Once again, the Optimist has an opportunity to expand on a topic covered too briefly by the Mogambo. The subject is taxes, and the Mogambo shows he can dance at parties for both Republicans and Democrats. Since the Optimist is not welcome at any of those parties, he can offer a dramatically different perspective.


In his 2/08/05 editorial, Mogambo echoed the Republican view that government "death" taxes shouldn't steal from the dead. Fortunately, the Optimist is here to offer the good news that there is an easy way to avoid paying taxes after death. After you die, just don't write any more checks to pay taxes! That is such a simple and elegant way for a dead person to avoid paying taxes that it is surprising that more dead people haven't thought of it before. If the tax collector tries to visit you down there after you are dead, just ignore him and let him swelter in the lobby. Eventually he will remember Truman's advice that if you can't take the heat, get the heck out of here, and he will go away empty handed. Although the Optimist hasn't personally interviewed any dead people to confirm that this approach works to reduce taxes paid by dead people, he is pleased to report that he has seen no successful lawsuits filed against dead people after they died. Republicans should be happy to learn from the Optimist that they no longer need to waste their energy by trying to reduce death taxes to protect dead people.


People who do not call themselves Republicans are concerned instead about estate taxes on the wealth remaining after a person dies. Big estates are important to wealthy families because that is the way power, prestige, and wealth are retained within families and passed like Royal aristocracy from one generation to another. In America, we are all born equal, except that kids in wealthy families are born a lot more equal than the rest of us. Keep reading and you will see that the Optimist offers a different approach to taxes and equality.


In his 3/02/05 missive, Mogambo unleashed his egalitarian spirit to proclaim that the rich should pay their full share of the tax on social security. Although his sentiment is obviously correct, adding the Mogambo's voice to calls for higher taxes brings tears to this reader's eyes.


The Optimist is pleased to inform you that there is a better way to promote equality than by raising any taxes on the rich, or on anyone else. That way is to have zero tax on income and zero tax on property. Zero tax for everyone is the Optimist's idea of simple equality. The Optimist is happy to shout the great news that we can all achieve the future goal of zero tax within our lifetime by simply passing a Constitutional amendment which prohibits taxation of income and property. Unfortunately, the Optimist must also report the bad news that the government's demand for revenue is insatiable, so an alternative tax mechanism is unavoidable. The Optimist's plan for zero tax on the living people who earn wealth is to use the Republican's death tax instead. You have to give the Republicans credit for focusing on a great idea!


No matter whether they are rich or poor, people should be able to keep all they earn without the government taking more or less away from them in taxes. Since the only people who benefit from the current estate tax system are relatives who made little contribution to the wealth accumulated by the dead person, and the legal circus that accompanies the probate process, ending that obviously unfair approach should be a prime objective of all who support the concept of equality. The Optimist's plan to eliminate all taxes on income and property by imposing a 100 percent estate tax will also appeal to those who favor a simple and equitable process. The tax law would consist of little more than a statement that a surviving spouse would retain half of all jointly owned wealth, child support through high school for underage children would be provided for, and the rest of the estate's wealth would revert to the people, by way of the government. Those who are compulsive about progressive tax rates should be really excited by this proposal, since the rich, by definition, will pay much more in estate tax than the poor.


Obviously, there are many questions about the transition process and about how to prevent people from spending or giving away all their wealth before they die. All of those questions can be answered during the process to pass a Constitutional amendment to prevent all governments from taxing income or property. Although the relief from income and property taxes would be provided gradually over time during the transition process, the Constitutional amendment must be passed before increasing the estate taxes to make sure that government doesn't cheat and try to keep all of the taxes it can get from income, and property, and estates too!!

   Note:  Readers who prefer more detail on the above topic, but unfortunately without much added humor, might want to visit Eliminate the national income tax 

While all eager readers are actively supporting Constitutional amendments proposed by the Optimist, he would like to suggest one more for speedy ratification. Voters in each election should have a ballot choice to increase or decrease the budget for the office being voted upon. The net result of that election would be binding on a proportional percentage increase or decrease in the budget (and therefore power and size) for that specific portion of government. As a special incentive to encourage voters to seriously consider their vote to increase or decrease the cost and size of government, The Optimist adds one new tax on the consumption of energy derived from burning hydrocarbons. When more voters want to increase the budget for government, then the energy tax would also automatically increase to pay the additional cost needed to balance the budget, and everyone who burns hydrocarbons would pay for that increase in the cost of government. People who prefer to pay less tax would likely vote for a reduction in the government budget, but all voters would have a direct voice in the decision process to increase or decrease the cost, power, and scope of governments. The sneaky part of this amendment is that it would also require the government to balance its budget, so maybe Congress will find an incentive to cut spending. The Optimist is also pleased to report that this companion amendment and energy tax plan will make all levels of government more efficient, and will have the added benefit of both reducing the consumption of energy and encouraging the development of new forms of energy. The Optimist is confident that most will agree that the gains are well worth the trouble to support two little amendments to the Constitution!


Click the Commentary link above to see additional offerings from the Optimist.



* * * Notice * * *

This commentary presents only the viewpoints of the Optimist, and it is intended only for perspective and entertainment.  Please do not interpret any portion of this work as investment advice.  If any of the concepts discussed here appeal to you, then you must do the work to decide if and when and how you should invest.  The Optimist does not ask for any profits you make, and he cannot be liable for any losses incurred as a result of your investment decisions.  The Optimist wishes you the best of luck in whatever you decide to do or not to do.  Cheers!


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by Jim Otis