I'm sure by now that most everyone has heard about General Electric not paying one red nickel of income taxes on more than $6 billion dollars in earnings for 2010. And, I bet that most conservatives reading this commentary are anticipating me to brow beat GE and other corporations for being tax "deadbeats" by not paying their fair share. Well, hang on to your hats, because I'm not going there. In fact, it is my opinion that any taxation of income or earnings in a capitalistic economy is downright, well, un-American.
My wife and I have been entrepreneurs for the past 26 years. No one has ever guaranteed us a dime. Sometimes, we have had to work seven days a week and 18 hours a day in order to make enough money to make payroll, pay our bills and provide for our family. It hasn't been easy. There have been exhilarating mountains and depressing valleys along the way. However, we wouldn't have it any other way. We live for the challenge. We like being our own bosses. We work hard and we play hard. We are representative of what makes the American economy work. Small business owners create more jobs collectively than all the Fortune 500 companies combined.
However, the one thing that really ticks us off at the end of the day is that we have to pay government a tax on our small bounty. This is simply wrong-headed and regressive. No wonder everyone, not just the GE's of the world, are given incentive to find ways to reduce their tax liability by hiring armies of tax accountants and lawyers. Our income and corporate tax laws are so broken and corrupt that the only way to fix them is to abolish them at all levels of government and replace them with a national consumption tax. Individuals and businesses should be more than happy to pay a consumption tax that is included in the cost for goods and services that are purchased. On the flip side, if you don't consume goods or services, you don't pay the consumption tax so those with lower incomes, the disabled, seniors, etc. would be excluded. You don't buy, you don't pay.
The way that technology has evolved allows for point-of-sale purchases and online banking to the point where I imagine a consumption tax being paid real time would allow all levels of government an opportunity to get their piece of the consumption tax pie now rather than later. Think of the savings. No need for the IRS. No need for tax accountants or attorneys. Smaller, more efficient government. Let's face the truth capitalist brothers and sisters. It has been and always will be about the money. Let's give incentive to people by allowing them to keep their income and earnings. Let's tax consumption.
• Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills. He lives in south Chandler.