Turkey tax trot

On tax reform, let us make it fair and simple. Let's find a solution that makes both conservatives and liberals happy.

1. Eliminating all itemized deductions.

2. Establish a standard deduction that reflects family size not just marital status.

3. Allowing corporate charitable donations to be counted as a business expense since in most cases they are just a form of advertising.

4. Treat all realized capital gains as ordinary income, just like interest and dividends.

5. Treat all perks paid for by an employer on behalf of their workers as ordinary income for the employee. If an employer pays healthcare costs (including health insurance) or life insurance or free meals for an employee, that employer has used some of the money he could have given the employee as wages. Interestingly, that forces the employee to buy the insurance or eat meals the employer choses. Not treating these perks as income gives a tax benefit to most employees of large businesses that is not available to most employees of small businesses. Yet businesses with fewer than 50 employees provide jobs for about a third of all U.S. workers.

Finally on the issue of standard deductions, we might consider the standard deduction per family member should be set at $5.4 million a year divided by the size of Trump's family in 1990 (no need to adjust for inflation). This more than $5 million amount was the "living allowance" for him and his family that was agreed to by his creditors as Trump sought to avoid bankruptcy in 1990. Obviously, that living allowance is a fair and conservative amount, especially since I am not suggesting an inflation adjustment. Every American should be entitled to a fair living allowance.

Craig Landgren

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