Press Release: Mobilization for Incremental Tax Exemption

mitelogo
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07/01/16
POC Darcy G. Richardson
media@themite.org

ELECTION 2016: TRANS-PARTISAN TAX CUT TIME?

July 1, 2016 – Liberals and progressives hate regressive taxes. Conservatives and libertarians, well, they just hate taxes in general. Common ground from which well-sowed seeds might bring forth a bountiful political harvest? Activists behind the Mobilization for Incremental Tax Exemption, aka the MITE, think that’s possible. The ad hoc, trans-partisan project backs two proposals:

Passage of legislation mandating an annual, regularized increase in the personal exemption to the federal income tax of no less than $5,000 each year until AT LEAST such time as said exemption reaches $100,000 per year; and

Passage of legislation creating a “FICA floor” — an exemption to the personal/employee/self-employed share of FICA taxes on gross adjusted incomes of less than $15,000 plus $5,000 per dependent, with a mandated annual regularized increase of no less than $5,000 per earner and $500 per dependent until AT LEAST such time as said exemptions reach $100,000 per earner and and $20,000 per dependent.

“We’re offering a simple, bottom-up solution that disconnects the concept of tax cuts from all those other political fights over spending priorities and social values,” says Thomas L. Knapp, a Libertarian Party activist and one of the MITE’s founders. “Everyone gets a tax cut. We all benefit, the poorest among us most of all. And it’s a proven solution — the personal exemption already exists and Congress raises it periodically anyway. The MITE program just puts that process on rails and extends it to payroll taxes as well.”

The MITE’s election-year priority is getting candidates for Congress and the presidency and vice-presidency to pledge support for their program. “We’re not endorsing or supporting candidates,” says long-time progressive and third party politico Darcy Richardson. “We’re just providing a mechanism for candidates and the public to discover each other on the common ground represented by these two just and rational tax-cutting ideas. Year after year, Republicans call for cuts to the top rate, Democrats demand that ‘the rich’ pay ‘their fair share,’ everyone calls for simplification and solutions, and nothing ever really gets done. Here’s where the can stops getting kicked down the road.”

Through July, the MITE will recruit state coordinators to canvass congressional candidates, with an eye toward pressing for and publicizing candidate support as the November election approaches. Their web site is located at themite.org.

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About Caryn Ann Harlos

Caryn Ann Harlos is a paralegal residing in Castle Rock, Colorado and presently serving as the Region 1 Representative on the Libertarian National Committee and is a candidate for LNC Secretary at the 2018 Libertarian Party Convention. Articles posted should NOT be considered the opinions of the LNC nor always those of Caryn Ann Harlos personally. Caryn Ann's goal is to provide information on items of interest and (sometimes) controversy about the Libertarian Party and minor parties in general not to necessarily endorse the contents.

5 thoughts on “Press Release: Mobilization for Incremental Tax Exemption

  1. Shane

    I assume this proposal gets rid of PEP and Pease?

    For “high” earners (which is bullshit), personal exemptions are phased out and the value of deductions are decreased in 3% steps.

    Without wiping out PEP, this proposal does zip for some folks.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    PEP/Pease comes and goes (passed in the 1990s, phased out in the early 2000s, brought back a couple of years ago). Presumably most people who favor the MITE proposals would also favor getting rid of PEP/Pease for good, since the idea is to make an increasing amount of base income exempt, period, end of story …

    … but no, the MITE proposal ITSELF doesn’t get rid of PEP/Pease. The idea is to keep the whole thing fairly close to “single issue.” In fact, we considered whether to include the “FICA Floor” part or to make it completely “single issue” by only letting it be about the personal exemption.

    The closer to genuinely “single issue” something is, the fewer people are excluded from supporting it at the very beginning.

    For example, the MITE doesn’t address “how to pay for” the implied possible revenue losses (assuming we’re on the left side of the Laffer Curve). In theory, libertarians, progressives, conservatives and New Dealers might all like the bare bones MITE proposal, but libertarians might call for across the board spending cuts, progressives for taking any revenue loss out of “defense” spending, conservatives for cutting “entitlement” spending, New Deal type Democrats for just borrowing more since we “owe it to ourselves,” whatever.

    The MITE proposal doesn’t address the top rate, whether or not to go to flat rate, etc. It addresses one thing and one thing only — exempting increasing amounts of income, from the bottom up, from federal income and payroll taxes.

  3. Shane

    Gotcha and that makes sense. The proposal is already a bit in the weeds as far as the public is concerned and bringing up PEP or Pease would distract even more.

    Pease is a surtax and thank to Republicans is back in play. As far as PEP, people should realize that many small business owners (especially) get screwed as they get no personal exemption, child tax credit, etc.

    There is no simple way to retain company earnings (set aside a payroll reserve, etc.) without getting hit with a massive tax penalty. Gotta love it.

  4. Thomas L. Knapp

    I don’t think the proposal is in the weeds for the public. Simplest version:

    Everyone who pays gets a tax cut. You get a tax cut. The server at your favorite restaurant gets a tax cut. The janitor at the school gets a tax cut. And yes, Donald Trump gets a tax cut too. The poorest stop paying federal payroll taxes altogether because we’re cutting taxes from the bottom up instead of messing around with adjusting the top rate or coming up with new deductions for special interests or whatever. We’re. Just. Cutting. Everyone’s. Taxes.

    Where it gets more complicated than that is OUTSIDE the proposal, i.e. “do we pay for this with defense cuts, entitlement cuts, or more debt?” and “what about all the weird garbage like PEP that we’ve layered on top of stuff?” and so forth. THOSE concerns are someone ELSE’s problems, because we are concentrating on this one very narrow specific thing.

    Will it catch fire at the grass roots and among activists across the political spectrum? I don’t know. Will bunches of candidates for federal office pledge to do it and use it as a campaign talking point? Again, I don’t know. A few of us (two libertarians, a progressive and an “upper left whig” who’s sort of the centrist of the bunch — the steering committee would love to have a progressive woman from the west coast to round it out to five for better gender, ideological and geographic balance, but we haven’t found anyone yet) just decided to throw it out there and see if we get any buy-in. I think the cash investment so far is in the $20 range, and a time investment in the low to mid double digits of hours. If it catches on, more time, maybe more money. If it doesn’t, well, we’ll decide at some point that it’s time to let it die and do the next thing (perhaps individually as dropouts or as a group to shut things down).

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