I just launched a Kickstarter Project. The goal of this project is to raise funds to publish a book to be called "The Object Tax" to present an original tax reform proposal.
This tax reform proposal suggests that Congress launch an Open Source Project to create a computer program to collect taxes. The reform is named after Object Oriented Programming which was used to create graphical user interfaces including Apple Computers, Windows, Smart Phones and a thing called The World Wide Web.
In the current tax system the government withholds taxes from workers' paychecks. Workers file an annual return to get some of the money back.
The Object Tax would create a computer object called a Tax Aware Account as an alternative to withholdings. People who choose this option would receive their entire check into a tax aware account. They would pay taxes when they withdraw money for spending. The accounts would include all the information needed to accurately calculate a progressive income tax. The reform would eliminate payroll withholdings and need to file an annual tax return.
Lets say you receive a check for $1000 and your progressive tax rate was 20%. When you withdraw the money, the program would send $200 to the government and give you $800 in cash.
This reform effectively transforms the income tax from a production tax to a consumption tax. As the Object Tax is simply an alternative interface to the existing income tax, it can be implemented without the disruption involved in other schemes like the FairTax which seeks to replace the income tax with a national sales tax.
I admit, my primary reason for writing this book is that I dislike the FairTax. I wish to have a book with an ISBN and Library of Congress number so that I can challenge politicians who've been seduced by the FairTax with a better reform proposal. The Object Tax transforms our current tax code into a consumption tax without disruption.
Because my goal is to challenge supporters of the FairTax, much of the book will include chapters on why the Object Tax is a better path to reform than the FairTax.
The book will also touch on the many interesting ideas that would arise if Congress were to launch an Open Source Project to reform the tax code. The project would bring up fascinating conversations about the role Open Source Programming should play in implementing government policy, along with conversations about important issues such as individual privacy in the information age, the need for a better taxpayer identification system, the flow of money in the economy and more.
My Kickstarter Project seeks to pre-sell 40 books at $20 a pop. The kickstarter project would raise enough funds to pay for the Ruby publishing option at Outskirts Press (including an additional $99 to submit the work to the Library of Congress). Of course, after I publish the work, I will have to buy forty copies of the book from Outskirts Press; So, $800 isn't quite sufficient to cover the full cost of publishing book, but it is close enough for government work.
I will post chapters of the book on this blog during the kickstarter campaign.
Kickstarter uses an all or nothing approach to funding projects. If I fail to reach my $800 goal, I get nothing and I won't publish the book. If you like the idea of creating Tax Aware Accounts as an alternative to the current withholding system or if you are interested in the role of Open Source Programming in implementing government policy; you might consider supporting the project. If you make a pledge for $20, you will get a signed copy of the book. If I fail to reach my goal of forty pre-sold books; well, the pledge costs nothing and the book goes unpublished.
NOTE: I will post many of the chapters of the book on this blog. So you can read the idea without having to part with any cash.