Flat tax: not so simple

Here is the weirdness of the Internet: We now have more information at our fingertips 24/7 than even the most brilliant scientists had a few decades back. With one touch, we can explore world religions, orangutans or the physics of a curve ball. Once upon a time, we gathered in bars for hours to debate things like, “Whatever happened to Scott Baio?” These days, some jerk just whips out his iPhone. Case closed. Fun over.

And yet, this instant access to superficial knowledge about everything seems to be killing our interest in deeper knowledge about anything. If a concept can’t be reduced to a tweet, many of us can’t be troubled to take it in. Perhaps that explains the pronounced appetite among voters for tax plans that might have been scratched out in the margin of a newspaper while the candidate’s coffee cooled.
9-9-9. The flat tax.    

The appeal is obvious: They sound simple. They sound like an antidote to all the complexity that plagues us in our cell phone bills, insurance plans and whatever that stupid discount program is at the grocery store.

But reforming the tax code, even if you think that is a spectacular idea, is inherently complex. Rick Perry practically knit­ted his brow into a cardigan this week, when he noted that the current tax code is made up of tens of thousands of pages.

Exactly. Tax policy analysts say thinking that such a vast system can be easily reduced to a stack of postcards, without seismic shifts in what we get from and give to our government, is naïve.

Republicans and Democrats alike try to sell such ideas all the time as the very essence of simplicity; whether talking about job creation or trimming the debt. They know pithy statements grab head­lines and are easily posted on Facebook.

But voters need to know that such claims, especially with regard to the tax code, are almost always misleading. Those same tax analysts say making such changes would not be like repainting the Capitol, but rather more like replacing the foundation. And as much as we may want it to be simple, it would instead be hugely complicated and full of wild uncertainty.

– CNN’s Tom Foreman is a regular on “AC360°”/www.ac360.com and “The Situation Room.”
Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Music

polyphonic

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…