Flat taxes and taxed servers.

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Nov. 26 2002 7:21 AM

Flat Taxes and Taxed Servers

Readers respond to Robert Shapiro.

What's up with the Fray? Check out the special Fraywatch here. Servers are moving a bit faster and many folks have solved their initial posting problems. I am still working through e-mail. The biggest problem is still folks who have lost their longtime nicknames. I am putting together a list of these to see which ones we can resuscitate. E-mail me or respond to the post here.

Platykurtic pipedreams:Robert Shapiro argues  that "the current system has virtually no redistributive impact on most Americans" Even doodahman wishes he'd seen a citation to back this up, but adds this quibble:

Of course, he leaves out the effect of state taxes-- exercise, property, license fees, user fees, etc.--- which, I'll wager, ends up causing a redistribution of wealth from the lower and middle class to the very upper echelons of wealth.

(Perhaps someone can take him up on the wager?) And in case anyone has forgotten the basic reason progressive taxers hate flatness:

Maximizing economic growth is a value, but not the only one. Even if a flat tax did not have the drawbacks noted here, it would be a bad public policy for reasons that have nothing to do with economic growth, but everything to do with fairness and the principles of citizen responsibility.

PubliusToo thinks that Democrats can finally use tax reform to their advantage here:

Now that the republicans appear to be fleeing meaningful tax reform in droves (it's far easier to cut taxes when you can blame the opposition for the resulting budget deficits), the democrats can use tax reform to seize the initiative.

His proposal is to fold payroll taxes into the income tax system and flatten things for middle-income payers. Shades of Robert Reich? … 7:45 a.m.

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Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2002

And to think we were worried about key escrow: Responding to Paul Boutin's plea for geeks to avoid politics and head straight for the hacking hills, BenK offers a way around an increasingly nosy government here. More interesting than his firewalling proposal is his diagnosis of the snoopers' underlying tension:

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