Are we capable of reform?

What rot! What utter garbage!

One of the guys running for the White House – Rand Paul – has trotted out his tax plan. It would totally reform our tax system. Totally.

His plan would make your tax-paying as easy as reading this paper. You could knock off your tax return before breakfast, hungover.

It would wipe out deductions. It would make tax rates simple. It would put thousands of lobbyists out of work. It would jolt the entire economy forward. It would jettison unfairness from the tax code.

Yada, yada, yada. Rubbish.

Do I like his plan? I love it. Would it deliver? You bet it would. The effect would be cathartic. It would clean out the poisons. And inject adrenaline. The positive effect would benefit the world. When our economy and society surge, they puff wind into every sail on sea and pond.

Then why do I say rot and rubbish and garbage?

Because candidate Steve Forbes laid out a similar plan when he ran for president. Nearly 20 years ago.



Because Congressman Paul Ryan posted major reforms for our repulsive tax system. That was four years ago. Because we have seen a hundred books and heard a hundred sermons. On the same subject.

What is rubbish is the jabber such plans generate. Economists enthuse over the plans. Supporters cheer them. Analysts analyze. Tax guys pick them apart.

What is garbage is that serious people take the proposals seriously.

What is rot is that they tout and pitch fairy tales. They pretend such plans have more chance than plump pinkies in a piranha pond.

We all know our tax code is rotten. From its core to its barnacles.

Are you surprised? That taxpayers waste billions of hours and bucks to comply with it?

Is it news to you? That nobody understands this monstrous code? Are you gobsmacked? To hear its complexities drive little guys out of business? And big guys offshore? And many taxpayers insane?

Will you fling this journal into the air and cry out “Wow! The man’s got a point! Why, we need to reform our tax code!”?

Anybody who lives on the topside of a rock knows these things about that tax code. And this should dismay us.

We know the tax code is repugnant. We know it insults us. We know it whacks our economy, businesses, entrepreneurs, society. We know, we know, we know. But, but, but…we also know any proposal to reform it is doomed.

Doctors have to ponder whether a patient can recover. We need to ask if we can. Are we capable of reform? Possibly we are not. It may be that we have met the enemy and he is us.

That is, maybe the forces against reform are so great they will surely smother it. Thus far they have. The lobbyists. The interests that pay them. The greedy. The corrupt. The politicians on the take. The leeches who thrive on the status quo. The millions who just don’t give a damn.

The question we should debate is: Are we the Greeks? Their ship lists, may capsize. They know what needs to be done to right it. But they are too tied to their deck chairs to get up and do it.

Are we strapped to ours? We who lack the energy to tackle our exploding national debt? We who talk but enact no reforms on hopeless Social Security? And doomed Medicare? We who grow nauseous about our political corruption but mostly shrug? Our politicians flaunt their corruption. They have no more shame than whores perched in the windows of Amsterdam. They know we will do nothing. We will plug our noses, turn our eyes and vote them back.

Are we capable of reform? We cannot even reform our Postal System. When dozens of countries have showed us the way.

Real reform calls for much fortitude. Much discipline. The will to persevere. The determination. Persistence. Do we have these qualities in us? In sufficient quantities to do what we all know should be done?

From Tom...as in Morgan.

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