Skip to comments.A Mickey-Mouse Tax Plan to Save America
Posted on 09/04/2012 8:00:03 AM PDT by econjack
A Mickey-Mouse Tax Plan to Save America
By Jeff Clark
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The United States of America should be the happiest place on Earth. We just need to change our income-tax structure. Let me explain
After filing and paying my 2011 taxes, there was still a little money left in my checking account. So I decided to splurge a bit and take the wife and kids on a mini-vacation to Disneyland. As I stood in the ticket line outside "the happiest place on Earth," I noticed the wide variety of people standing in line with me.
There were tall people short people fat people skinny people people of every ethnic background imaginable. There were kids, teenagers, young adults, mid-lifers, and senior citizens. Every genetic and chromosomal background possible was represented, as was I think every income class.
Certainly the gentleman in front of me with the tapered slacks, the Faconnable pullover shirt, and the Cole Haan walking shoes earned a decent living. In front of him, though, was a man wearing oversized denim shorts, a "Battle of the Bands 2009" t-shirt, and a stained baseball cap. He probably wasn't doing as well financially.
But here's the thing we all paid the same price for our admission tickets.
It doesn't matter how young or old you are. It doesn't matter where you come from or what nationality your ancestors were. And it doesn't matter how much or how little money you make. Everyone pays the same price to gain access to all the rides and attractions at Disneyland.
And Disney (DIS) is a hugely profitable corporation. Just look at the stock over the past 10 years
It's up 175%.
Still, I had to wonder If the best country on Earth operates with a progressive tax policy where higher-income earners pay more for the privilege of living within its borders why doesn't Disney charge higher-income earners more to enjoy its theme parks?
I called Disney's shareholder services department to get an answer. After being transferred about five times, I was finally able to convince the lady on the other end of the line this wasn't a joke and I was a serious financial analyst. She agreed to answer my questions on the condition of anonymity. So let's just call her "Snow White."
Here's how the interview went
Me: Why doesn't Disney charge different admission prices based on the income level of the people visiting its theme parks?
Snow White: Um because that's a stupid idea.
Me: Are you saying the tax policy of the United States of America is stupid?
Snow White: Alright if you're asking this as a serious question, maybe "stupid" is too strong a word.
At Disney, we charge everyone the same admission rate because once inside the park, everyone has equal access to all the rides and attractions. We do have discount tickets for young children, since they may not be permitted on some of the rides because of safety concerns. And we do offer a small discount to organizations that purchase a large number of tickets all at once. For the most part, though, everyone pays the same price to enjoy our parks.
Me: OK. Everyone pays the same because everyone has the same opportunity. But let's say someone has an unfair advantage to the rides, would he have to pay more?
Snow White: There are no unfair advantages at Disney.
Me: Oh, sure there are. For example, my favorite ride is the Indiana Jones Adventure which is located all the way over at the north side of the park. If I enter the park from the south side, I don't have the same opportunity to ride the ride as someone who enters from the north. He should have to pay more.
Snow White: Well no You can always just enjoy the rides that are closer to where you enter the park. Or you can walk over to the north side to ride Indiana Jones Adventure.
Me: But he's closer And that's an advantage.
Snow White: Walk faster.
Me: Never mind Can you tell me how you decide what to charge for admission?
Snow White: Yes. Admission prices are set to ensure a good value for the consumer, enable us to keep the park in excellent condition, allow us to pay our employees a competitive rate, and provide a reasonable return to our shareholders.
Me: But what if I can't afford your admission price? Can you just charge some rich guy in line in front of me for two tickets and then just give one to me?
Snow White: That's not really a serious question, is it? Of course we couldn't do that.
Me: But what if I'm out of work? Or if I just spent my extra money on a new set of headphones? Or if there are just other things I need to pay for first, and I don't have the money for a ticket to Disneyland? What am I supposed to do then?
Snow White: Well I guess like anything else you might want out of life, you're going to have to work hard and save for it.
Me: Thank you for your time, Snow White.
Snow White: You're welcome I think.
As I hung up on Snow White, it occurred to me that I shouldn't be asking Disney why it doesn't have an admissions rate similar to the United States progressive tax policy. The company is doing great. Go back and take another look at the DIS chart.
Instead we should be asking the U.S. government why it doesn't have a tax policy similar to Disney's admissions rate.
Think about it Just take a look at the "stock" of the United States of America over the past 10 years
The U.S. dollar has lost one-third of its value in the last 10 years. Our debt level is exploding. We can't balance our budget. And we're about to tumble over the fiscal cliff.
Maybe we should take a page out of the Disney playbook and see if we can adjust our tax policy to turn America into the "happiest place on Earth." On Thursday, I'll run through the numbers and show you how I think we can achieve this. Stay tuned
Best regards and good trading,
And if the world is winning and you’re losing, the perfect place to restore your soul is “Storybook Boats”.
(Well, OK. First you have to get eaten by Monstro, the Whale...)
Pirates of the Potomac
Say “Hello” to my daughter while you are there. She went from one of the unemployed to the ranks of the employed because of the “Happiest Place on Earth”. She truly thinks it has earned its name!
How I wish something rational could happen to the tax structure. Even if the total tax paid were the same the burden taken off the backs of so many would be an encouragement. We live in fear of the tax code, I do. That fear is intentional by the Feds and the States.
From: The Rich Don’t Pay Enough?
August 29, 2012 3:10:06 PM CDT · 16 of 21
Sequoyah101 to rudabaga
So, what is right about a progressive tax? Why penalize success? What about all that democracy and equality stuff?
As a nation, we are slaves to the tax code and it is the spoils tool of the politicians used to curry favor, show favoritism and punish rivals or threats.
Why a progressive tax? Who has the right to say that you or anyone else has earned more than his fair share and needs to have it confiscated out of proportion to his earnings? Do the successful get more benefits, use more of the roads or get better defense in disproportion to their earnings? If they pay for these things in disproportion why isnt it fair for them to get more or a better deal?
True, we are part of the world economy but we are also not competing on level ground. Again, tariffs are the tools of politicians but in this case on a world stage.
If we are to truly be a part of the world economy we need to have a standard of living like the rest of the world that we compete in. Their labor cant afford what ours does. Their dependents of the state not only dont have what ours do, they have nothing and they die. World competition demands that you either lower the standards here, compete and produce more value per worker. The only other choice is wealth transference which will ultimately lower the standards here as well.
I have said that the wages in this country are too low and that corporations and the rich are keeping too much and it is because there are easy alternatives to cheap labor many of which are facilitated or even encouraged by the government. Those should be removed.
Let’s suppose we get rid of the progressive tax, and instead institute a simple flat tax, say 15%.
A millionaire could pay 15% of his income and not even miss it. But a 15% hit would really impact the quality of life of someone making $20,000 a year.
Something about that bothers me.
One solution is to exempt the first, say, $10,000 of income. But then you no longer have a flat tax. Someone making $30,000 a year would be paying a significantly higher percentage than someone making $12,000 a year.
It’s a mess. The solution I like best would be something like Cain’s 999 plan.
Actually it is pretty simple. 3 Trillion spending and 3.5 million occupants. Everyone pony up their 8,575.00 per year (children included). If you can’t pay then you can’t vote. I have a feeling that the 3 trillion number will fall pretty fast.
Me, too. To me, the best thing would be a flat rate tax with no deductions. (The Fair Tax with its "prebate" scares me because politicians get to set it and determine who qualifies...not good.) With a flat rate, everyone has something in the game if they earn an income. I would also love to see a voting requirement that says: If you didn't pay any federal income tax last year, you can't vote in federal elections this year. You could even go with Bortz's idea of 1 vote per $10,000 in federal income taxes paid, up to a limit of 5 votes. Man...would that send the libs into a tailspin!
Doesn’t bother me. I think everyone should pay their share of the burden whether they make $1 or $1 mil.
Too bad. Maybe it would drive people harder to bootstrap themselves to a higher income. If you're making $20K a year, that's the market trying to tell you something (e.g., upgrade your skill set). If you feel badly about such people, take some of your money and give it to them. However, don't take my money and give it to them. That's an endless money pit. There are many people who just won't work harder to raise their incomes via education and retraining. If that's their choice, so be it, but I'm tired of subsidizing lazy people. 99 weeks to find a job? One company has people who interviewed for jobs only to say they could start for 6 weeks. When asked why, it was because that's when their unemployment benefits ran out.
Huh? I never said that.
I'm tired of subsidizing lazy people.
I certainly agree there. I'm all for bringing back some version of the WPA. If someone wants a welfare check, or food stamps, then they had better report to the nearest WPA unit to help clear brush, pick up litter, or whatever.
I thought Cain’s 999 was a cop-out; he used to support the Fair Tax. We need to stop taxing productivity and tax consumption.
End the Income Tax, repeal the 16th Amendment and enact the Fair Tax. You get to keep all you earn and pay taxes only when you make retail purchases of new goods.
EVERYBODY gets the “prebate.” There is no manipulating the the Fair Tax. Everybody gets the prebate. Everybody pays the same rate on their purchases.
Personally, I’d rather discard the prebate, but I understand why it is there.
The federal government was about the right size when it was mostly funded by the excise tax on alcohol. And Prohibition would not have been possible if the income tax hadn’t been introduced to replace the missing taxes from booze.
If you exempt the first $20K or whatever, you still have voters who are not sharing the burden that they vote onto others. And it is tricky to administer the exemption without continuing to have the IRS monitor and regulate our behavior.
An option is to have a sales tax that exempts the bare necessities, like food. A sales tax hits all voters, and they all would have an incentive to vote for low-tax politicians.
Another option is No direct federal taxation. Instead, the Feds could take a percentage of whatever each state collects. The CATO Institute calls this Reverse Revenue Sharing. Then the states can compete for taxpayers by implementing better tax systems.
You are 100% correct. One of the many problems that the US has is that too many folks have absolutely no skin in the game. What do they care if tax rates go up, down, or sideways?
I like the sales tax idea, but the exemptions would be tricky. Food is certainly an "essential" but I'll bet you'd soon have things like GM cars and anything made in Chicago declared "essentials" as well.
No, I know you weren’t saying that...the comment was directed to the libs...
Past history says this is wrong. As long as a Prebate exists and can be changed by law, Congress can screw around with it to their own advantage. How long to you think it would be before the lowest income group start bitching because the rich also get the prebate? Congress would do something--probably bad--to change it.
I agree, but then it wouldn’t be the Fair Tax any more.
It would be the “Earned Income Tax Credit plus National Sales Tax” tax or something similar.
As the saying goes, “Perfect is the enemy of good enough.” I’d settle for a Flat Tax. But I want the Fair Tax.