“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Sunday, October 16, 2011

my own humble attempt at tax simplification

Simplifying the tax system on the 9-9-9 system (which, fans of the Book will notice, is 6-6-6 upside down) is all the rage right now.

I have an even simpler plan. It is based on a phrase used over and over by the anti-tax (the rich) crowd. The phrase is simple – taxes take dollars from your pocketbook. Or your wallet.

My plan takes this phrase very seriously, because it gives us a nice way to visualize money. The anthropologist, George Marcus, has theorized, from his ethnographic research among the rich, that one of the salient characteristics of fortune is its invisibility. That invisibility has many semiotic effects: one of them is obviously to reverse the marginal disutility thesis, which would make it seem like the millionaire of the billionaire would discount the added dollar. Invisibility melds together all money as one thing – which means that the 4.9 billion dollars made by hedgefund manager John Paulson (the man who, in conjunction with Goldman Sachs, shorted mortgage backed securities while Goldman sold its suckers, er, clients, mortgage backed security ) is to him one unified thing. Not perhaps in all instances. Paulson could well chip off a bit of that 4.9 billion for a coupla yachts, or a home. For instance, a nice 25 million dollar ranch in Aspen. The 3 million dollar Olympic tower “pad”. But when it comes to taxes, every invisible bit needs defending.

This is where my tax plan comes in. It is called the envision the wealth tax plan, and it is pretty simple. It uses a standard – the Tommy Hilfinger Men’s Tilton Front Pocket Wallet. According to the specs, it is made of Soft Polished Lamb, and features 4 credit card pockets, an ID window, and a metal hinged moneyclip – just the kind of wallet that the rightwing pundit wants to conjure up with the government taking dollars out of it!

So, here’s the scheme. It is pretty easy to assess how many Tommy Hilfinger Tilton Front Pocket Wallets would be needed to contain 4.9 billion dollars. A bill has a width of around .005 inches. You need to stuff 49 million of them in the wallets. The capacity of those wallets is, at best, able to accommodate, say, 50 one hundred dollar bills, or 5,000 dollars. That gives us nine hundred eighty thousand Tommy Hilfinger Tilton Front Pocket Wallets. Now, lets compare this to, say, the janitor who works in thePaulson and company building. The average salary for a janitor in NYC comes to a whopping 21,000 per year, which is the equivalent of four THFP wallets, and a little change. So we have four of these wallets, and we line them up against nine hundred eighty thousand THTFP wallets, and we ask – is it fair that the four wallet guy didn’t pay the same percentage tax as the guy with nine hundred eighty thousand THTFP wallets?

And then we hit ourselves on the head and go, dude, are you on acid?
And then we do our tax reform! Which is simple – no tax for the janitor. No tax for even people who have 20 THTFP wallets. No, make it 40. After that, the government starts seriously collecting your THTFP wallets. After you reach 100 hundred, it really gets down to business, going with the 90 percent marginal rate that was common in good king Dwight D. Eisenhower’s day.
See how simple this is? It is called the visualize their fuckin’ fortunes tax. It is beautiful, and will save the country a load of grief from self pitying people who have done nothing world historical, or even necessary, to earn nine hundred eighty thousand THTFP wallets stuffed to the gills with 100 dollar bills.


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