My column last Sunday on the case for a fair, flat tax was generally well received by my legions of readers. However, I did get a fair amount of flak from a few folks.
The gist of their criticism took me to task for “fixating” on the virtues of a fair, flat tax while ignoring the vices of so-called corporate welfare.
With all due respect to my critics, I offer two rejoinders. First, my topic was, after all, a fair, flat tax, which has nothing to do with corporate welfare. Second, individual income taxes account for about 37 percent of the federal government’s annual tax revenue.
That constitutes the biggest slice of the federal revenue pie. Payroll taxes are the second highest and most rapidly rising source of federal revenue, coming at about 31 percent of the pie.
By the way, the third highest source of federal revenue comes from borrowing money. That’s what happens when the federal government’s outgo exceeds its income in a given year. So, it borrows money to make up the difference.
Enter deficit spending, which both parties manage to do with great glee. In turn, annual deficits roll over into accumulated national debt.
Our national debt now hovers around $19.8 trillion. That’s right, trillion with a capital "T." And it is rising every hour of every day. It breaks down to about $60,822 per person in the USA today.
All that said, I will leave to others the debate over corporate welfare. My main concern for now is meaningful tax reform for the millions of my fellow, law-abiding Americans who go to work daily, pay their federal income taxes and hope our federal government will spend their money wisely and well.
I believe a fair, flat tax should be a major part of tax reform. Sure, it’s not a panacea for all that ails our federal income tax system, but it could be a real good start. As I said last Sunday, whether you agree with me or not, let our members of Congress and President Trump know your views on this issue. After all, it is our money – yours and mine – not theirs.
Retired Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.