Fiat Currency

In 1913, the U.S. government gave its right to create currency to the Federal Reserve Bank. Prior to that the Federal government had created money itself. These were called Greenbacks. The value of a Greenback fell dramatically during and after the Civil War because too many had been printed to fund the Union war effort….

Funding Government

What is the best way to fund government? Today most funding is provided through the Federal income tax, but this tax is not the only option (and it may not be the most efficient option). The Federal Income tax did not become a permanent source of income before 1913 when the Federal Reserve was established….

Land & Finite Resources Tax

Unlike the value that people create themselves through labor and investment, land and other natural resources (e.g., minerals, old growth forests, airspace, water, fossil fuels) are in some sense owned by all current and future residents of a community. Some argue that these finite natural resources should be taxed, while leaving the capital improvements (buildings,…

Trade Tariffs

When the USA was first formed, income from trade tariffs provided 95% of the funds needed to run government. By the 1915, only 30% of the Federal budget was provided through trade tariffs, and currently only  about 1% of the Federal budget is provided by tariffs. The Federal income tax now provides most of the…

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Some are against Direct Democracy because they fear that poor people, who outnumber the rich, will vote for more government welfare services for themselves and higher taxes for the rich. Taxes Funding for government activities does not have to be provided by an income tax and was not provided by income tax before 1913. Using…

Tax on Wall Street

According to Prospect.org, instituting a Financial Speculation Tax could rein in some of the worst excesses of financial markets that too often operate like casinos. By increasing the costs of placing trades, the tax would moderate trading activity generally, but it would most strongly deter short-term trades rather than longer-term investments. Importantly, for example, an…

Volunteer Support for Warfare and Welfare

Partisan groups are often divided over the issue of spending tax dollars on war and spending tax dollars on welfare. What if decisions about going to war, sending weapons, or funding police actions could be made by the people instead of Congress or the President? What if those who voted for war were expected to…

Exemptions for Charitable Donations

The practice of allowing exemptions for charitable donations can encourage  wealthy people to fund public projects such as museums, hospitals, parks, and other public buildings.  Currently, tax payers can deduct 50% of charitable donations from income, to avoid paying income tax on that amount. A tax-payer who pays roughly 40% on the top tier of…

Corporate Tax

U.S. federal and state governments have imposed one of the world’s highest corporate tax rates. High tax and strict regulations are often too costly for small- and medium-sized businesses, and many corporations merge to reduce costs and make management more efficient. But this results in a greater concentration of power and wealth among the few….

Inheritance Tax

Since wealth has a natural tendency to accumulate (the richer get richer; the poor get poorer), inheritance tax is seen as a way of slowing the inevitable increase of economic disparity. Critics of such wealth redistribution strategies claim it merely transfers the power of the wealth from the person who acquired it to the government….

Consumption Tax

Taxing products such as alcohol, tobacco, junk food, recreational drugs, fossil fuels, and fossil fuel by-products is a way of funding  public health services. A consumption tax is considered a voluntary tax insofar as  citizens might choose not to buy inessential items.    Advocates of the consumption tax say that taxing rather than outlawing these products…

Income Tax on Wages

In 1913,  the 16th Amendment was passed, giving the government the right to collect income tax in order to begin paying service fees to the Federal Reserve, which had just taken control of creating fiat U.S. currency from the U.S. Treasury.  According to some, the 16th Amendment was directed only at capital gains income and…

Capital Gains Tax

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was passed giving power to the government to tax capital gains income.  According to some, the law was never intended to tax labor (wages or salaries), which at the time were considered an equal exchange of goods/services akin to bartering and were not considered “profit” income. The…

Sales Tax

Taxing sales and services (as opposed to taxing income) is seen as a simpler way of collecting tax at the point of sale. People can avoid paying income tax by not declaring cash income or using unfair loopholes, but as long as the seller/service provider is not running a cash business off the books, the…

The Separation of Business and State and the Privatization of Public Education

Because US public schools do poorly compared to those in other developed countries, those who support a “free market” approach argue the quality of education would be improved if public education were subjected to the effects of competition:  schools that are inferior will go bankrupt; schools that are good get more customers. (This leaves aside…