New ideas on taxation, and why most of us usually don’t know about them

Photo of Dilbert model by Jon Stefansson via Flickr (cc)

Six weeks without a post, OMG! Not because I had nothing to say, but perhaps too much to organize into something readable. Or maybe I’ve just found it too difficult to locate suitable images to go with the posts.  Well, forget that, it’s time to get back to blogging.

And it was nearly six weeks ago that Miles Kimball blogged about some great ideas expressed by Dilbert creator Scott Adams for improving taxation of the “rich.” Adams’ piece was published in WSJ, I can’t figure out which date, I don’t know how long the public link will last and I can’t actually figure out the title of the article.  Adams’ point, if I understand it correctly, is those who pay the greatest amount of taxes would more willing to do so, if given suitable nonmonetary incentives.  He suggests maybe the top 100 taxpayers should be invited to a celebratory dinner at the White House, where they’ll be praised for their contributions to America.  (I wonder whether richest-men Warren Buffett and Bill Gates would qualify for this event.  More likely a bunch of wealthy heirs and heiresses who got poor tax advice).  Another idea is that top taxpayers should get certificates allowing them to violate certain regulations, such as parking in handicapped spaces or using carpool lanes alone. (Of course, the very wealthy wouldn’t worry much about the fines such actions would impose if unauthorized). Or, suggests Adams, maybe the top taxpayers should each get two votes (which would make no difference in election results compared to the influence the wealthy can already buy).

More important, I think, is Adams’ point that, if you can’t think of a good idea, it’s best to think of some bad ideas and offer them for criticism. It’s a technique I have used with fair success (my role being to offer the bad idea).

But the main lesson we can draw from Adams essay is that,if your idea regards public policy, then no matter how good (or bad but creative) it is, nobody powerful will pay attention to it until it’s expressed by somebody who is already influential. Thank you, Scott Adams.


One thought on “New ideas on taxation, and why most of us usually don’t know about them”

  1. Dear Sir,
    I accidentally found your website. I know how you feel about not getting anywhere. I’ve come up with a tax plan that would not only give the government more money to spend but would also reduce the amount of money (percentage of income) taxpayers pay. But can I get anyone to listen? Not really. If I knew how, I would put my ideas on the internet and ask people what they think and most especially, how my idea could be improved, or actually made workable. Alas, I only have access at the library and don’t know much about computer type stuff.
    I’m actually sending this because I feel that someone should know there are workable solutions even if they aren’t politically practical. The main problem is people don’t like change. Once you know how a system works you don’t want to learn a new system, even if you can see that it would be better (note: I had to learn five new systems in twenty years, and only one of them was actually an improvement and even that one need adjustments) Oh well. Hope this helps

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