on Individuals & Families
revolutionary doctrine holds as a statement of principle that governmental
and economic bureaucracy should always impose as little a burden on the individual as
possible-- in order to lessen the common citizen's hassles.
This is in keeping with the utilitarian perspective common in Berg
policy-making, which is to consider the immediate effect of a policy on
the happiness of the people.
dependable way to analyze the people's lives in this regard is to examine
how people spend their time, and how new policies or practices would change how
they spend their time. This emphasis on time seems natural to
Bergonians as a practical outcome of the concern for the length of the
work day and the work week. Anyone who has ever had to hassle with
filling out U.S. tax forms, as well as insurance forms, knows these burdens
that government and corporate bureaucracy impose.
Thus, except for the
do not pay income
taxes at all--
it is too much bother and hassle! People also pay no personal
property taxes for their personal possessions, including
automobiles, campers & boats.
Here the land is collectively owned by all the people, with
democratic state organs allocate land and buildings to
individuals and collective enterprises, under a system of law. The allocation of
productive land should properly depend upon actual use (i.e. the purpose of
the collective labor) and social need, not capital, so no one may accumulate land like
capital. Likewise the allocation of the residential stock
should depend on need, possession, and family ties. Individual use
and need must of course be consistent with the social welfare of the
community and the environment, thus possession of land depends not just on
need and use, but on compliance with the environmental laws.
Thus, people don't "own" the land they use, and
therefore people don't pay taxes on the ownership of real property.
Instead, everyone pays
"rent" to the local government for their leaseholds, so that one's housing costs
and tax are the same thing. This is perhaps one of the most
striking differences between living in Bergonia and living in a capitalist
Fiscal & Monetary Policy
Bergonians have worked hard to achieve stable
and solvent socialist institutions,
and earnestly desire to keep them reliable and healthy. Workers
generally are motivated to work collectively to build prosperous
enterprises, but all the incentives and abilities to do so are disturbed if the system overall is unstable and
Since money is the symbolic device by which
the economy translates labor into value, the system of money must be able
to accurately reflect the value of labor over time, free of
fluctuations that distorts the reflection. Therefore socialist government
must protect the value of the workers' labor by providing a stable currency.
Otherwise, inflation corrodes worker
productivity and confidence, and frustrates all competent planning.
There is a central bank that manages
the currency and controls interest rates. Additionally, inflationary
and debt pressures are reduced by the requirement that all
organs of government must keep balanced operational budgets.
state & local
development banks, and the credit union banks (associated usually
with syndicates) provide regular sources of capital to cooperatives with
moderate stable interest rates that are regulated by the central bank.
The commercial courts
provide reasonably fair and speedy resolution of contract and business
disputes among cooperatives & collectives, so that commerce exists within
a framework of clearly enunciated and enforceable legal duties. The
socialists of Bergonia disclaim capitalist conservative claims that the
law of individual rights (hence modern democracy) was a by-product of
property law. That rather stands the matter on its head to
Bergonians, who instead argue that law and rights usually serve the cause
of the propertied class. In any event, any society consisting of
independent, interacting individuals or organizations needs at the very
least a system of mutual expectations based on custom, if not hard solid
law. Socialist society benefits no less than a system of law,
including property and trade law-- in order to protect socialist property.
Fiscal policy and accepted business practices
reflect conservative values-- hence the requirement of balanced budgets and
rigid accounting and auditing standards for all organizations in the
To this end, the
accounting profession is an independent, self-governing
professional body. Like all professions in Bergonia, entrance and
professional licensure is contingent upon an objective test of
competence. Accountants form their local, regional and national bodies
democratically, and these professional bodies, in conjunction with the
independent accounting schools at the various university, meet and adopt
Uniform Accounting Principles for all forms of socialist organization,
including government and the military, and even advisory standards for
accounting of religious organizations. The standards of course include
professional ethics and auditing standards. Uniformity raises and
equalizes performance expectations. Uniformity also facilitates
on Cooperatives & Enterprises
traditional Bergonian outlook and new revolutionary doctrine both
regard the collective enterprise as the main unit of economic activity,
not the individual. Thus the main unit subject to taxation should be
the collective enterprise, not the individual member.
Therefore every economic
enterprises must pay a payroll tax. It is the equivalent
of a tax on the "workers share" of the collective
enterprise's income. It is not a
"withholding" from individual pay, so no part of the payroll tax
is in anyway chargeable to individual workers, since no individual ever
become liable for taxes. Instead it is seen as
a tax on the collective's net income, before the workers pay
themselves. The payroll deductions are calculated with a simple flat percentage of the net amount the workers pay to themselves.
This withholding is primarily devoted to the Basic Income Fund and the
Nat'l Health Funds, but some of the money goes into general revenue.
utilitarian perspective encourages the government to focus on
collection, which compels policy-maker to identify within the economy
"flow points" where everyone's economic activity is easily
discernable and taxable at a single basic point in the economy. In
the medieval economy toll roads and tolls at city gates were such points,
as was taxation on the production of grain. .
Taxes & Value-Added Taxes
After the revolution the socialists imposed sales taxes as a way of
putting the government back on its feet. The Congress imposed a
uniform national sales tax in 1937 with a system of sharing the revenue
with the states. The tax generally hovered at around 10-13%.
Then a system of value-added taxes were developed in the late 1940s, again
with national & state sharing the revenue. This allowed for the
national sales tax to reduce to about 7%.
However, as part of
the Big Green Tax Reform of 1987, the commonwealth retail sales taxes were abolished.
The states received the power to impose sales taxes, and to replace the
income they were about to suffer under the new arrangements nearly every
state imposed 3% general sales taxes.
value-added taxes were also abolished.
These taxes could be justified as labor taxes, since every addition of
"value" to the property represented the expenditure of labor, and a
current of socialist thinking holds that to tax labor is to introduce an
"alienation," another authoritarian expropriation of the workers' "surplus
value." Besides, abolishing the value-added expropriations made work
easier for all the nation's collectives and enterpises.
Instead, the Congress enacted a series of sales
taxes on targeted categories of goods, with revenues channeled
directly into specific programs, based upon the social costs generated by
each category. Each tax tries to correlate need with actual use.
The Green Tax Reform --
the new system
of Energy Taxes
the Green Tax Reform placed a series of taxes
energy, which in turn most directly affected the entire
environment. Heavy taxation on energy would encourage
environmentally friendly parsimony. Heavy taxation on energy would
be a tax spread equally across all segments of society.
1. Taxes at the source of energy
flowing into the commonwealth's general revenue
fund, are charged upon energy
(a) severance tax on coal and other
(b) a wellhead tax on petroleum
and natural gas,
(c) a tax on petroleum imports, and
(d) a tax on
The tax rate for each kind of
energy depends on the carbon units contained therein (much as Al Gore
explained in his book Earth in the Balance), which directly
correlates with carbon emissions.
These taxes are a
decent and easy way to broadly and equitably tax all economic activity at a
single collection point, involving the simplest system and the fewest
numbers of people worrying about it.
Of course the costs these taxes impose upon the producers, the costs get
incorporated into the price charged to the first buyer, and gets passed
down the line. But this happens universally, so everyone in the
economy and society shares relatively equally in the cost.
2. Taxes at the point of energy consumption.
Taxes intended to discourage consumption by increasing
overall cost to the consumer, are here often called
the "retail energy taxes."
(a) The most prevalent of these is the flat-rate
tax on retail electric bills, per megawatt. No sense imposing
graduated rates on energy consumption.
of the targeted sales taxes are designed to punish energy use, including
sales taxes on all products with internal
combustion engines. Cars, trucks, bulldozers, lawnmowers
and garden trimmers are taxed according to their
fuel efficiency rating.
The gasoline tax finances highway maintenance,
since the tax is directly correlated to actual use, wear & tear on the
roads. Since the occurrence of auto crashes directly correlates with
the volume of cars on the highway, a portion of the gasoline tax is
diverted to augment the health insurance funds by funding trauma units,
emergency rooms and other service systems evoked by car wrecks.
Excise taxes on certain commodities
with high "social costs." These taxes frankly do not have much to do
with energy, but inasmuch as they adopt the same factoring of social costs
as do all other taxes, they are like all other excise taxes.
"Dangerous instrumentality" excise taxes are imposed on firearms,
all-terrain vehicles, dirt bike motorcycles, jet skies.
Likewise liquor and tobacco products carry taxes that go in part to the National Health
Funds, particularly to buttress the allocations made for cardiac, pulmonary,
oncology funds. With the same rationale, Bergonians also tax
solar production is not taxed at all, which has greatly enhanced the
incentive to employ solar water heaters and solar cells. Likewise
other forms of on-site energy production are not taxed, so that a factory
pay no tax when it recaptures heat generated by its furnaces, boilers,
smelters or whatever, and uses it either to drive turbines or motors, heat
water or do something else.