Should the United States Adopt a “Flat” Federal Income Tax?
The tax system in the United States has changed throughout the years, with many attempts to make it "fair" or "equal" while at the same time generating enough income for the United States government to thrive. It is a complex issue, and a controversial one at that. While it may not be possible for our tax system to ever be fair, it is important to make sure it doesn't put more financial stress and pressure on one group than on another. Currently, the United States' taxation system is progressive, which means the more money a person makes, the more that person is taxed. According to the Congressional Budget Office's website, the average lowest quintile household paid 4% of their income in federal taxes (“Average,” 2007). The middle quintile paid 14. 3% of their income, and the highest quintile, composed of the households that make over six figures annually, paid 25. 1% (“Average,” 2007). There are many arguments, both pro and con, for the development of a flat rate tax system. On the surface it might appear to be an equalizing factor. After all, everyone would then be paying the same percentage in tax. However, it is questionable as to whether or not that is truly fair. The most obvious benefit of the flat tax rate would be its simplicity. Many Americans struggle with the complexity of current tax forms, but with a flat rate, that would be eradicated. “The individual postcard is so simple that a third-grader could file a family's tax return in about five minutes,” says Daniel Mitchell, a supporter of the reform (2005). Only having two postcards would eliminate waste, save time and money, and eliminate the need for extraneous work at the Internal Revenue Service, which costs $12 billion to operate annually (Mitchell, 2010). Furthermore, a flat tax system may promote economic growth. According to Mitchell, a new system would “spur increased work, saving,...
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