We're almost at a flat tax anyways…

“How Progressive is the U.S. Federal tax system? A Historical and International Perspective” Emmanuel Saez and  Thomas Piketty, Journal of Economic Perspectives , 21(1), 3-24, Winter 2007

“Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States”, updated August 2009

With the estate tax currently suspended, the tax burden is currently shifted even further downward.  Online tax revolts aside for a moment, Carly Fiorina, the candidate challenging Boxer for the Senate, is also proposing to eliminate it permanently:

The plan also includes the elimination of the estate tax. “I think we should abolish the estate tax. The estate tax hits small businesses particularly hard. It hits agriculture particularly hard,” Fiorina said. “I keep stressing small businesses and family-owned businesses because they create two-thirds of new jobs in this country, they employ half the people. When you have a family-owned business that estate tax weighs heavily.”

“Small businesses”

March 8 (Bloomberg) — Lobbyists for small businesses, construction companies, manufacturers and other trade groups are racing the clock to convince Congress to reinstate the federal estate tax they’ve fought for years to abolish.

The National Federation of Independent Business and more than 40 business organizations wrote Senate and House leaders last week asking for quick action on a proposed 35 percent levy on inheritances worth more than $10 million per couple. The Associated General Contractors of America is urging members to contact lawmakers about the plan.

The groups have changed positions in a bid to head off higher taxes on the horizon: Unless Congress acts, current law would raise the tax next year to 55 percent on estates after they exceed $2 million per couple, from nothing this year.

“Clearly, we can’t live with what’s going to come in 2011,” said Chris Walters, an estate-tax lobbyist in Washington for NFIB, the trade group for small businesses.

And the wingnuts conflicted about social security and medicare are one thing, but this is something else entirely:

FROG JUMP, TENN. — But for one important detail, Stephen Fincher could be a perfect “tea party” candidate: a gospel-singing cotton farmer from this tiny hamlet in western Tennessee, seeking to right the listing ship of Washington with a commitment to lower taxes and smaller government.

The detail? Fincher accepts roughly $200,000 in farm subsidies each year.

With all of the screaming about “socialism” coming from these quarters, I suggest we at least show it to them.  A plan devised by two Swedish economists named Gosta Rehn and Rudolf Meidner would be a good start:

Rudolf Meidner’s share levy, unlike so many modern taxes, was extraordinarily difficult to evade. On the other hand it was not at all punitive. Unlike traditional corporate taxation, it did not subtract from the cash-flow or resources which the enterprise needed for investment. It diluted shareholder wealth without weakening the corporation as a productive concern. According to the original plan every company with more than fifty employees was obliged to issue new shares every year equivalent to 20 per cent of its profits. The newly issued shares — which could not be sold — were to be given to the network of ‘wage earner funds’, representing workplaces and local authorities. The latter would hold the shares, and reinvest the income they yielded from dividends, in order to finance future social expenditure. As the wage earner funds grew they would be able to play an increasing part in directing policy in the corporations which they owned.