The 4,543 Word Tax Code

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

A conservative umbrella group called “Tea Party Patriots” unveiled its Contract From America today, composed of items that were the top ten vote getters from their members. Here’s my favorite:

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform

Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words — the length of the original Constitution. (64.90%)

I have to admit that I like the symbolism of the 4,543 word limit, but what I’d love is to see one of these geniuses actually write a modern tax code that length. And when they’re done, I’d like them to build a 747 using instructions no longer than those used to build the USS Constitution.

And that’s that. With this little bit of snark I’ve gotten through Tax Day without writing a single post about tax rates, tax shares, income tax vs. all federal taxes, who does and doesn’t pay taxes, whether people know how much they pay, or anything else related to the barrage of tax nonsense that assaults us annually on this day. Can’t we just celebrate the birth of Leonardo da Vinci instead?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest