Today I heard a podcast on economics that was a followup to one I did some weeks ago. Recall if you will when the NPR guys got a half dozen different economists, liberal, conservative, libertarian, together and asked them for ideas on which they could all actually agree? And they did! They came up with half a dozen ideas that made economic sense to all of them. The only problem of course was that these ideas were so radical and so apparently politically unpalatable that they wouldn’t sell. Well, in today’s podcast they got two professional political consultants who said they could construct sales pitches that would sell them!
Now I know full well that there’s no time to promote these ideas and educate the public about them for this cycle, but hope springs eternal and now that we are in the home stretch of the political campaigns I thought it might be beneficially mind-stretching to consider them and how they might be presented, not just because they are eminently rational, but because the discussion itself reveals something that ought to give us all pause: as voters we are being manipulated. There’s no way to avoid the pressures, the sound bites, the one-liners, the 30-second or even 15-second ads that tug the heart strings or pander to patriotism, and all the rest of it, but perhaps we can become a little more rational about the process if we simply realize how the tricks are done, and listening to this 23 minute podcast can, in my opinion, do just that. You will hear one of the consultants state that “voting is an irrational act.” Wouldn’t it be nice if that weren’t true? Maybe it can be for some of us.
Just to whet your interest (I hope) and your memory (perhaps), I will list the radical ideas below, and as you read them, remember a principal rule all the economists agreed on: when you tax something, you get less of it, and of course the reverse is also true. (Please hold your laughter and cat-calls until you’ve listened to the podcast. This is entertaining – trust me.)
1. Eliminate the home mortgage income-tax deduction.
2. Tax employer-provided healthcare benefits the same as salaries.
3. Eliminate the corporate income tax entirely.
4. Eliminate all individual income taxes and payroll taxes.
5. Enact a carbon tax on energy (coal and oil products).
6. Enact a consumption tax to provide the necessary government revenue.
Listen to the podcast HERE.