Taxing Foolish Statements

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If a recommendation by a panel of tax experts gains traction, contentious arguments over tax reform will be a thing of the past. The proposal: A tax on foolish statements.

“The potential increase in revenue is huge,” says one member of the panel. “Even better, the idea already has bi-partisan participation.”

Proponents believe taxing foolish statements is a no-brainer, in part because the tax base is so broad. To support that claim, they point to research showing that 99.9% of Americans utter foolish remarks at least once a day. The statistic is stable across all income brackets, as well as race, gender and educational backgrounds. Certain locations, such as Washington DC, report higher levels of foolish statements than the rest of the country.

Analysts calculate replacing the existing tax code with the new plan would raise enough revenue to wipe out the US budget deficit within the next three months. One more plus: The plan is simpler than those touted by presidential candidates, all of which would generate substantial revenue if foolish statements were currently taxed.

The foolish statement industry, which has seen explosive growth over the past few years, strongly opposes the measure, saying the tax would be passed on to consumers, who would end up paying a higher price per remark. According to a spokesperson, the industry takes the position that foolish talk has always been cheap, and should remain so.

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