The original federal government was supported by tariffs - but international and inter-state. Most goods that came from overseas were finished luxury goods- and the founders wanted to encourage local manufacturing. So in effect our original taxation system was a tax on the "rich" - those who could afford to move large amounts of goods over the borders the Federal government controlled - and those goods, because of the extra tariff, often were the goods purchased by the "Rich"
If you read Madison's notes on the Constitutional Convention you will find that the Founders did feel that the rich should bear a larger portion of the burden of government - because the primary goal of that Government was to protect property. The Rich had more property to protect, and therefore should be paying a higher proportion of the cost.
Now the government doesn't protect that wealth, it redistributes it. Its a criminal enterprise where the productive are extorted under threat to provide for the beneficiaries of the syndicate. We pay you off, you elect us and we rinse and repeat.
I have asked liberals why they don't split their dinner checks in the same fashion? Why do they not add up the earnings of everyone at the table and demand that they pay a fair share based on their percentage? I also asked how often he would expect his "rich" friends to go to dinner with "poor" friends, knowing that every time they would pay 98% of the bill? Than I ask about other people at the restaurant-- why don't they demand that the bill be split across every patron in the house the same way? After all, its not like you are friends with every taxpayer? And why not across every Restaurant in the city? And they why not every citizen - even if they didn't choose to go to a restaurant that night. You will find quickly that in their own transactions, Liberals define "fair" as "paying for what they consume" if they are the one paying - its only when they are "getting something for nothing" that "fair" is suddenly defined as ability to pay- regardless of actual consumption. They will then usually argue that "they pay taxes too" and they don't get any return when the poor are helped. I usually point out that it is THEY who want to help the poor using government programs, where I know that only 30% of every dollar goes to help anyone, 30% is wasted in fraud, and I choose to give to organizations where 90% gets where it is going, but I can't - because they just forced me to support it THEIR way by force. What they get is THEIR WAY - without having to bear the full cost of it. Its not different than ordering caviar and expensive wine at the restaurant, and then demanding the a rich man across town, eating at home, pay the majority of the cost of his meal.Of course liberals are "happy to pay their taxes" - they get what they want, this fabulous meal, but they get it at 1/10 the price because they force others to subsidize it. The rich man across town who pays, consumes none of it - he gets nothing HE wants - he is paying for what you want, and are unwilling to pay the full cost of yourself.
Taxation is required in any case. The compliance costs are probably the most important thing to look at - because they create millions of monkey jobs that don't actually contribute to wealth production. You pay a guy to do you taxes, and what is produced? Its Make-Work. You are digging holes to fill them in again. They are cost centers for the society. A flat income tax with no deductions is going to have the lowest compliance costs. Then a Graduated flat tax. A flat vat tax will be the next lowest - for while it requires millions to become tax collectors, again the calculation is simple and collection is simple.
The IRS just sent us a tax bill for $70K. We failed to file a form. They in actuality owe use $400. Was was the cost of trying to enforce the tax code here? MichelleO spent nearly a day figuring out our mistake. What other production could she have been engaged in. How much time did the IRS spend finding the mistake, and how much time will it take for them to enter and approve of the correction? What if they don't? What if we go to court over it? The costs are huge - and they produce NOTHING anyone can use.
In a properly functioning government, I think the Founder's principle still holds - that the rich "consume" more of the protective services, the courts, etc, than the poor will, and therefore SHOULD pay more. A sales taxes takes care of that implicitly - the rich buy more of and more expensive goods. I do not think the cost of government to the poor should be zero. They should pay something. And if they don't - you should get no vote. If you can't pay your own way in life , then you are not grown up or responsible enough to vote. Say that to a liberal and watch their face go red.
(edited by IDP to eliminate 6 inches of white at the bottom of post)