The Chicago Tribune editorial "Beware 'the cliff'" of Sunday 1 April opens saying: “we appreciate the current political conniptions in Washington over your tax dollars and your frightening taxpayer debt.”
The conniptions are the result of misunderstandings of federal income and spending. Ninety per cent of voters are wage earners. Because of the 1943 current tax payment act wage earners are not writing checks to the federal government for their taxes. They get a little statement from their employer with their paycheck saying: “Here is how much money we sent to Washington to cover your taxes. If it hadn't been for the feds, we would have given it to you.”
But the employer IS sending monthly checks to the feds, written on their bank accounts. If they don't send it, they go to jail. The money's gotta come from somewhere, so the employers add it to the cost of their product.
The Statistical Abstract of the US says in 2010 38.4 percent of all income taxes taken in by the feds was withheld by employers. Throw in Social Security, which works the same way, you get 73.1 per cent of all taxes taken in by the government came from a silent, painless, national sales tax.
The problem is all those millions of voters, each with fistfulls of pay stubs saying "they paid ..." – they want their social security, their medicare, their food stamps, their unemployment benefits, all those government handouts.
To fix this problem requires only a majority of the House of reps, 60 Senators, and a President with backbone enough to change the US Tax code from "every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a tax..." to "every employer making payment of wages shall pay all of those wages to the employee...." The employer would still calculate the tax, including a note: "Here is what the feds are expecting you personally to send in within 30 days"
This could not be done overnite. Move 5% of the wage earner population every quarter to the new rules. Failure to cooperate would get the same penalty as present employers: jail.
But in the end, returning to voters the responsibility of writing checks to fund the government would force them to face how much all these entitlements cost, encouraging election of legislators less likely to support federal vote-buying giveaways. What would employers do with all that money they are sending in now? Hire more workers? Goodbye recession!
I've lived in Detroit, St Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh PA, Marblehead MA. Worked as tech rep in Southern CA, Bay area, NYC, I've been to Europe a dozen times (Ireland, UK, Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium.
Favorite restaurants are Gene & Georgetti's in Chicago, Roma Cafe in Detroit, Frankie and Johnie's in NYC, Rigazzi's on the hill in St. Louis (Also Charlie Gitto's, was Angelo's when I went there.)
For about a year I had small offices in Clayton MO, in the Country Club Plaza in KC. I rode a ten-speed bike around Lake Michigan (The bottom half in one week in June 1978, another week for the top half in 1980, used the Badger both times.
Don't get to travel much anymore, but still try to rent a car and go around the Lake in March every year. Sure, there's still snow, and it's not warm, OTOH there are no bugs and no toursts. Greatest little tavern in the world is Sherry's Port Bar in Garden UP MI