So here is a novel idea. I believe it is an idea that should be nearly unanimously supported by both parties, though perhaps for different reasons. Still, I do not think it will be supported by either side because the political class often does not really mean what they say. They only say the things they say because they believe that is what they need to parrot to get votes and win elections.
I will first lay out my idea, and then I will go over the rationale behind it.
First, a disclaimer: I do not support the income tax. It is a vicious and destructive, as well as immoral, tax. The fact that the state is able to determine how much of a man’s earnings he should be able to keep is abhorrent. If I had things my way, the income tax would be abolished immediately.
Clearly, the majority do not agree with me on this point, so I propose the following counteroffer:
- The government should only tax an individual on one job—naturally, whichever job grosses the most would be the one to be taxed.
- Taxes should not be levied on overtime pay.
It is really that simple. Those on the Right, everyone from Rand Paul to Jeb Bush to Donald Trump, all advocate for cutting taxes. Obviously, this proposal constitutes a significant tax cut. Though it would arguably be but a minor dent in the overall revenues collected by the government, the proposal would nonetheless lift a huge burden off the shoulders of the poor, single mother with 3 kids who is working 2 jobs. For our hypothetical taxpayer, she would actually get to keep all of her overtime pay, and all of the money she makes from her lower paying job.
Now for those on the Left, this idea appeals to many of their stated objectives (e.g. empowering of the poor), but it carries with it some challenges. For one, there is no vilifying and soaking of the rich. Additionally, even though it will greatly help minorities and women, the proposal is not expressly geared towards them, and so the Left may fear that they will not be able to pander to and receive credit from the constituents whom they are seeking to save.
But here is the thing: top income earners more often than not do not get paid hourly wages, and they very rarely have multiple jobs that they hold at the same time. Poor people do work multiple jobs, and they do work overtime. Generally, physicians do not receive overtime pay, nor do they work second jobs. The same is true of lawyers, executives, top level bankers, and CEOs. In other words, this is a proposal for the little guy, and one that middle class workers will also benefit from when they work overtime.
Keep everything I have noted about income taxes in mind, and recognize that there is a big difference between making $50,000 a year as an office professional working 40 hours a week, and making that same amount by working in a warehouse 60+ hours each week. Alternatively, we could compare the mid-level manager who makes $100,000 a year working 40 hours a week with the factory worker who works 70+ hours a week to hit that 6-figure mark.
Insofar as our system continues with a progressive income tax, we should consider the manner in which the the money is being earned. There are compelling distinctions- human reasons-that support the notion that overtime money and income from 2nd jobs should not be taxed. In short, the taxes from one job- the taxes from 40 hours- should be enough for any working man (or the poor, single mother with 3 kids) to be deprived of by the government.
I am not rich, so I cannot speak to whether or not the rich are paying their fair share or not, but I do know that the poor and the middle class are paying more than their fair share. This needs to stop, and this proposal is the perfect opportunity for both sides- Right and Left- to meet in the middle and achieve the objectives of their respective ideologies. Can you hear it now? The sweet Kumbaya of the Democratic Socialist (whatever that means) and the Tea Party Republican, at once united in a common cause for the little man and economic freedom: “Abolish taxation on overtime wages and second jobs!”