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For every eligible taxpayer to choose what percentage of their total income, from a range of 5% - 100%, they wish to pay the federal govt.

On everyone's tax form that must be submitted in April, there should be a page where taxpayers are given the ability to choose what percentage of their total income for that year they wish to pay in taxes, ranging from 5% to 100%. On that same page, there should be a row of boxes to check off where each individual wants their portion of taxes to go for the following year. Defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, etc. People will only be entitled to programs they have contributed to in the past, and not entitled to programs they have not. Everyone will pay something, even if it's only 5%, and anyone that wishes to pay more in taxes for the greater good will be free to do so. Since the program would have to be phased in gradually so as not to shock the revenue stream, the first year of implementation it should first be available to those in the lower brackets before gradually becoming available to those in the upper brackets in the years that follow.

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    Sep 25 2012: James, One of the problems I see in this method would be how to have a working budget. Year one my agency may get one million and the second year 10 dollars.

    Here is a alternative: Go back to a Constitutional government. The Feds are responsible for about four areas. Washington DC and federal workers everywhere would have to go out into the public sector where they are responsible to the public and would have to produce. I would looooooove to see that. Return the power to the states to self govern. Taxes from then on would either be very low or the states would have a milita that combined with other states would provide a defense force. In times of war we could nationalize.

    It would not be that simple but it would not be very difficult either. Congress would be in session for about two weeks a year .... it would cut back on millionaires but what the heck. The state will pay your (reasonable) expenses for the two weeks and thats it buddy. It is called public service. Stand back I am on a roll ...... I would love to be the guy that kicked them off of the gravey train. LOL I have no fear ... I am old ....... no wage income ... and marked for OBama's Death Panel. What is to lose. Go getem James.

    There is a lot of things to work out but it could be done.

    Have a great day ....... Bob.
    • Sep 25 2012: I understand your point about a working budget, and that is why the federal government would have to force itself to base a working budget on a projection of it receiving revenue at an across the board 5% rate. This would ensure that the goverment always under projects how much money it is taking in because not everyone will elect to pay 5%. Believe it or not, some will choose to pay more. We would get to a point where we would have consecutive years of more money than the government projected it would receive.

      People do it all the time. You make $40,000 but you live like you make $20,000. Government can do it too.
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        Sep 25 2012: ..... "Governments can do it too" ...... Good one ..... ROFL.

        Thanks for making my day.

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    Sep 25 2012: I don't think we can really tackle taxes until we get the government to stop spending money on programs/policy that just do not work.

    Even if the tax code changes...I fear that will only be a distraction from the real concerns.

    I would venture to say that 60 percent of the country...has never read a tax code or policy in their life.
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      Sep 26 2012: I would guess 99.9% of taxpayers have never read the tax code. If I am right that means 320,000 people have read the tax code and I think that sound high.
  • Sep 25 2012: The rich (among others) will opt to pay 5%, leaving the government ineffective, meanwhile everyone who doesn't pay more than 5% still benefits equally from military and police protection, safety regulations, the courts, public infrastructure, etc... The people with the highest incomes would be freeloading off the rest even more than they are doing now, that is, until engineers, doctors, etc... start to die out because the government can't fund education anymore and the rich will have no one left to run their businesses, fix their private jets and cure their illnesses.
    • Sep 25 2012: ?? Currently, about half of eligible taxpayers in this country pay no income tax, so they already enjoy the benefits of the military, safety regulations, courts and public infrastructure free of charge. (Police are a local thing). The top 10% currently pay nearly 70% of all tax revenue. If the rich opt to pay 5%, that would be their perogative, but they would be much more motivated to invest and grow financially because they would want the 5% impact on them to be reduced. In fact, most people , rich or otherwise, will likely respond the same way. Why would engineers, doctors etc. "die out" again? I didn't catch that part. What exactly do you mean the rich will have no one left? Lower taxes would actually mean more job opportunities due to increased investment and business development.
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        Sep 25 2012: Half pay no income tax:


        Would you have our elderly pay income tax?
        • Sep 25 2012: Yes.
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          Sep 26 2012: Henry, I am 70 an the feds have shown me no mercy. I still pay and will as long as the tax bracket says I must. What is wrong with that.

          The tax scale does not ask for age. It ask for your income for the year. No Complaints.

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          Sep 26 2012: Seniors and students? Anyone whose paycheck comes from tax dollars does not pay taxes (how can you pay taxes with taxes?), nor does anyone who is unemployed.
      • Sep 25 2012: "Currently, about half of eligible taxpayers in this country pay no income tax, so they already enjoy the benefits of the military, safety regulations, courts and public infrastructure free of charge."

        Most of them pay more in other taxes as a percentage of their income than Mitt Romney does.

        "The top 10% currently pay nearly 70% of all tax revenue."

        No, they pay 70% of federal income taxes, they pay 50% of all federal taxes but their combined income is also 45% of all income. That's barely progressive and it gets worse when you look at the top 1% and especially the top 0.1% (the real rich), it then becomes regressive, that's even without accounting for the fact that they benefit more from public infrastructure and security. Then if you add local taxes... Things would get far worse if the rich started paying only 5%.

        "(Police are a local thing)"

        Why wouldn't the same rule apply to local taxes (and if not, you do realize the states may just increase taxes on the rich)? Also, other countries don't have states.

        "Why would engineers, doctors etc. "die out" again? I didn't catch that part."

        I thought I was very clear: 0 government dough going to education means most people won't be able to afford sending their kids to school, let alone higher education. You claim they don't use government assistance but they do: they used a lot to go through elementary and high school and colleges get most of their funding from government (including state level), while most students either take loans from the government (a bank would loan at such low interest rate to students), or get scholarships that are mostly funded by government.

        How the hell would scolleges be able to lower tuition when they get less money from the federal government, are they going to pay professors minimum wage?

        You and I are not rugged individuals, we need others to work with and they need us, to keep our living standard above bronze age level. Watch less faux news, read more history books.
        • Sep 25 2012: I don't know why Mitt Romney entered the conversation but thank you for elevating me to that level.

          As I said, they pay 70% of federal income taxes.

          How do the top 1% benefit more from public infrastructure and security? Do rich people receive special publicy funded security and usage of roadways that I was not aware of?

          Police are a local thing, my idea deals solely with the federal tax code, not municipal tax systems. Local officials are held more directly accountable for millage rates any way.

          Where does the assumption that the government would get "0 dough" to education come from? As I said, each taxpayer will be able to select what they wish to fund. The Department of Education would be an option as well. And to be quite honest, most high performing doctors, engineers and the like do not use federal loans to get through school. More often than not, their tuitions are paid for either by their parents or through scholarships.

          Despite all of that, let's deal with your hypothetical head-on. If the federal government suddenly had a shortage of educational funds, the state institutions would be forced to slash their tution rates to make them more affordable due to the demand loss. This is all macroeconomics 101.

          Finally, rugged economic individualism is the very thing that elevated our living standard to the one in which we enjoy today. People pursuing economic opportunities forged the foundation of modern Western civilization. It's unfortunate you haven't learned that yet. In either case, economic liberation doesn't diminish commercial cooperation among the masses, redistributing wealth on the basis of "social justice" does.
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        Sep 25 2012: James I tried to give a thumbs and it would not let me.. THUMBS UP +1. There is a great misunderstanding about the US tax system. The OWS and 1%ers spread their rant about how to cure things and continue to drink the cool aide but will never read the label.

        Does your half include the 10 million or so illegals? Probally not as you did state eligable. They are just takers not givers.

        Anyway great response.

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      Sep 25 2012: John Smith, Try decaf .... Your hate for the wealthy in all of your posts will give you a ulcer.

      I wish you well

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    Sep 25 2012: amen. i'm behind it.