Monday, April 13, 2009

Federal Income Tax

Taxes are due soon. Being cheap and pigheaded I still do my taxes by hand rather than do the sensible thing and use a program. This is harder than it should be because of all the pointless complexity politicians have added. The effects of phasing out personal exemptions and itemized deductions could be largely achieved by changing the brackets and marginal rates slightly. Also it would be much simpler to favor capital gain and dividend income by just excluding half of it. And it is irritating to spend a lot of time computing the regular tax when your liability is actually determined by the alternative minimum tax (AMT). I won't even go into all the provisions inserted to favor special interests. I don't really know how to prevent this sort of thing but it imposes substantial dead weight costs on society.

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