The other day I was discussing Health Savings Accounts with a friend. I pointed out that my wife and I love our account, which saves us hundreds of dollars every month by allowing us to buy high-deductible insurance and pay out-of-pocket expenses pre-tax . I joked, “Now all we need is a Pet Savings Account for the vet, and we’ll be set.”

Obviously that’s not going to happen, but it occurred to me that a Universal Savings Account could include other important expenses — food, housing, clothing, etc. Call it the USA. Why should the working poor and middle class pay taxes on their basic needs?

Unfortunately, the country in which we live is no longer compatible with the values of the USA. Instead, the working poor and middle class are hammered with a net Social Security tax of nearly 15 percent, which makes it incredibly hard for many people to get ahead. Even if some are spared most other income taxes, they still pay all sorts of taxes on food, housing, cars, etc.

Ultimately, though, what we need are not new specialized tax breaks, but reductions in government spending, accompanied by general tax cuts.