George Will has observed that, when you subsidize something, you get more of it, and when you tax something, you get less of it.
That being so, it seems counterproductive to tax income. Income is the economic engine that drives the economy. The more income we all have, the better off we all are.
Yet the government needs taxes in order to function. So if we don't tax income, then what do we tax?
Last night I came across an interesting statistic--1% of the U.S. population owns 40% of the county's wealth. It seems to me that accumulated weath is the right thing to be taxing.
But the question is, how? Sure, determining the value of corporate stock of major coprations is easy. You just look at the Big Board, and there the value is laid out. Real estate is not too difficult because land assessors are spread out all over America.
But what about other stuff? Am I going to have to spend every April 15th figuring out how much depreciation to take on my 2-year-old set of underwear? What's the value of that gnawed-upon pencil or of that broken-down computer that I keep thinking about fixing?
Is this a great idea that won't work?