Chicago PM Sunday 17 October 2010
Editors, The Wall Street Journal
If the Wall Street Journal Review and Outlook “The Soul of the Spending Machine” of Wednesday 6 October has a flaw it is that it wasn't available as a guide to the writers of the recent Republican Pledge to America.
It opens “Republicans need new rules to aid their policy priorities: and closes “... Republicans won't succeed in their professed goal of cutting spending... without disassembling Congress's tax-and-spending machine.”
But the Problem with promising to 'change the rules' is that rules can just as easily be changed back. Change in Washington will come only when those we send to Washington change their view of the role and purpose of government.
The reason this hasn't been regularly done starts with table #468, page 311 of the 2010 Statistical Abstract of the US that shows in 2008, 62% of the total federal government receipts of $2.745 trillion came from employer bank accounts as withheld wages, not from individual voter bank accounts. Since all employers must do this, there is no competitive reason not to pass this cost to customers in higher prices, silently converting income taxes and Social Security contributions to a silent national sales tax. Eliminate withholding, forcing the intended taxpayers to send in personal checks for 20% of their take home pay every month would encourage the public to carefully consider candidates' views of the role and purpose of government before voting.
Eliminating that national sales tax would also leave lots more money for employers to hire more people and lower their prices, reducing unemployment and encouraging economic growth.
Arnold H Nelson in Chicago