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NEW - In 2016 the 2-4-8 Tax Blend will become 2-4-8 Tax Choice
The "choice" would allow all taxpayers to choose an income tax rate between 8% and 28% paired with a net wealth tax rate of 2% going down to zero. Wealth taxes paid would reduce Estate and Gift taxes (also set at 28%). This would encourage wealthy individuals to pay some net wealth taxes as a form of inexpensive life insurance.


C - Corp
4% VAT
8% Income

Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2012

Stanford University Professor Makes Conservative Case for Net Wealth Tax

The Conservative Case for a Wealth Tax [summary]

Professor Ronald McKinnon of Stanford University has opined that a 3% Net Wealth Tax (with $3,000,000 deduction) is needed, "as a necessary political condition for much needed rationalization of the income tax" in an effort to flatten the rates. He favors a net wealth tax, in part, because, "any attempt to impose higher marginal tax rates on even moderately high income earners-as President Obama wants for families earning more than $200,000 per year-can lead to losses in economic efficiency and even to losses in ... government revenue if high earners work less or seek out more loopholes and tax shelters".

NPR Radio, On Point Update, January 19, 2012

Professor McKinnon took to the radio to explain that it was the Wall Street Journal editors and not him that used the term "Conservative" in thr title of his oft mentioned article. He also has modified his position to recomend a $6,000,000 deduction rather than a $3,000,000 deduction noted above. He also explained that he advocated a concurrent flat (or flatter) income tax rate to boost the economy but did not disclose the numbers during the one hour radio broadcast. See On Point for more details and coments to the NPR broadcast.

Comment to the Wall Street Journal [response]

There is “[a] Conservative Case for a Wealth Tax” (WSJ, Jan. 9, 2012) but Stanford University Professor Ronald McKinnon has not formulated it well. In addition, his suggestion for a 3% wealth tax on top of the current progressive income tax is not very conservative.

My “2-4-8 Tax Plan” is something a true conservative might embrace.

In August of 2006, I made the following suggestion to the President’s Advisory Panel on Tax Reform: tax Net Individual Wealth at 2%, Consumption/Sales at 4% and Income at 8%. I have subsequently come to realize that the flat rate nature of the taxes provides the remarkable ability to simplify the tax proposal and make most of it disappear from view. I consider it the flat rate miracle.

Sales taxes can be implemented by including the tax in the listed price (as in gasoline sales). When the retail tax is already included in the posted price, the consumer sees more accurately what will be paid and is less apt to feel the pinch of the tax (4% under the 2-4-8 plan).

A flat rate income tax with no deductions can also work in the background. Unlike the current complicated income tax form (with so many rates, adjustments, credits and deductions) the 2-4-8 plan would rely primarily upon a payroll tax (8% under the 2-4-8 plan). Because the rate applies to income from all sources (including dividends and interest on bank accounts) the financial institutions would pay the 8% tax so the stockholders and depositors would not have to. Thus, for the vast majority of taxpayers with income only from employment, dividends and interest; the tax would be prepaid and the filing of the return would be nothing more than confirming an online summary prepared automatically by the IRS computers from data supplied by the employers and financial institutions. A more detailed income tax return would generally be necessary only for businesses (corporations, partnerships, self-employed individuals and landlords) where the computation of taxable income requires an accounting of business expenses to reduce gross revenue.

Under 2-4-8 most individual taxpayers would not perceive any sales tax or income tax at all. The perception and the reality is that the taxes would be paid by business. The rates are extremely low but still sufficient to produce more than 60% of the revenue needed by the federal government. Of course, even a streamlined federal government needs a little more than a mere $1.5 trillion to get by. The 2% Individual Net Wealth Tax would produce another trillion dollars which would be more than enough to start paying down the national debt. A comparison of the 2-4-8 plan with the plans of the 2012 presidential contenders offers solid proof of the financial soundness of this approach and why it has appeal to people of all political spectrums. See my website at www.TaxNetWealth.com for details.

Many who oppose net wealth taxes fail to understand the legal-economic definition of income as “the sum of consumption and any change in net worth” according to University of Pennsylvania Tax Law Professors David Shakow and Reed Shuldiner (described in the seminal Symposium on Wealth Taxes published in 2000). Tax rates can be applied to any base (income, consumption and/or net worth) to raise government revenue. Today few legal scholars believe that there is any constitutional impediment to a net wealth tax or federal consumption tax and many consider the 16th Amendment “to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived” to have been unnecessary. Concerns regarding the valuation of net wealth for tax purposes are genuine but exaggerated in light of near universal access to internet databases. 

Lastly, I write to suggest that many wealthy persons (and many who want to be) would welcome a modest 2% net wealth tax in exchange for significant reductions in individual and corporate income tax rates.


Eugene Patrick Devany

Massapequa Park, NY




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