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Can Computers Be Used To Optimize the US Tax Code? 730

Posted by Soulskill
from the improvement-through-iteration dept.
FatLittleMonkey writes "Science fiction author David Brin wonders whether the US tax code, described by President Obama as a '10,000-page monstrosity,' could be dramatically simplified. His idea is about using computers to shuffle the existing system: 'I know a simple way the sheer bulk of the tax code could be trimmed by perhaps 70% or more, without much political pain or obstructionism! ... it should be easy to create a program that will take the tax code and experiment with zeroing-out dozens, hundreds of provisions while sliding others upward and then showing how these simplifications would affect, say, one-hundred representative types of taxpayers... Let the program find the simplest version of a refined tax code that leaves all 100 taxpayer clades unhurt. If one group loses a favorite tax dodge, the system would seek a rebalancing of others to compensate. No mere human being could accomplish this, but I have been assured that a computer could do this in a snap.' With all the talk about Open Government, perhaps the computer code currently used in tax modelling could be released to the wider community, leading eventually to a Folding@Home type project."
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Can Computers Be Used To Optimize the US Tax Code?

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    • Re:Short Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by azalin (67640) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @05:36AM (#36150890)
      Slightly longer answer:
      Maybe
      Would politicians accept the solution without re-bloating it first? No
      • by flyneye (84093) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:04AM (#36151378) Homepage

        rm tax code | /dev/null

        Computers CAN fix the tax code.

        • by ambrosen (176977) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:52AM (#36151732) Homepage

          I take it you know more about economics than you do about the command line, right?

      • Re:Short Answer (Score:5, Interesting)

        by vrmlguy (120854) <samwyse.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:32AM (#36151604) Homepage Journal

        Slightly longer answer:

        Maybe

        Would politicians accept the solution without re-bloating it first? No

        Actually, the original idea will never get off the ground, because most of those 10,000 pages deal with things like "companies employing less than 100 people and which are located in a depressed neighborhood and which have names ending in a vowel get to deduct the cost of the president's jet." Things like that are added to give one particular company a break, but they never mention the company's name, just a set of circumstances that describe only that company. The company knows who they are, but we are unlikely to figure it out since each of the intersecting sets is rather large. Unless that company is part of one of the clades, that particular clause will have zip effect and it will be proposed for deletion, leading to that company and all the others in the same situation to object to the entire process.

        • by corbettw (214229)

          You're right, but only half right. Rich individuals, not just companies, can get these same kinds of special treatment. It's all about how much you've donated to the right Congresscritters.

        • because most of those 10,000 pages deal with things like "companies employing less than 100 people and which are located in a depressed neighborhood and which have names ending in a vowel get to deduct the cost of the president's jet."

          Please cite examples.

        • Redistricting (Score:4, Insightful)

          by goombah99 (560566) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:20AM (#36154056)

          I tried to interest people in redistricting on the same idea. Have the politicians state what their trade-space is? state the value of having districts simply shaped versus ones that include more diverse/less divers people or follow natural contours like housing development or rivers. Then have a computer bark out lors of possible district maps.

          No interest.

          The problem is that politicians are interested in their own power not fairness. THey want certain companies in their districts. They want mayors that owe them favors in their districts. they want gerry mandered advantages.

          If you want this you have to impose it by referendum or other force. they will not agree on their own accords.

          In the case of the tax code. How is a politician supposed to promise intel a tax break if they give him a boatload of money? he can't unless the tax code is adjustable.

    • Re:Short Answer (Score:4, Insightful)

      by locofungus (179280) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:09AM (#36151404)

      It won't work for the very simple reason that the rich are much more able to optimize their tax paying to take advantage of what is in the tax code.

      For example, in the UK the rich pay 50% tax on income (42.5% tax on dividends) but only 28% tax on capital gains (might even be 18% if they can get their taxable income low enough - I'm not absolutely sure what happens at this extreme)

      So it currently makes sense for the rich to buy shares that tend to generate capital gains in favour of shares that tend to generate income - especially if there intention would have been to reinvest the dividends anyway.

      Change that around and the rich will shift their investment strategies around to get the best deal they can. The poor (and in this case I mean almost everybody) will typically only have a single source of income (their job) and no opportunity to optimize their tax rates because they'll be "trapped" in a single taxation regime.

      So if you try and optimize it so that nobody ends up better or worse off, what will actually happen is that the rich will then optimize their tax rates and end up paying less. The only way to recover the missing tax will be to put up rates so that, for at least some people, they will end up worse off.

      Tim.

      • Re:Short Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarenN (411219) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:36AM (#36151630) Homepage

        So it currently makes sense for the rich to buy shares that tend to generate capital gains in favour of shares that tend to generate income - especially if there intention would have been to reinvest the dividends anyway.

        This is not a bug, this is intended. And if it isn't, it really should be. It makes sense that that taxation regimes should be designed to encourage the re-investment of surplus wealth into economic activities. After all, you might lose the 22-32% on income tax, but this is expected to be beaten by the increase in tax take from the recipients of the investment in the form of corporation tax, VAT where applicable and the income tax on employees of the organisation that was invested in. Having anyone simply sitting on huge piles of cash benefits no-one.

        • Re:Short Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @10:11AM (#36153106)

          Except that the tax code doesn't encourage that, in fact I'd go so far as to say that it discourages it by offering tax breaks for all sorts of antisocial behavior. For instance corporations like GE can book their losses in the US from foreign operations and offset their gains in the US without having to book profit from international operation, which makes it trivial for them to pay no taxes in the US.

          Most of those bits of the tax code ought to be eliminated in favor of something less unwieldy so that people can actually understand what it is that they're doing without need for a professional.

          And while we're at it, why doesn't the IRS just fill out our tax forms for us? Given that they already have most of our information in large databases, I see no reason why they can't fill them out like they do in other countries.

          • Re:Short Answer (Score:4, Interesting)

            by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:17AM (#36154020)

            I think corporate tax is silly anyway. Just tax all income as income... capital gains, dividends, salary, benefits... and you won't need a corporate tax.

            This would have the additional advantage of encouraging corporations to move to the US.

            Corporate taxes only generate revenue in the $400 billion range. You could easily get this back with higher capital gains rates and deduction/loophole killing.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        You might complain about that, but do you - or any other industrialized nation around the world - have to fill out the sort of bullshit paperwork that we Americans have to? AFAIK, you don't have to worry about getting audited or whether you qualify for certain deductions. There's a small but growing movement here to get a flat tax similar to the VAT added just to simplify the whole thing as well as cut 90% of the IRS down. Saves money, cuts down on bureaucracy, it's impossible to evade, and no more goddamne

  • Sure. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drolli (522659) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @05:24AM (#36150826) Journal

    That procedure would lead to the same results. Maybe some redundancy would be removed, but obviously he doe not understand why the Tax system is complicated. Its the politics, stupid. Many of these 10000 pages are just small little promises somebody has given to *his* voters at some point. And nobody wants to cut such things, because one time this starts, it could be soon the promises to *your* voters. So no matter how absurd something is, it will stay there forever.

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @05:26AM (#36150834)

    Would work at face value. Genetic algorithms can easily be used to solve something like that.

    However I think taxes have more of an effect than just bringing in money, if the system decides to highly tax something, it might cause an economic downturn on that item, which could have ramnifications. In fact, the more popular the item is, the more cash you'd get if you raise the taxes on it.

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      Approximate. Not solve. Sorry.

    • by clickety6 (141178) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @05:56AM (#36151022)
      In fact, the more popular the item is, the more cash you'd get if you raise the taxes on it.

      Tomorrow's Headline: Computer Suggests Tax on Sex
    • by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:58AM (#36152954) Homepage

      Would work at face value. Genetic algorithms can easily be used to solve something like that.

      I'm not convinced it would work.

      Such an algorithm might detect 15 different tax breaks for education, then notice that a huge percentage of college students own iPods, and thus conclude that the best simplification is a $5k tax credit for anybody who buys an iPod, or something equally dumb. Now, if such a break didn't change public behavior, then it might even work out the same in the end. However, any change in tax rules will definitely change public behavior, which means that the algorithm would have to be run iteratively.

      The problem is that a set of a few hundred million people will itself implement what amounts to something like a genetic algorithm to game the tax code. So, which do you have more confidence in:

      1. The ability of a computer program to come up with an un-gameable simple tax code?
      or
      2. The ability of a few hundred million people to collectively figure out how to game the new tax code faster than the computer can fix it?

      People still game the tax code, of course, but the current code at least targets the breaks where they are intended to go, which makes this a little harder.

  • End result: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leuk_he (194174) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @05:30AM (#36150868) Homepage Journal

    The system will still not be understandable, but this time computers will be blamed.

    • by dargaud (518470)

      The system will still not be understandable, but this time computers will be blamed.

      You are correct. You will end up with a big transform matrix while you currently have a binary tree. In other words you'll replace a series of questions such as 'Are you married?', 'Do you have children?', 'Do you have a job?', etc that can be negosciated in sequence by a matrix where thousands of parameters need to be input in one big formula at once.

      It's the same reason why we don't replace the income brackets [20k-30k$/year], [30k-50k$/year], etc by an exponential formula. It would be more correct math

      • Re:End result: (Score:5, Informative)

        by Wandering Idiot (563842) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @06:07AM (#36151080)
        It's the same reason why we don't replace the income brackets [20k-30k$/year], [30k-50k$/year], etc by an exponential formula. It would be more correct mathematically, more just when you go from 29999$ to 30001$ but people are too dumb to understand it.

        Going from 29999$ to $30001 means you would only be taxed the higher rate on $1 of income, not the whole amount. If it wasn't your intent to imply otherwise I apologize, but I see people making that mistake all the time for some reason.
        • by AuMatar (183847)

          Thank you for pointing this out before I had to. The bracket tables are only there to make the math easier, because we don't trust people to correctly calculate 15% of the first 20K+ 20% of everything between 20-30K +25% of eveything above (numbers completely made up). The tables simplify that for people and reduce mistakes.

      • Re:End result: (Score:4, Informative)

        by larkost (79011) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @11:27AM (#36154146)

        Just to respond to one small point that most people miss, but it is never a penalty to move up a U.S. tax bracket (well... excluding some deductions). Assuming the same deductions if you start out with more money, then you always end up with more money. Yes, always, every time. You might pay a slightly larger overall percent, but you never wind up with less money.

        The way this works is that you start at the bottom tax bracket and pay taxes on the money you made in that bracket at that percentage. Then you set asside that money and move up to the next tax bracket and pay in that. It is probably clearer in a made-up example:

        With the following hypothetical tax bracket system:
        0 - 10,000: 2%
        10,001 - 30,000: 5%
        30,001 - 85,000: 10%
        85,000+: 15%

        If you have an (adjusted) income of $30,001 then you pay:
        10,000 * .02 = $200
        20,000 * .05 = $1,000
        1 * .1 = $0.1

        So if we compare a $30,000 vs. a $30,001 income, the tax difference is 10 cents, leaving you with 90 cents more than you would have had. While my hypothetical numbers are way off... the principal holds. Oh... and for the math pendants, all brackets are inclusive and rounded.

  • by MoogMan (442253)

    Sounds like a job for dpkg [slashdot.org]

  • and just go with a flat 10% across the board. Then those that make the most will finally pull their own weight. And spare me the non-sense of the rich or corporations creating jobs because its bull shit.
    • It certainly has to be someone who has the resources to do so. No offense, but your statement leaves only the poor and I doubt they create jobs. Usually those who create jobs do so because they have exhausted their personal abilities and need an extension of themselves, hence employees. Corporations are merely that process grown over a longer period of time.

      Your flat tax rate is a bit low to sustain the government we have now.

      The real problem with the tax system is not in its complexity, its just how high o

      • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @06:45AM (#36151276)

        The real problem with the tax system is not in its complexity, its just how high our taxes truly are.

        We're the lowest taxed generation since WWII. The highest rate now is 35%, and few pay it. The highest tax bracket in the 90s was 39.6. The highest tax bracket under most of Regan was 50%. Under Nixon was 70%. Kenedy was 91%. Eisenhower was also 91%. The rate coming out of WWII was 94%.

        Try doing actual research before spitting out far right talking points.

        • by fnj (64210) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:01AM (#36151362)

          Horse shit. Add payroll tax to that - both halves - state income tax, state sales tax, local income tax, local sales tax, property tax, and taxes masquerading as fees such as water, sewer, automobile registration, automobile insurance surcharges funneled straight into state coffers, and so on ad nauseum. I'm not much concerned with how high the top federal income tax bracket is. I'm more concerned with the total tax burden on the middle class.

          Finally there's the unfairest tax of all - inflation. That's the one you get when the federal gangsters print money to cover their unrealistic runaway budget.

          • by berashith (222128) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:10AM (#36151412)

            This. I always laugh when people talk about how high European tax rates are compared to the US. If we count all of our taxes, and not just the federal rate, and we cat get competitive on high rates quickly.

            • You have all those taxes in Europe as well... In the UK - top tax bracket is 50%, 20% VAT (in effect sales tax), 5% tax on higher value properties (read - anything in a decent area of London where a family can live), interest on mortgages is not deductible and bills for everything are higher than in the US. Car tax is ~$750 a year for a typical American car (based on emmissions here). Council tax (paid by each household annually) ranges from around $1,000 a year to $4,000+ depending on what a property was w
      • by muffen (321442) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @06:51AM (#36151318)
        Interesting, we really have different views on tax. I don't enjoy paying them, being in the highest income-tax bracket in my country (not hard to accomplish, trust me, not making millions) I sometimes think about how much better it'd be if I paid less taxes.

        However, I survive on the amount I have left after I pay my taxes. I may not be in the category of richest people but I feel that health care, infrastructure, police, ambulance and so on, are services worth paying for. Why should I pay more (in %) then someone who makes less, well, because the money is needed, and where will it come from otherwise? There certainly are things I want, like a better car and a bigger house, but really, what I have now is not bad.

        I believe in two basic things, freedom and helping those that cannot provide for themselves.
        I do not believe that everyone has the same opportunities in life, even if my country provides free education (including uni) to all it's citizens.

        I pay taxes because I think that free education should be the foundation of any country, I pay them because I think health care should be free for everyone. You shouldn't have to die of a disease because you cannot afford the healthcare, and I believe in helping those who come from countries that require help (I seem to be a minority in Europe having this opinion these days).

        I fear that compassion is become rare, it seems to be gone from politics, and especially when talking about taxes. The debate now is often focused on cost, how much immigration costs, how much does free health care cost... rarely do I read debates asking how many lives were saved because we have free health care or because we let people from countries that are at war stay in ours.
        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:32AM (#36151606) Journal

          I look at taxes from an entirely selfish perspective. I benefit immeasurably from living in a stable society with relatively low levels of poverty and a high standard of living and free or cheap education. I can walk into the doctor's surgery and be given - either for free or for a token amount - cures for diseases that would have killed the richest man in the world a hundred years ago. I was paid by the state for the last stages of my formal education (my PhD).

          Unfortunately, this costs money, and I have to pay for some of it. If it could be funded entirely by pixie dust, that would be great, but since that's not the case, this society is an expense that I consider worthwhile. I'd rather avoid paying taxes, in much the same way that I'd rather avoid paying for a new laptop, but I consider the price I pay to be very reasonable for the benefits that I receive in both cases.

          Oddly enough, your line of reasoning from an altruistic perspective seems to reach the same conclusions as mine from a selfish perspective.

      • by DarenN (411219)

        Simply put, the Federal Government has grown too large from over promising everyone something.

        This is a general problem with democracy - people will vote for all cake, all of the time without considering costs, and the costs start to balloon. The candidate that says "I'm going to cut spending and raise taxes to reduce the deficit" doesn't get elected, certainly not without promising something like "social welfare will not be cut, medicaid will be increased" or "defense will not be cut" which immediately starts to water down the first commitments.

        The flat rate tax might be fair, but it doesn't wash.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Customers create jobs. Keep pushing regressive tax "reform", and before long all your customers will be too poor to buy anything. Then no one has a job.

  • Better solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bryan1945 (301828) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @05:38AM (#36150906) Journal

    Scrap the whole thing and start over. All the cruft is from decades of putting in and taking out different provisions for thousands of groups of people. Start with whatever rates you want. Then stop. What's the point of taxing someone 30%, then giving them a mortgage deduction, education deduction, horse rodeo operator deduction, etc.? Same with corporations; if you're going to give them all tax breaks on their water coolers, just drop the rates. The IRS will be pissed, thousands (millions?) of accountants will be pissed, and everyone else get 4 hours of their lives back from stupid paperwork each year.

  • by e70838 (976799) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @05:40AM (#36150916)
    a tax system is like an ecosystem. If you change it brutally, people will find holes and adapt their behaviour in order to pay less taxes while remaining in total legality.
    If you change it too often (like in France), you will penalise business (business likes fixed rules).
    Computer models can help in modifying the system, but you can not improve it without a very deep understanding of the current system. You can not just say it is crap, even if it is true.
  • because there's PLENTY of human factors in there.

    the computer wouldn't know how to value how a tax affects favoring of different types of crops, for example. the "computer" wouldn't know if they should favor diesel, logs or coal. the computer wouldn't know what are "normal" amounts to spend on medical bills(which is necessary and which is just excess).

    of course, you should have read your asimov. you need a full grown caring AI to run a tax system - and then you're better off not telling people that it's a c

  • by muckracer (1204794) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @05:52AM (#36151000)

    Sales Tax:

    5% to the local community
    3% to the local State
    2% to the FedGov.

    = 10% tax on everything sold. Easy to calculate and pretty fair (spend more, pay more).

    Get rid of everything else...

    • Re:My version (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ledow (319597) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @06:05AM (#36151068) Homepage

      Most EU countries have VAT which amounts to a (different in every country but currently in the UK:) 20% tax on all sales except essentials (baby milks, children's clothing, most foods - but not "luxury" foods with chocolate in them, etc. - and, strangely, printed books).

      Yet we still have high tax rates too, and it's not because we're being "stung" any more than other countries.

      Hell, some EU countries just charge you 50% of whatever you earn which actually works out quite a good deal when you take into account all the tiny taxes and administrative costs of them over a lifetime. It makes taxes SO much simpler and you can actually spend time chasing those who cheat the system rather than having to need a degree in law and mathematics to understand taxation enough to tell whether something is right or not.

      The UK has a tax mess too - and we really should go the blanket 50% way (although if we were to do it properly, it would be nearer the 60-something % that we're currently paying) - we have fuel tax, road tax, "tv licensing", income tax, VAT, land tax, house-buying tax, cigarette tax, alcohol tax, corporation tax, national insurance contributions, gambling tax, air passenger tax, insurance premium tax, inheritance tax, council tax, and a million others, all on sliding scales and requiring all sorts of legal basis and challenges (McVities were sued by HM Customs and Excise for classing a Jaffa Cake as a cake - untaxable - and not a luxury biscuit - taxable. The lawsuit cost millions.)

      Whereas if you just said "any money or goods you earn or are given as a gift/inheritance, we want 50%", it's very easy to work out. Hell, most of the time it's almost impossible to work out what you need to pay. Self-employed people fill out a tax return and if they *don't* want to calculate their own tax, they have to send it in 6 months before those who do with the relevant data so someone else can work it out for you. And that's AFTER you've made sure to legally declare everything and put it in the right boxes and ask for the right forms.

      • Most EU countries have VAT which amounts to a (different in every country but currently in the UK:) 20% tax on all sales except essentials (baby milks, children's clothing, most foods - but not "luxury" foods with chocolate in them, etc. - and, strangely, printed books).

        This is where the strangeness begins. Is sushi an essential? Well, it's not cooked, so there's no VAT on it. (A friend of mine owns a sushi place). All these little rules and loopholes are insane. For instance, someone wrote a rule exempting certain creative businesses (film, books, music). So what happens next? Someone goes around proposing a tax structure in which the beneficiaries "publish" their own poetry, and through various vehicles get their tax break. The other major issue with having a load of lit

        • by Kjella (173770)

          The average pensioner receives more than they've put in (Google it yourself).

          Not sure what you mean, yes pensioners are a net expense. There's an "expense curve" of sorts constructed of the average person's net contribution. It's negative in childhood (child support, public schools) and up to mid 20s (many students at public education, high unemployment, low wages to tax), then a net contribution up to retirement age, afterwards public pensions and hospitals cost more.

          There is a degree of collectivism to it, some will die before the retirement age so in total there's somewhat more t

      • Re:My version (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SwedishPenguin (1035756) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @06:49AM (#36151298)

        We do have "slightly" more government services to compensate though, or at least we do in Sweden. Our "marginal" tax rate is about 55%, though of course no one actually pays that much, the tax bracket up to about 380,000 SEK is about 30%, then 50% up to about 540,000 SEK, after which it's about 55%. When I take into account the things Americans have to pay huge sums of money for out of pocket (health care, education, daycare, parental leave, sick leave, etc) I'd say we got the better end of the stick.

    • Does my employer buy my services and pay 10% sales tax on my wages?

      If I buy Treasuries do I pay 10%?

      What about equities? Or buying and selling gold?

      Or I sell my house and buy another one somewhere else in the country. Do I lose 10%?

      Tim.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      And where are the service cuts to make that work? We've got a 10% sales tax here in WA. (Well, 9.5% in my corner anyways, the general state sales tax is 6.5%) And it's not enough to cover the expenses we have in running our state, and that's with other forms of taxation such as property taxes, gas taxes, liquor taxes etc. So, I'm curious as to how under your plan we're going to be able to keep our state running and the federal government for less money than we're presently paying to run our government.

      The p

  • Rather than taxing productivity, how about we tax enjoyment?

    (1) Scrap all taxes;

    (2) Scrap the notion of limited companies, so a businessman becomes responsible for his own affairs and doesn't get to personify a non-person with all of the rights and none of the responsibilities;

    (3) Introduce a personal consumption tax, which slides like income tax so the first $x is tax-free, up to say 90% consumption tax for people who spend more than $y/year on their own enjoyment. So someone who is just getting by on mode

  • It has been done for years. I have seen lots of talks at conferences where they discuss formulating and solving numerical optimization problems to maximize profits subject to constraints.

    The first problem is getting all the tax rules formulated as constraints. Crazy tax rules can be difficult to formulate.

    The next problem are the 0-1 binary variables for yes/no questions, so you can end up with mixed-integer nonlinear programming problems, which can be difficult to solve deterministically at large scale.

  • If the numbers didn't have a $ in front of them it would be simple.

    However that $ makes the amounts have an affinity for the right side of the equation (but only when that behavior is beneficial to the one doing the calculation).

    This property if $ has thus far defied all rational endeavour to normalize monetary calculations.

  • I have a better idea.

    Did you make less than $24,000? If yes then you owe no tax. Otherwise,
    Pay to the IRS 10% of the amount you made over $24,000.
  • "No mere human being could accomplish this, but I have been assured that a computer could do this in a snap."

    Sounds like my manager who seems to have in common with this science fiction writer that they don't understand the first thing about programming.

    Creating a program to run through a set of rules described by a '10,000-page monstrosity' is no small feat. Running the program afterwards, yes, that's the easy part.

  • by SeaFox (739806)

    If one group loses a favorite tax dodge, the system would seek a rebalancing of others to compensate.

    There's should be "tax dodges" to start with. Either a tax is justified or not. The point of the system isn't that people should have little tricks to avoid paying their fair share.

  • The spirit of laws lends themselves rather well to an if-then programming interpretation. Therefore, the current legislation could be rewritten into a programmatic form as a series of if-thens of case switches, where each evaluates a certain aspect of the applicant, changes a variable, and uses these variables to calculate the final tax value by multiplication and subtraction (for tax breaks and tax-deductible donations). The final code could then be stored in a subversion repository to enable easy versioni

  • Why work to simplify a problem system when there is a better, simpler, more fair way to do so?

    Just abolish the IRS, let us all have our full paychecks, and implement the FairTax!
    http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_faq [fairtax.org]
    http://www.fairtax.org/ [fairtax.org]

  • Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment.

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

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