From time to time I like to take the parameters of the debate and blow them the hell up. It is easier to think outside the box if the box is blown into tiny smoking pieces. To that end, I offer a few ideas from The Crazy Reformer.
I don't remotely begin to suggest that these ideas are practical, or even serious. But think them over. Give them some room in your head, then see if you think they might produce some ideas that might work. Please feel free to offer your own Crazy Reforms. I'd be interested to hear the nuttiest idea you've heard of. More below the fold, as they say...
This one is such a load. It affects so few estates, and I personally consider it desirable that power not be inherited, and let's face it: Money is the ultimate inheritable power, especially in a title-less country like ours.
So The Crazy Reformer says: Eliminate all other taxes. That's right. No income tax. No sales tax. No capital gains tax. No excise tax. No tariffs. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Nyet. Zero. 90% Estate Tax. Maybe even 100% with, say, a $50,000 exemption. A legal couple (sure, even a gay one!) is a single taxable entity for this purpose. You could allow some sort of exception for minor children in the event of an early death, but otherwise, NO ESCAPE! No second generation wealth! Never again! This would be worth implementing to prevent Paris Hilton alone, but seriously, if tax cuts are so great, why not a constant party until the reaper comes a-knocking? This would let people make all those "better decisions" about what do with their money. It is hard to make a good money decision when you're buried or burned. That's when the government stands a chance of being smarter than you.
Forget all these convoluted rules about whose money can be spent where. Leave those rules in place. Just don't elect representative. You heard me. Don't elect 'em. Draft 'em! That's right, just like jury duty. Your number comes up, 2 years in the Big House, the People's House! Go ahead and leave the other offices elected as they are. You want citizen legislators? You GOT 'EM! People tell me that The Crazy Reformer's scheme here would allow idiots and criminals to hold high public office. His only response is to arch his eyebrows in a very condescending manner.
Welfare and Social Security Reform
Retirement is wasted on old people. Instead of giving people money when they need it, but maybe don't deserve it, give everyone $50,000 at birth. If we're gonna have a big Death Tax in The Crazy Reformer's world, why not a big Birth Credit? What shape would the economy, the savings rate, the whole shebang be in if everybody started life $50,000 in the black? It would sit in some nice, steady, principal preserving investment until the tyke is, say, 18, or 21 (if we really want it to work, let's face it, it'd probably ave be until they are at least 30) and then, blam-o! It is their money! Save it, spend it, invest it, buy that nose you've always wanted, whatever. But as specified by the state that's all you get, bub. Anything more you need, you'll have to go cap in hand to one of those faith based or "other" organizations. (The Crazy Reformer may or may not be progressive -- the judgement is yours!)
40 Acres and a Mule. That worked last time, right?
Well, that's all the crazy for today. I won't promise that The Crazy Reformer won't come gibbering out of the woodwork again in the future, but for now, he's all tired out.
What crazy reform Ideas do you have? Can you destroy the box? Try it! It's fun!
(I'll be back to dour energy topics in the near future).