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Chapter 13
Of the total tax burden, what percentage should be borne by corporations and businesses, what percentage by a personal income tax, and what percentage by a personal inheritance tax?

Once the demos has set the overall size of the federal tax burden in the previous issue, it must take the first step in setting the distribution of that burden among the three sources of tax revenue at the federal level: a tax on corporate and business annual gross revenue, a personal income tax, and a personal inheritance tax.

(Actually, in the demos these processes would not follow one after another in a step-like manner. Once the demos was created and set in motion its voting would be an ongoing process; it would be a never ending activity. As some ever changing small portion of the millions of demos voters altered their votes over time, both the size and the distribution of the tax burden and all other demos issues would be simultaneously and continuously adjusted over time.)


It can be and has been argued that we should not tax businesses, only private individuals. It is argued that in taxing businesses we are only taxing ourselves indirectly anyway since businesses merely add the extra cost to the price of goods and services. This is true. But there is good reason for such a tax. The wisdom of giving the demos the power to tax corporations and businesses will become apparent when the next demos issue is discussed.


The wealth of private individuals has two faces, annual income and total accumulated wealth.1 The demos would gain adequate control over the distribution of the tax burden of individuals by taxing both of these sources. Annual income is taxed using a personal income tax. Total accumulated wealth is taxed at the time of an individual’s death in the form of an inheritance tax paid by those inheriting all or parts of the deceased’s estate.2 (Could these two taxes, income and inheritance, be scrapped and replaced by an annual “Wealth Tax,” something like the annual property tax at lower levels of government but applied to one’s total accumulated wealth? Would such a change be doable? Would it be desirable? At any rate, for the discussion in this work the personal income tax and the inheritance tax are used.)


This issue’s question would be formed exactly as written in the chapter’s title: Of the total tax burden, what percentage should be borne by corporations and businesses, what percentage by a personal income tax, and what percentage by a personal inheritance tax?

This demos issue would require a different kind of display page and voter response than the previous issue. The total tax burden, 100%, would have to be divided somehow among three sources. The simplest way to present the issue would be in the form of a pie chart. A pie chart is a circle that is divided into wedge-shaped slices, in this case three slices representing “Corporate and business tax,” “Personal income tax,” and “Personal inheritance tax.” Each of the three slices of the pie would represent a certain percentage of the whole; the three percentages would add up to 100%; and each pie slice would be proportionate in size to its percentage.

The demos member would indicate for a pie slice whether to increase, keep as is, or decrease the size of the slice (and, therefore, the percentage portion of the whole represented by the slice) by repeatedly mouse-clicking the slice. Each mouse-click would toggle the color of the slice to the next color: green for “increase,” yellow for “keep it as is,” red for “decrease,” and back to green, etc. The member would repeat this toggling process for each slice, the size of which he or she wanted to change.

As with the previous demos issue’s page and all demos issue pages to follow, this issue’s page would have an appropriate display of pro and con arguments and buttons leading to further explanation and discussion of the issue.


The demos electorate’s ability to shift the tax burden among three sources of revenue—corporate, personal income, and personal inheritance—would give it a tool of sorts to affect the behavior of the three groups. If businesses were treating employees and consumers in a shabby way, then the electorate might be inclined to shift more of the tax burden onto business. If the wealthy seemed to be squandering rather than investing wealth, then the electorate might shift more of the tax burden onto inheritance. Thus, the electorate would have a rough carrot and stick to affect to some degree and in one more way the world in which it lives.


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1  The apologists of the current political-economic system never tire of using what may or may not be reasonably accurate statistics to show that if the annual income of all of the wealthiest people in America were entirely taxed away the resulting sum could not remove the poverty of the many at the economic bottom of our society. This devious argument distracts from a gross inequity in our society even more profound than that of annual income, total accumulated wealth. Obviously, the wealth gained by the wealthy in one year could not alleviate the deep poverty created by their long history of taking and hoarding the fruit of other people’s labor generation after generation. The wealthiest few in America sit atop and hoard a vast mountain of our nation’s accumulated wealth that could be used in part to greatly ease and even permanently remove the suffering at the economic bottom and leave an only slightly less wealthy class at the top.  1

2  It has recently become the rage among the wealthy, wealth-serving politicos, and the fools they manipulate to call the inheritance tax by the name “death tax.” As is done with tiresome repetition by politicians to hide the true nature of a proposal or action, a loaded word or phrase is used to appeal to emotions, thus avoiding reason. “Death tax” and “save the family farm” indeed! Most folks are well protected by a very large exemption in the inheritance tax. What the wealthy want is to hoard every last penny of their vast accumulations of wealth generation after generation. Laughable, but this hypocrisy may well work. This is just another good reason why a demos is necessary in our government. Most people are not stupid. They have a lot of common sense. But too many people are not able to untangle the cunning, devious lies that are forever plotted and executed against them by their supposed “representatives” and “servants” in the current American plutocracy.  2