Poje furnishes a sweeping critique of the current American systems of law, economics, and governance, and proposes an alternative.
According to Poje (Painless, 2008) the American “socioeconomic legal political system,” or SELP, is so thoroughly plagued by “inherent flaws” that it can’t be remedied by a series of targeted tweaks—it must be entirely replaced. At the heart of the problem is a gratuitously impenetrable complexity: The legal system is so “arcane” that no citizen understands it, and each citizen is necessarily involved in some illegal activity. Likewise, the tax system is similarly labyrinthine and seems chiefly designed to pit citizens against one another in a contest for resources. Finally, a burgeoning matrix of social welfare programs is doomed to fail to treat citizens equally, again inevitably stoking the flames of class conflict. Instead of a well-functioning society, Americans are subjected to a “Byzantine pineapple,” which the author attempts to explain this way: “Those who get the tax money are those inside the pineapple of government dole, while those outside the Byzantine pineapple get deterred by the outer defense mechanisms of the pineapple.” It’s never entirely clear what precisely he means by this demarcation—the principal point seems to be that such a system necessarily involves favoritism. The author proposes that the current tax system be replaced by a flat tax—he includes a macroeconomic formula to determine its specific nature—and an equal monthly stipend for all citizens. He recommends the termination of need-based government programs, though the government would pay all medical bills. Poje anticipates that a streamlined SELP, including a government hamstrung by tight spending limits, will produce ample tax revenue to cover the new costs. The author also outlines the establishment of a corporation to steward these changes, which includes the marketing plan for a movie that further educates Americans about the SELP he advocates. Poje’s critique is sensible if familiar—it’s hard to argue that the current tax regime isn’t monstrously bloated. However, his study offers hyper-general declaration in the absence of detailed analysis—a more rigorous empirical appraisal would have been more helpful than a chapter on the way his “lifetime of accomplishment” justifies his expertise. Also, while he admits he has no background in film, he seems quixotically convinced his will be a big hit and “it will succeed where Ben-Hur failed.”
Overly broad declamation and triumphalism crowd out scrupulous analysis.