Brain Canvas

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GSA ChallengePost: Update the Tax Code

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Update the Internal Revenue Code

The United States Internal Revenue Code, generally called the tax code, is the collection of laws that govern domestic taxation.  This includes income tax, gift taxes, payroll taxes, estate taxes and excise taxes passed by the United States Congress.  The current tax code is structurally descended from the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, which was updated in 1986 but retained the same basic structure.

The United States government has been running a budget deficit for most of the last decade, which has robustly expanded the national debt after a brief period of decline.  Money comes in to fuel government expenses – money going out – and both sides of the ledger are incredibly complicated economically as well as politically.  Lobbyists, interest groups, institutional actors and ideological communities fight so viciously over what should stay, what should be brought in, and what should be cut that it seems practically impossible to solve the public debt issue on spending terms alone.

The aim of this challenge is to establish a new and complete tax code that can meet the current spending needs of the US government and simultaneously provide for a clear and sustained deficit reduction within five years, with the aim of a surplus within ten years and finally the eventual major reduction of the public debt.  It must also reasonably ensure that people will still be able to provide for themselves and that investment and spending will be encouraged enough to prevent economic contraction.

Solution Requirements

  • A fully fleshed-out comprehensive tax code which
    • Can provide the revenue necessary for the US government to operate
    • Will initiate a sustainable trajectory of deficit reduction within 5 years, reach surplus within ten years, and eventually significantly reduce the public debt
    • Will not render anyone incapable of providing themselves with life’s necessities and will not force economic contraction
    • Can be taken directly, without need for semantic or structural edits, to the floor of  the U.S. House of Representatives for presentation as a bill to become law


The government has pledged to reward successful entries.  Who knows – maybe you’ll never have to pay taxes again!

Intellectual Property

The final document for this challenge will, when implemented, be placed into the United States Code.  Your name will go on the bill.  Welcome to the history e-books.



Written by Preston

June 30th, 2010 at 5:11 am

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