Oct 30 2008
It seems to me that one of the major causes for the debt crisis today is a lack of transparency. Politicians can tell their constituencies that they aren’t raising taxes, but instead plunge us (and our children and grandchildren) into debt.
My solution starts with some wordsmithing: change the word “Tax” to “Tax/Debt.” April 15 is Tax/Debt day, at which time folks see both their taxes and their share of the national debt. As of today, our total public debt allocated by all US citizens is $34,537.05 per person, or $138,148 for a family of 4. Taxes would be recalculated according to current operating expenses of the agency doing the taxing; debts would be tallied separately so that tax/debt payers could see just what level of debt has been run by their city/county/state/federal government. The interest paid by each taxing authority would appear as a separate line item on the bill. In this way, tax/debt payers would see exactly how much interest they are paying to support past debts.
This debt would become due in full at the estate time of the tax/debt payer, helping to eliminate the debt burden to future generations. Maybe would could scale this tax progressively against the industry in which the assets were earned. Someone in the investment banking industry, for example, might pay a larger debt payment than a teacher, for example.
I’m sure that folks seeing their debt expressed so vividly would cause quite an outrage. Might as well get it over with early, and give them time to talk back to politicians who have been pushing this debt on us in lieu of paying our bills when they come due.