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
Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

Movies

Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.

Movies

Frank Miller on writing 'Sin City'

Frank Miller's comics career is a long and storied one, with "Sin City" being one of his most individual creations. Here, in his own words,…

Movies

Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

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.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…

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…