John Edwards wants to simplify the way some people pay taxes. In particular, he has noticed that about 50 million Americans have very simple tax returns — so simple, that the IRS already has all of the necessary information to just go ahead and calculate their taxes for them. Obviously this won’t work for self-employed people or anyone with an interesting set of deductions, but there are plenty of people not in that category.
So Edwards is proposing Form 1, a short form that the IRS will fill out and send to those who qualify, so that they can look over it and make sure it all seems correct. (Via Neil the Ethical Werewolf.) If so, just sign and return it and you’re done. Not only will it greatly decrease the burden both on taxpayers and the IRS, it will also benefit the millions of low-income workers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit but might not realize it.
It is, in other words, one of the most obviously good ideas to come out of a Presidential candidate in a long time. But wouldn’t you know it, readers of the National Review don’t agree.
Basically they have a single objection, phrased in multiple ways: if we decrease the pain involved in paying taxes, people won’t mind as much. And then they won’t agitate as vociferously for tax cuts. That’s basically it. Some get overly enthusiastic and start griping about employer withholding more generally, suggesting that every taxpayer should be forced to save up money and file quarterly tax reports. That would truly drive home the pain.
And all I want to say is: I really hope this becomes a major talking point among Republican candidates. More pain at tax time! I’m sure voters will appreciate the shrewd calculation underlying this enlightened policy. And as a benefit, since Republican voters are unenthusiastic about the current Presidential field and have already begun to long for a novelty candidate to swoop in and shake up the race, this opens the door for the perfect nominee!
If the Terminator can become governor of California, I don’t see why Clubber Lang can’t run for President. The Mr. T Doctrine is as well-thought-out as what we currently have.