Regarding Tax Reform: An open letter to my congressman

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David A. Trott
1722 Longworth House
Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Mr. Trott,
   I write in opposition to the proposed reform of the United States income tax. The reform seems meant to decrease the impact of the tax — that is, to reduce its burden on those to whom it applies. This is not something any sensible American would want.

   The income tax is designed to discourage profligate exploitation of public resources for private profit (see — and the skewing of public policy in order to facilitate such profits. It does so by obliging those enjoying such gains to return a portion to the public treasury (as well as to subject themselves to an onerous and obnoxious intrusion into their otherwise private affairs) — see

   What gets taxed more gets done less, as everyone knows.

   At the same time, the tax does not fall on the economic activities of Americans who are NOT exploiting public resources (see

   This contrast encourages a general preference for privately-financed and privately-enabled activities, and a minimization of “tragedies of the commons,” both of which tendencies are obvious public goods.

   Further, Americans want pretty much all activities that ARE subject to the tax done less, strictly on their own merits, so to speak (or, to put it more finely, their lack of merit).

   We want, for instance, an end to the explosive growth of government. We want no more excess and overpriced munitions; we want a reversal of the competitive advantage enjoyed by national banks over union state and private alternatives, and we want a free market for consumer goods rather than the distortions resulting from subsidies and restrictions on competing products or suppliers.

   The optimal and time-tested mechanism for discouraging the exploitations of federal privilege by which all these undesirable — even ruinous — afflictions on American liberty and prosperity are accomplished is the heavy hand of the income excise.

   Because the income tax is inapplicable to non-privileged activities (see, a high rate of tax is the perfect mechanism for ensuring that a good portion of the legitimate expense of government is exclusively borne by those enjoying an extraordinary financial benefit from its existence. Indeed, a high rate of income tax ensures that those special beneficiaries of the state are, to the greatest extent possible, themselves the source of the public wealth upon which they draw. This strongly incentivizes efficiency and restraint by both the exploiters and those whose public policy decisions permit the exploitation.

   All told, then, high rates of income taxation are a public good. I urge you, as my representative, to oppose all efforts to reduce the current rates of tax or any other burden of its imposition on the specialized community to which it applies.

   Instead, I call upon you to draft legislation by which the rates would be raised.  Even at current levels, the tax is manifestly failing to adequately discourage undesirable levels of taxable activities or to cause the return of adequate portions of the resulting private profits to the public treasury, as evidenced by the necessity of yet another raising of the debt ceiling last month.

   I thank you for your time and attention.

Respectfully Yours,
-Peter E. Hendrickson

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