This column reports on a mix of items of interest to Charles in 1986 such as not showing “proper” respect to the flag, The Meese Report, The Challenge Disaster and what he refers to as Bonzonomics, a reference to President Reagan’s tax policies.
As Curley explains Reagan’s manipulation of the income tax, and a corresponding increase in the corporation tax, he notes that the lowering of individual tax rates will certainly get people all excited because they can “see” their tax bill go down.
But Curley points out that a tax on corporations is merely a way to hide the taxes individuals pay. Corporations are not some entity separated by individuals. Corporations are made up of individuals and he explains how this will only shift the tax in ways not easily seen:
“The taxes won't be paid in the form of money shelled out directly by the individual. Instead, the shareholder will see smaller dividends than otherwise, or a lower capital value on his or her assets. The employees may see a lower pay, but this is not likely.
Far more likely is that the employee won't see profits invested in new products to sell later on, profits invested in new capital equipment to make the employee more productive or profits invested in new company infrastructure to make the venture as a whole more productive.
No, the employee and shareholder won't see any of this. And what one doesn’t see taken away one doesn’t miss. Just as the purpose of income tax withholding was to make the payment of income taxes less painful, so also the real "reform" of this tax bill is to shift the tax burden of the federal government to make it less apparent, and so less painful. And once again the American people are engaged in an anatomical feat as they swallow this nonsense hook, line and form 1040.
But you'll be happy to know that Parliament has recently repealed the tea tax on the North American colonies.”
What I hate most about manipulation of tax policy is how politicians use it to put people into groups and classes which creates and “us” and “them” and enemy imagery among neighbors. There are “evil” corporations who don’t pay enough, there are “evil rich” people (anyone who makes more money than you do) who don’t pay their “fair share,” etc.
One other point Curley makes in his column that never occurred to me was about the economic effect of the income tax. He says at the time the income tax was being proposed, the very wealthy really just faked their resistance because an income tax isn’t really about the rich paying more because if you already have wealth, it’s not income. It’s real effect is on those less fortunate who work hard to accumulate new wealth.
I wondered if Mr. Curley was still around writing so I did a google search and found him. Gotta love the internet. He occasionally writes for a freedom-minded organization in Wyoming, The Wyoming Liberty Group.