2The Philosophy of Design and AnalysisIn order to judge something one must refer to two conceptual entities:1) the purpose of the ‘something’ that is being judged, and 2) a set of criteria which can be used to assess theachievement of that purpose. In fact, these same conceptual entities must be known in order to designsomething as well.As simple (hopefully) as this sounds, these principles are, nevertheless, widely disregarded outside of theengineering discipline. A thing cannot be judged (or designed) unless a concept of its purpose has beendeveloped. One cannot hope to ascertain if this purpose has been met unless a set of (objective) criteria has,or can be, developed by which to measure fidelity to its stated (or assumed) purpose.Therefore, in the design process, the conceptual purpose is developed, which generates a set of goals andobjectives that are to be met. The conceptual purpose would have a philosophical basis, but it should be ableto manifest this in definable goals and objectives.So, you begin with a concept of purpose, develop a set of criteria to design around and test it against, anditerate this process until some acceptable level of consistency between what the purpose is and what thedesign actually produces, is met.To develop a set of criteria to measure, or test, the design process, the set of goals and objectives derivedfrom the process above are used to develop tests that will determine if they have been met. The tests, of course, have to be relevant. Testing for unnecessary things is irrelevant, and not testing for relevant thingsis misleading.The analysis process is the reversal of the design process. Whereas in the design process you go from the ideato the concrete, in the analysis process you go from the concrete (the ‘thing’) to its generating idea.The purpose of following this procedure is to insure that you get what you want. Fidelity to the goals andobjectives of the design process must be met in the ‘real world’ in order to ascertain if the purpose has beenachieved. If you don’t get in the ‘real world’ what you say you want on paper, something has gone wrongin the process.Understanding the Present Tax SystemTo design a tax system the above process should take place as well. Except that our present system stemsfrom a political and philosophical basis that is impossible to achieve. It is replete with misconceptions andinconsistencies that make any statement of purpose fraudulent.If one analyses the present tax system from an economic perspective, with an objective eye, it will becomequite apparent there is no definable, consistent philosophy to it. It is quite understandable, however, if oneanalyses the system from a political perspective.The tax system, as it presently exists, is designed to meet certain political priorities first and foremost. It isnot primarily concerned about whether these priorities satisfy a certain set of criteria that will serve thenational interest. This point is crucial in understanding the failure of the present tax system.How can I come to that conclusion? First, let
s look at some numbers.