Saturday, June 20, 2009

Alternate Government Finance

I hear a lot of people complaining about taxes. Taxes are levied so that the government can pay for things, and people are charged in a way that they find "fair." But what system could we use instead, if people hate the current one so much? Here's 12 13 ideas.

1. Inflationary Tax
When the government needs to spend money, it prints some. Hyperinflation usually results because the government goes through a lot of money. This hyperinflation decreases the value of money until one needs a wheelbarrow full of it to buy even a small thing like a loaf of bread. Let's not do this one on the grounds that it is ruinous and stupid.

2. Government Owned Corporation
The government would own a corporation, which would make money, some of which would be kicked back. To a degree this would work -- the US post office operates under this kind of arrangement. Would you accept a doubling of all postage fees?

3. Radical Spending Cut
If we spend much less, we could do with lower taxes. This will be very unpopular. Along with everyone's favorite program being cut, we'll also have to take a pacifist stance in worldwide goings on and fire 80% of our military. Your favorite program could be NASA, farm subsidies, art funding, science discovery, foreign aid, doesn't matter. It will be cut, and you will hate it.

4. Internet Tax
Stop reading this website right now, and go get a job. Otherwise, it's $10 per day, payable to the treasury. The funny sound you hear is the federal reserves laughing as millions of addicts whip out their checkbooks for fear of losing Myspace for the day.

5. Obnoxious Behavior Tax
Taxes on things that are voted to be annoying. Probably alcohol, tobacco, having a party at 3am, and novelty car horns, things of that nature. Maybe you'll pay us, maybe you'll stop doing it. Either way, we win.

6. Sell Gold
The government currently owns a large stash of gold in Fort Knox. Gold is currently at record high price. We could sell it now and buy it back later when it's cheaper, but maybe a gold speculation financed government isn't the best idea.

7. Sponsorship
This congressional meeting is brought to you by Coke, Taco Bell, Southwest, Safeway, and Mad Engineering. Please note the labels that we have pasted into all kinds of things that will be noticed during the meeting. Washington spins in his grave, powering a generator, the power which from we will use to pay off the remainder of the balance. Next up, the state of the union address, brought to you by McDonalds, Winchester, Macy's, and Crazy Bob's Toy Factory. Crazy Bob's, we probably have something your kids want to play with.

8. Sell Land
Russia wants Alaska back. They would be willing to pay a large amount of money to make this happen. This would inconvenience the Americans that live there now, but we can probably find some good land in Montana, Idaho, and North Dakota for them to live in. And when we spend the money, (and we will), then what?

9. Fees
Today you found a man forcing his way through your window, so you called the police. They showed up, promptly arrested the burgler, and charged you $1500 for their services. Then you pay $200 to testify against him when his court case came around. You pay $500 to visit a national park, $10 to drive on a public road, and since your town remains free of military occupation by a foreign power, a $5000 military fee. You'll pay $10,000 per year tuition to keep your kids in school, and $300 to complain about all these stupid bullshit fees.

10. Stupid Comment Tax
Like the internet tax listed above, but charged when one makes a stupid comment to a forum, blog, youtube video, or email. While this could be done by moderator, it's probably better to do it by a computer program like the Stupid Filter, as computer programs will give a better appearance of objectivity, even when it isn't. Youtube video comments alone would probably pay the balance.

11. Suicide
The US government announces that it ceases to exist. Depending on where in the country you live, you are now a citizen of Russia, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, or Japan. See, these countries rushed in to fill the power vacuum, and they will charge you, yes, income taxes, according to their own laws.

12. Income taxes
When you earn money, you are charged a percentage of each bracket. The first bracket is charged nothing, the second one 10%, and so on up to a maximum of 39% for the top bracket. You can definitely pay this, because it's less than the amount of money you have, and the first bracket being free means it won't make you go hungry. Oh wait, this is the system we have now that people were complaining about.

13. Tariffs
Under this system, all products imported into the country must, at time of purchase, pay a fee, to be tacked on to the purchase price. This was the first finance of the US government, and part of its early bitter politics. The Northern US preferred higher tariffs to encourage growth of domestic industry, the southern US preferred lower tariffs because they liked to buy their things from England and France, and the tax made the things more expensive. We literally could not do this today -- there are multiple trade treaties that forbid it, and if we did do it, we could expect a ruinous counter-tariff imposed by the other country. For a nation like us that loves to import and export, this would be a rolling disaster.

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