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COMMENTARY | As most Americans opened up their paychecks in this brand-new year, we all discovered something. We're rich! Not laughing? In short, we're not.
However, we were told throughout the elections and this "fiscal cliff" thing that only the rich making more than $400,000 would be affected. Now you're missing money (from payroll tax increases) it's because the government does fancy accounting work to make it look like you're not really being taxed. "It's not a new tax," they'd say. "Just one that we let expire."
What can we do as an American public? I have two solutions: first, institute a flat tax and, second, increase accountability for Congress and the president.
First let's tackle the flat tax issue. The reason we don't have it a very simple: It's a negotiation tactic. If either side were to give in and give the American people a flat tax of 15 percent to 20 percent, their biggest election-time argument would disappear. We would also have no more class war, because at 15 percent of your pay, the rich pay more and the poor pay less. For instance, 15 percent of $20,000 is about $58 a week in federal tax, and $400,000 at 15 percent is about $1,150 a week. The rich pay more and the people making less pay less. It also kills the IRS and all the tax loopholes once and for all. If you're afraid of all the accountants being laid off or the IRS workers, leave the current system for businesses in place. Think about your world without the April 15 deadline looming over your head.
The second area is accountability. The United States government needs to be accountable for its spending. It, like every U.S. citizen, should not live beyond its means without consequence. Those men and women in office are supposed to be the best; henceforth, they should be able to budget. If we make a mistake, we are charged for it, whether it is a late charge or a bank fee, we pay. They should not be allowed to raise debt without a national vote. In most organizations I belong to, anything to big needs a full-member vote. Congress should not be allowed to vote on pay raises or raises in our debt; it should be left to a national vote.
In short, the government needs to follow to rule set before them by the Constitution and play fair. Everyone should equally pay, and everyone should be responsible. The people should vote on the debt ceiling as they are the ones left paying for it.