Thursday, February 26, 2009

Federal Auction to fund government

Over at mydd, I write about a better way to fund our programs:

President Obama unveiled a 10 year budget that assumes higher taxes on the top earners in our country. We are about to enter the same ole debate between Democrats and Republicans. If forced to choose, I would support President Obama's plan to pursue Universal Healthcare, Energy Independence, and other worthwhile programs with the repeal of the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy. But I suggest real change in the way we raise revenue:
We as liberal democrats don't have to accept the status quo as a given, but instead could work to find ways to advance progressive and newliberal ideas. This must be done in a way to attract mainstream America, whose interest in politics and policy is fleeting at best.
First and foremost I define a liberal as a person dedicated to accepting facts and pursuing logic towards a positive result. This requires a willingness to divorce ourselves from the interest groups and political alliances of the past that may not currently be offering what's best for America today. Our support and advocacy of any position should ultimately be because it is Right for all Americans.
As Democrats we are often promoting expansive ideas that cost a great deal, and the tax and spend liberal label is applied negatively upon us. We can offer great ideas, and pay for them in a more creative way.
We should eliminate the Personal and Corporate income tax, and all state/local property taxes. The average individual and/or business should not have any contact or concern with the government over taxes.
We should collect all the revenue, that we as a people through our Government decide is necessary, through a FLEXIBLE FEDERAL TAX that would be collected by an INDEDEPENDENT GOVERNMENT BOARD similar to the Federal Reserve Board.
Their job would be to find creative ways to raise revenue in the least intrusive way as possible.
Their main tool would be the ability to PURCHASE ANY HIGHLY DEMANDED GOOD/SERVICE at the retail price, and AUCTION them at a market price. They can allow private companies like EBAY or to do it in the most efficient and creative way.
So for example, a few years ago when the Star Wars movie opened to sold out shows, that represented an opportunity for the IGB to purchase 10% of the opening night tickets, and resell them at the highest price.
This process could be repeated thousands of times per year at:
-Super Bowl, NBA playoffs, and other high demand/low supply events-Iphones, -hot, novelty gift items for Christmas or other holidays where supply routinely sells out.-any situation whether local, state, or national where the public wants to buy a good or service, but it is clear there is a limited supply capacity.
People wanting to see popular, first time, rare events have demonstrated through out the years a willingness to pay high prices for the pleasure.
3 examples:
1. When Apple announced the new Iphone, and Microsoft announced the new XBOX360 it was sold out for weeks. These events are predictable, and currently there are those who routinely profit from buying them up and reselling it. If the government would become the number 1 reseller, we as a people get that revenue, the person bidding gets the Iphone, and no one paid anything involuntarily.
2. Many local parks have a permit system for holiday reservations for grill/bench locations. Currently it is first come/first serve. Instead of having all 30 grills assigned that way, take 3 to 5 of them and auction them off. This still allows 80-90% of the locations to the general public, but those who either thought of the idea too late or just want the very best spot to see the fireworks will willingly pay for the privilege.
3. We have sporting events, plays, and all types of events that routinely sell out every day of the year because there is never enough capacity. Sometimes the resell value is astronomical. For example a ticket to a Duke/NC basketball game that is relatively cheap can be resold for thousands of dollars.
The IGB would simply be able to buy the first 10% of any good/service it deemed would be easily resold at a high profit because of excessive demand.
The tax code would be reformed completely with the emphasis on ZERO taxes on everyone unless they wanted to purchase one of the above items/events.
Once Congress, and State/local governments determined their desired level of taxation, the IGB would determine the best route to collecting it.
By eliminating the IRS from average people and business lives, we will rid ourselves also of unproductive avoidance behavior, with people finding creative ways to lower their burden. Those resources could be redeployed to grow our economic output.
Our debates would be more over values and what is the proper way to do something rather than the stale higher taxes/lower taxes saga.
The end result would be an ability to do more good through the government like:
universal healthcare with maximum choices for each person.
universal education k - college in a marketplace system w/o govt bureacracies and decision makers controlling the process.
We can do more in the public sphere without the resentment from the earners in our society of taking their tax money.

Craig Farmer
making the word "liberal" safe again!

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