After last week’s edition, several readers asked me about how Liberty could create a safety net, so that things like welfare, minimum wages, etc. could be replaced. So here is my proposal. We should find a funding source by replacing the current income tax system with a graduated flat tax. In this new system, with these numbers used only for illustration, no one would pay any taxes on their first $30,000 of income in a year – not you, me or even Bill Gates. Then everyone would pay 10 cents for every dollar they earned between $30,000 and $100,000, and 18 cents for every dollar earned between $100,101 and $500,000. For those fortunate enough to earn above $500,000, they would pay 25 cents in taxes on each of those dollars. All distinctions among earned or interest income, capital gains, etc. would be abolished and there would be no deductions. As a side benefit, taxpayers would save billions of dollars each year simply on income tax preparation.
Now for the safety net part. All people 18 years of age or older who are citizens or legal residents and who earn no income at all would receive a stipend from the government of $15,000 per year, broken up into monthly payments to their ATM accounts of $1,250 per month. It wouldn’t matter if they were students, just lost their job to automation or were even just plain lazy. However, for every dollar those people earned between one and $30,000, they would lose 50 cents of their stipend. That not only means everyone would always have an incentive to earn the extra dollar, people also could less fearfully pursue a new career, start a new business or work in the arts or public service for little or no pay. As a result, income in the amount of $30,000 would be the cutoff point at which people pay no taxes nor receive any stipend. This approach would also very likely remedy the homeless problem because, with access to $1,250 per month per person, the private sector would quickly supply modest room and board facilities to those people. So how is Liberty involved? Because this is a system that we would voluntarily implement, because that is who we are. And I believe it would work – for everyone! What do you think?
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President
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