Hey everyone, grab your flannels and Doc Martens because it's (apparently) 1994 again! Perhaps you should rock the hell out to "Mr. Wendal" or some Candlebox in order to fully appreciate the time-altering experience that is Terry Paulson's masterpiece, "Time for CA Flat Tax." The flat tax? Hey Terry, Steve Forbes called and wants his dad's collection of antique gay porn stale-ass idea back. Anyone want to come over later to watch Melrose Place? OK, I've had my fun with the early 90s jokes. But seriously, the party that hasn't had a new idea since the Taft years has no use for concepts like time. Conservatism is the Rock of Gibraltar of ideologies, changing at a glacial pace, one grain of sand at a time, over centuries. Its ideas are simultaneously old and new, outdated and cutting edge. So why not drag the flat tax out of its stable for one last romp around the track before it takes its final trot down to the glue factory.

Ready? Let's do this.

CA Governor Jerry Brown is pushing for serious budget cuts and a tax extension plan, but Republicans are blocking his efforts to bring his tax plan to a June vote.

Well since they did only get half of what they wanted as the minority party – substantial budget cuts – I can see why they would push back.

They’ve seen what happens to Republican politicians who vote to raise taxes!

Ha ha! Isn't it funny how the party now consists entirely of rabid, teabagging idiots unwilling to listen to anything resembling a reasonable argument and bloated plutocrats playing them like the morons they are? It's like watching Andrew Carnegie and a couple of hobos in a Rolls-Royce on the way to a fried mayonnaise eating contest featuring the works of Vivaldi performed by Insane Clown Posse.

Without such a vote, more cuts will be needed. Instead of trying to get Californians to vote for another "temporary" tax extension, why not try an innovative proposal he once believed in. To be specific, if Gov. Brown wants to get Republicans to sign on to giving Californians a choice that will help balance the budget, let him propose a flat-tax like he did in his 1992 Democratic presidential campaign.

"Innovative" does not mean what you think it means, Terry. But as a shipping magnate and oil baron, I'm intrigued by the idea that a 50% tax cut for high earners could be the answer. Tell me more.

Steve Forbes, author of "How Capitalism Will Save Us: Why Free People and Free Markets are the Best Answer in Today's Economy," was a Republican presidential hopeful in the same year.

Boy was he. How did that work out?

Since then, both men have discussed the flat-tax concept and how it could work in the country and in California. Forbes said, "If done right, it would profoundly and positively change the economy in California. A low single-digit rate would unleash creativity," and boost the beleaguered state economy.

And now we're apparently taking advice from Steve Forbes. What, was Bob Dornan busy? Pete Wilson got deleted from your speed dial? Grover Norquist's mouth was too full?

But why should all Californians vote for such a plan?

This is an infomercial quality setup. Only worse. Terry Paulson is the guy who asks the host "But how can the Magic Knife cut paper-thin slices of this soft tomato right after bisecting a human femur lengthwise?" and looking on in mock amazement as the host explains the revolutionary engineering technology that makes Magic Knife so amazingly sharp, cut after cut.

1. As FDR said, “Taxes…are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society.” It’s time for a truly “fair tax” that lets all pay the same “dues” rate!

He was actually paraphrasing Oliver Wendell Holmes, but more to the point what in the hell does that quote have to do with the subsequent statement? And do Real Professional Columnists use exclamation points? Here, let me take a crack at my own Terry Paulson column:

1. As the Marquis de Condorcet said, 'Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.' It's about time we coated our naked bodies in creamy alfredo sauce and played jai alai!

I'm a natural.

With a uniform sales tax, when you buy more, you pay more. With a flat tax, the more you make, the more you pay, but all pay the same percentage!

"Two Magic Knives PLUS the genuine mahogany storage case for just $19.95? Who authorized this???"

Seriously, I'm warning you about the "!" usage. Serious writers do not use those embarrassing Fail Marks to convey enthusiasm. If you need to end it with "!" to get the point across, re-write it.

2. A flat tax replaces itemized deductions with one standard deduction (based on dependents) that is large enough to allow the poorest to pay no taxes and the rest to pay the same percentage on all earned income above that deduction. Although the popular deductions for mortgages or contributions would end, the lower tax rate would leave more for taxpayers to spend and donate.

A plan that allows "the poorest" to pay no taxes…sort of like our current tax scheme? Ah, but the Flat Tax alone has the added bonus of giving everyone in the top brackets a massive tax cut an opportunity to "spend and donate" so much more. Now I see the benefits.

3. Max Baucus said, "Tax complexity itself is a kind of tax." With the hours and dollars invested in figuring out taxes and finding tax-evasive strategies, imagine the joy of filling out your state taxes on a postcard. Simplicity is in! Let’s make taxes simple and lead the way for a national flat-tax.

This argument baffles me. Utter and complete bafflement results.

First, I am a reasonably intelligent non-expert in tax related matters. I fill out a full 1040. It takes me an hour, tops. My wife, prior to marriage, was filling out a 1040EZ. It took five minutes. Unless you are A) functionally illiterate or B) an American partner in a limited liability corporation based in Botswana, this just isn't that hard. FREE computer programs do it for you. If you get anything wrong, the IRS corrects it for you. We are not asked to split the atom here.

Second, how does flat tax = simplicity? We will need the exact same bureaucracy to administer it, unless of course we're going to go on the Honor System for people to report all of their income and assets.

4. Tired of watching special interest lobbyists vying for exceptions and special breaks? Taking away tax complexity makes their involvement unnecessary. Former press secretary and columnist Tony Snow said in a USA Today column, "A 'pure' flat tax–no deduction beyond the standard exemption–would…turn the Washington establishment on its ear. It would guarantee fairness and neutrality by demanding that everybody above a certain income level pay the same tax rate on each new dollar earned. Economists call this the marginal tax rate. It would starve the lobbying community by eliminating its reason for being." This would turn Sacramento on its ear!

I swear to god, one more exclamation point…even the warming presence of former Bush Press Secretary Tony Snow won't be enough to save you, TP.

The goal of taxation is not "fairness" or "neutrality." The goal of taxation is to fund the activities of government. And "fairness", when applied to the idea of treating the poor, working, middle, and upper classes the same, is called SOCIALISM, isn't it?

5. With everyone paying the same flat-tax rate, more voters would be cautious about electing politicians who waste taxpayer money on inessentials. When it’s your money they’re playing with, you pay attention.

I promised my dad I would stop swearing so much on here, but this makes absofuckinglutely no sense whatsoever. None. Are tax dollars currently collected from…someone else?

When it’s your neighbor’s money, why not elect big-spenders!

Again, no sense. Not one lick. Even by Townhall standards this is nonsensical. The logic at work here is the kind I would expect to find upon emerging from the other side of a wormhole, or the kind that would make sense to me if I cleaned my ears with a power drill.

6. If you want private sector growth, vote for a flat tax!


Currently, the more productive people are, the more they’re taxed.

Yep, nothing says "productive" quite like being Sam Walton's kid. Nothing contributes to society quite like trading mortgage-backed derivatives. Wealth and productivity: they go together like peanut butter and Robitussin.

A flat tax removes the penalties for success and encourages everyone to be as productive as they can be. That means new small business growth and more jobs!

I appear to have underestimated Terry Paulson's zeal for using exclamation points.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: if the prospect of the marginal tax on your next dollar of income rising from 30% to 35% "discourages" you from "being as productive as you can be", maybe it's time to stop re-reading Atlas Shrugged and, I don't know, go camping or get laid or something.

Now that getting federal legislators from 49 other cash-strapped states to provide a Washington bailout for California’s fiscal mess is becoming less and less likely, it’s time for bold leadership!

Wow. I guess you still aren't deterred. I'll go home and put on a wing tip. We'll see how exclamatory you feel after that. Also, it's nice to see someone like T-Paul admit that "Washington bailout" is clearly the preferred option.

Proposing a CA flat tax just might unleash bipartisan support in a state known for a never-ending partisan budget impasse. It’s time to let the California Dream soar again on the wings of a flat-tax plan!

Oh yeah. I can just feel the wave of bipartisan support for this thing. It is massive and powerful, like an enraged shark.

This is one of the strangest things I have ever read. It starts from the flawed premise that this is a novel idea and then proceeds to make innumerable ridiculous, unsupported claims using the writing style that seems like a hybrid of the erotic writings of Ludwig von Mises and a Cathy comic strip. I can only compare this experience to the first time I saw Waking Life or listened to hippie jam band music: I have no idea what this was supposed to be, but irrespective of intent it's pretty clear that I am looking at a steaming pile of crap.