WASHINGTON — Donald Trump inadvertently may have hit on a solution for paying for the $2 trillion tax cut he and his fellow Republicans pushed through Congress to benefit rich people and all those corporations that now pay no tax at all.
Let alone the $22 trillion national debt.
Trump wants to charge people fleeing for their lives from repressive regimes a fee. Brilliant! The United Nations says asylum seeking to save your life is a universal human right; Trump says that if people want to escape to America, they should darn well pay for it.
This, of course, opens all kinds of avenues for enhanced revenue raising.
If you want to vote, pay a fee! Why should just any law-abiding citizen in a democracy be permitted to vote?
If it is such a privilege, one might say, Americans should be willing to pay for it. It might be like a condo association where the more square footage you have and the bigger your HOA fee, the more sway you have. Thus, your vote counts more the higher your fee to cast your ballot.
If you want to be warned about a dangerous storm such as a hurricane or a tornado, pay a fee. It costs money to track those things, so if you are willing to pay a fee, you might get early warnings. Of course, if you live in Oklahoma or Xenia, Ohio, home to particularly catastrophic tornadoes, you might have to pay more. In this case, climate change does open more opportunities to government opportunism; extreme weather seems to be happening everywhere.
Perhaps the street in front of your house has a particularly wicked pothole. Maybe you should pay a fee to go to the head of the line to get if fixed. Some cities already have figured out that if you want the street lights in your neighborhood turned on, you pay a fee.
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Want to file your income tax return (which, of course, you have to do by law)? It might be time to pay a fee to get those free forms from the library or post office or to download them. (But forget paying a fee for a phone call for reliable tax help from the IRS. No such thing.)
Possibly, the Trump administration might charge us fees for being informed of pending epidemics, such as, say, a measles outbreak, caused in part by parents (once encouraged by candidate Trump) who refuse to get their children vaccinated, thus exposing many to a vicious disease.
Pay $50 and find out who is a sex felon in your neighborhood.
It is well-known that special interest lobbyists with large war chests to spend on their preferred candidates get legislation passed in Congress all the time. But perhaps it is time for ordinary citizens to pay fees if they want Congress to pass some piece of legislation they advocate. What if everyone in favor of a law keeping guns out of the hands of killers paid a $1 fee...?
What if there were fees required of public officials when they lie? For example, a head of state who lied to the people more than 10,000 times in 800 days. Or an attorney general who lied when he said he didn’t know what special counsel Robert Mueller thought of the false summary of the report on the interference of a hostile foreign government in our 2016 election.
How about this? If you want a certain elected official removed from office, you get everybody you know (a crowd sourcing type of thing) to contribute to an ouster fee.
We might pay off that one-percenters’ tax cut, lickety-split.
Or, let us all vote, while we can, while it matters.