Republican members of Congress are racing to pass the tax reform bill so that they can get home in time for Christmas, and it looks like it is actually going to happen. The key is the Senate, and at this point it looks like there will be enough votes, but we have seen surprises before. As I have stated previously, I would have voted for this bill, but nobody should pretend that this fixes our tax system. The tax code is still going to be more than two million words long, the regulations are still going to be more than seven million words long, and Americans are still going to spend billions of hours and tens of billions of dollars complying with the most complicated tax system on the entire planet.
A conference committee has been merging the tax bills that were passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and even though we could still see some minor changes, it looks like the major parameters of the final bill have now been agreed upon. The final bill will be known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and we are being told that it will be one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history. Unfortunately, the impact on our tax bills will be relatively minor, but at least it is a step in the right direction. The following summary of the major provisions in the final bill comes from AOL…
At this time of the year, millions of Americans are rushing to file their taxes at the last minute, and we are once again reminded just how nightmarish our system of taxation has become. I studied tax law when I was in law school, and it is one of the most mind-numbing areas of study that you could possibly imagine. At this point, the U.S. tax code is somewhere around 4 million words long, which is more than four times longer than all of William Shakespeare’s works put together. And even if you could somehow read the entire tax code, it is constantly changing, and so those that prepare taxes for a living are constantly relearning the rules. It has been said that Americans spend more than 6 billion hours preparing their taxes each year, and Politifact has rated this claim as true. We have a system that is as ridiculous as it is absurd, and the truth is that we don’t even need it. In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in all of U.S. history was when there was no income tax at all. Why anyone would want to perpetuate this tortuous system is beyond me, and yet we keep sending politicians to Washington D.C. that just keep making this system even more complicated and even more burdensome.
Over the past ten years, approximately five million people have moved away from the state of California, and as you will see in this article this mass exodus appears to be accelerating. So exactly why is this happening? Once upon a time, it seemed like almost everyone wanted to live in California. The nearly endless sunshine, the incredible weather, the pristine beaches and a booming economy motivated millions of young Americans to move out there to pursue “the California Dream”. In fact, in the early nineties I actually explored the idea of moving out there myself. But now the California Dream has become a nightmare. Californians are being taxed to death, traffic in the major cities is absolutely horrific, violent crime and gang activity are on the rise, millions of illegal immigrants are putting an incredible strain on social support systems, and the ultra-liberal government in Sacramento seems to have gone completely insane. In addition, the state faces constant threats from earthquakes, wildfires, droughts and mudslides, so it is quite understandable why so many people feel motivated to leave and never come back.
It was more than 150 years ago when one of our greatest presidents roamed the earth. During the start of his reign at the helm of America’s most-coveted, yet most formidable positions of authority, he taxed away at issues that bequeathed the everyday citizen. He struck the hammer for a better environment. Daily, he toiled over the most passionate, longest-fought struggle of his time: Slavery.