently disincentivizes individuals to produce more for the economy, as their net worth increases more slowly the more they earn. The reason we have a progressive tax is for redistribution of wealth, which incentivizes the poor to work less, since they would receive less government benefits if they earned more money, resulting in, again, a slower increase in net worth. There is no reason for a progressive tax. Those who make more money do so almost always because they produce more for the economy, and should be allowed to keep their earnings. This more fair system with no loopholes would lead to higher tax compliance. In fact, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have experienced increased economic growth since they have implemented flat taxes[5]. This is because the flat tax increases tax compliance, incentivizes entrepreneurs and investors to contribute more to the economy, and encourage foreign business investment by the simplicity of their tax code.
[1]https://thinkprogress.org...
[2]https://www.usnews.com...
[3]https://www.irs.gov...
[4]https://www.thebalance.com...
[5]https://www.investopedia.com...
dukeofpanda

Con

The amount of pages of the current tax code is not a sound argument for a flat tax. Russia's current flat tax code is over 750 pages and that doesn't even take into account explanations for all the changes and amendments to the code since it's initial completion and implementation back in 1998-2000. That's right it took over 750 pages just to draft the flat tax in Russia, a country far less complex and populated as the United States, and they still had to make changes to thing over time. A flat tax will not simplify taxes like you think it will. Furthermore, a flat tax will not eliminate tax loopholes. A change in tax systems or code will prevent corrupt businesses from influencing corrupt politicians from altering the tax code to favor themselves. Part of the reason there is so much investigation into Putin in Russia is because of his ability to accrue wealth despite the tax codes or other laws to keep him in check. All tax codes are going to be a complex mess that allows people with the proper resources to avoid taxation.

As far as the IRS and the hassle of paying taxes is concerned its a nonissue. The main reason there is a waste of time with the whole process is because tax preparation firms like H&R block have lobbied the government into making and keeping the process as complicated as it is. The government has the means to accurately prepare everyone's taxes on their declared (legal) income. The only people who should have a bit more complication in the process are those who gain large inheritances, own large business, vast amounts of property, or are trying to apply for those loopholes their buddies in the government provided for them.

Also, the idea that having to pay more in taxes would discourage people from trying to make more money is ridiculous. I know that I would personally not choose to be poor just to get out of paying taxes. People will always try to make more money despite the taxes if t means improving their quality of life. Anyone smart enough to pursue a viable and sustainable means of wealth is not going to be deterred by taxes. They may complain about taxes as they get into their nice car and drive to their nice home to eat a nice dinner but they aren't going to decide to give it up to pout in the dirt as a homeless person.

The only reason the current progressive tax code is such a mess is because the corrupt leaders keep messing it up. Those same corrupt leaders are going mess up your flat tax as well. The problem isn't the tax code its the lawmakers. What many want is a clean slate regarding the tax code. Switching to a flat tax could achieve that, but simply erasing the current code and making a new one could accomplish the same thing. In fact I believe a simple progressive tax could be drafted if the lawmakers ACTUALLY wanted to make a simple tax code free of loopholes.

The real reason why the US should not abandon the progressive tax is because it keeps the stupid people pacified. A majority of people like the idea of taxing the rich more. It gives them the feeling that justice is being served somehow that there is some kind of balance. There will never be balance; not under a flat tax and not under a progressive tax not as long as the rich continue to pull the strings. But if you remove the pacifier that is the progressive tax you are going to piss of the stupid people. And sadly they are the majority of the public. DO YOU WANT CHAOS!? There are enough disgruntled protesters and SJW's marching around. Getting rid of the progressive tax would only add gasoline to the dumpster fire going on in America right now.
Debate Round No. 2
bmdrocks21

Pro

I would like to mention that comparing Russia to America in terms of corruption is a quite flawed interpretation. Russia was the Soviet Union for nearly seventy years. This country is still suffering from the aftermath that the scourge, communism, had wrought upon them. They aren't even sure if the elections are legitimate, so of course Putin wouldn't follow the tax code in his undemocratic country. Also, if you would have checked my sources, you would have seen that filing taxes wouldn't be a problem with the flat tax, as only two forms would be necessary. Firms like H&R Block would no longer have a customer base, so they would go out of business. It is true that the government could do our taxes for us, but seeing how the IRS cannot make calculations correct 1/4 of the time, it is plain to see that having the government do our taxes for us is not the wisest course of action. A simple, citizen-filed system would be the best choice

And I don't appreciate your attempt to strawman my argument. I don't believe that people will stop working merely because of wealth redistribution. I believe that people want to make the most amount of money relative to how much work they do. Since more welfare benefits are available for those who EARN less money , it essentially kills motivation to attain money through work. Also, when people realize that they will be taxed significantly for doing something such as creating a new and innovative product, the promise of keeping much less of that money kills economic drive. Instead, people need to keep more of what they earn I do agree that there is much government corruption, but it would be much more difficult to create loopholes in a flat tax system. When we have a complicated tax codes that confuse the public, it gives MORE power to this corrupt government and its bureaucrats. Progressive taxes are much more mutable. For example, in 1988, there were two tax brackets, but by 2013, there were seven. They increasingly multiply, something that would be impossible to achieve in a flat tax.

Finally, your last point is unreasonable and just overall wrong. It is incredibly un-based to believe that tax rates have a direct impact on pacification of "stupid people" who are "the majority of the public" according to you. There is no correlation present. Also, there is no basis to your cynical view of American citizens, as you essentially described them as oafs. Fixing our tax code to a more fair and simplistic system is more likely to prevent chaos and governmental failure than having an unfair and unjust progressive tax. America will fail as a government the second we avoid passing productive legislation in order to appease leftist radicals and those who you consider "stupid". We must not adhere to the demands of the loud and violent minority, which are these SJWs. A flat tax is fair, simple, and it will save the government and citizens money. For these reasons, we must reform our tax code to abolish the progressive tax.
dukeofpanda

Con

You assume that a true democracy exists in the US? Please, the US is just as corrupt and has simply bastardized the democratic process in a way acceptable enough for the US populace not to do anything about it. Modern politics is about placating the masses, lying, deception, all in order to serve the interests of oneself and the donors aka, the ones doing the bribing. The US is no different than Russia or any country, except that the corruption used to be better hidden. As for your two form system. I read the article. And at the end it acknowledges that the reason the filing system became so complicated is because of 97 of meddling by politicians. Given time the same will happen to your flat tax. Also, I take it you have never lived and worked overseas because filing my US taxes from Korea has always required special consideration. I don't fill out W2 forms my income is also taxed by the Korean government. Your two form system isn't going to cut it for everyone, it's not as simple as you think because most people don't account for the lesser known circumstances of other citizens nor does it account for the tax laws of other countries. It's a lie that people pushing for a flat tax use to sell the idea.

Your claims that the progressive tax is killing economic drive is ridiculous. There is no proof of that. In fact the US is still leading when it comes to economic strength worldwide. The flat tax won't make it more difficult to create loop holes because the people making the law are corrupt. I mentioned Russia earlier because it shows that the flat tax is just as susceptible to corruption. Anyone who thinks the US is some sort of bastion of justice and democracy is fooling themselves. The US has legalized bribery of government officials!

How am I wrong about the idiocy of the general public and their being affected by what they will perceive as unfair. It's not just the US the world is full of oafs. Most people the world over don't really have the attention span to really figure out what is going with the government. If Americans really took an active consideration to what the government did then C-span would be the most watched network. It isn't. There a shows that interview random people on the street and demonstrate how little they know about anything. This happens in every country because people just don't care enough to figure out what's going on. This is part of the reason the media is the way it is and why sensationalism sells. The progressive tax panders to the basic feelings of the growing poor and much of the shrinking middle-class. If there's one thing people notice is that the rich are getting richer and everyone else is getting poorer and you aren't going to sell these people on a flat tax. It won't be a minority that will be angry.

The other part to this idiot people observation has to do with the two parties. Democrats and Republicans. Both are idiots. Typically it's republicans that support the flat tax and Democrats who oppose it. Partisan politics are like two religions with both sides often blindly pledging loyalty to one side. It's an idiot fight that changes nothing and this flat tax is just another example of some nonsense fight. The current progressive tax was recently "reformed" by the republicans and it's a mess full of corruption enabling loopholes that many people are upset about with many saying that it overwhelming benefits the richest in the country while placing a huge debt on the country. The Republicans did that and yet it's the Republicans that want a flat tax? How's that gonna work out? It's like hiring the thief who broke into your house to change your locks. A republican wanting his party to change the tax code his party help break is idiocy. Changing the tax code will further piss off the Democrats and when the new flat tax fails in it's promises like every promise by any politician then its gonna piss off more people too. The rich are going to take advantage of everyone else because they have the means to do so. The progressive tax gives the illusion that the government is trying to do something about it. And even if you manage to get rid of all the corrupt lawmakers in some revolution the growing poor and the disgruntled shrinking middle class people are going to want reparations, they will want justice, they are going to want the progressive tax. And the upper class is going to give it to them because they know what's what and that it will pacify them.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by bmdrocks21 3 years ago
bmdrocks21
Well, to be fair, I am also in favor of lower spending. The main role of the government is to protect citizens' rights. Major cuts would be made in welfare. The welfare wouldn't be needed, though, because increased output from lower taxes would retain jobs as well as create them in America. When people have jobs, they won't need welfare, thus resolving your "massive hole" in the budget.
Posted by ConserativeDemocrat 3 years ago
ConserativeDemocrat
Pro, you realize that any money saved by having a simpler tax code would be outweighed by the massive hole in the budget caused by cutting taxes right?
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