Friday, November 30, 2007

The following letter was sent to me by a fellow FairTax Volunteer:

Dear Ms. Strassel:
I will answer your question as to why the Thompson tax proposal went into the media black hole. Its that his proposal is nothing new or, in your words, 'the most creative tax proposal yet in the race for President.' It is just more of the same. Keep the current code and make little nips and tucks here and there that will never be enacted, or if they are, will be modified every year thereafter. Your statement tells me that you have not been paying much attention to this race, or the tax issue, in any detail.
Mike Huckabee has come from below nowhere to a real contender in very little time with very little money, despite being attacked by the mainstream conservatives and the Club for Growth. Why? The FairTax. In case you don't know what it is, the Fairtax is the only creative tax reform proposed by any candidate. It is by far the most supported tax reform in Congress today. While several other candidates support the Fairtax, Huckabee is the only one that has made it one of his core issues and talks about it all the time. His support is far beyond his share of the Christian Right, which is divided among several candidates. It is because millions of Fairtax supporters are getting behind him. Americans for Fair Taxation, the group and economists that researched and put together this comprehensive proposal, is non-partisan. But ordinary Americans who support the Fairtax are going with the leader on this issue, Huckabee. Americans realize what the pundits and media elite do not, that the Founders knew the evils of taxation on income and practically eliminated it in the Constitution. They realize that the 16th Amendment was the worst mistake in American history. They realize that the 1986 tax reform, while better than nothing, soon turned into an even worse nightmare. They know that the current code corrupts everything it touches, which means all otherwise honest Americans and otherwise honest Members of Congress. They know that they will never have their privacy back until they don't have to share the most intimate details of their personal and business lives with the Federal and State governments. They know that the Fairtax will eliminate the hundreds of billions of compliance costs, will lower the price of exports, that will return trillions of dollars to America, and will unleash the American economy for the shackles of the income tax.
I hope you will write again on the tax issue in a balanced way, and address the Fairtax and Mike Huckabee's support of it. You can learn all about the Fairtax at, or by calling me or Americans for Fair Taxation. My number is 602-291-4805, and AFT is 1-800-Fairtax. As you so eloquently point out, we cannot count on CNN/Youtube or any of the uninformative television media to bring this issue to the fore in a meaningful way, so we need outstanding journalists and writers like yourself to get the ball rolling. I enjoy all your articles.
Gary H. Burger Jones,
Skelton & Hochuli, PLC
Phoenix, AZ 85012


Anonymous said...

The following rebuke of Bruce Bartlett shows the problem with the "flat tax" (which, secretly, is a VAT!) Use it as you wish to point out the basic deficits with the Thompson, Giuliani "flat" tax plans. Thompson's (Giuliani's) plan will not solve the core problem of hidden taxes; this is at the core of the coming economic meltdown spoken of by Kotlikoff. (We had better get the FairTax passed soon, or we're all going to be for some very, very difficult times.)


(Paraphrased) Reply by Dan R Mastromarco (LL.M., Taxation, Georgetown, principal in the Argus Group, adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, International Management Program, and research consultant to Americans for Fair Taxation - to:

"A National Sales Tax Doesn’t Add Up" by Bruce Bartlett, December 29, 1999

Many engaged in true tax reform find Bartlett-type attacks exasperating, if not embarrassing. I'd like to convey perspective of both flat taxers and sales taxers who believe that such attacks are counterproductive, but first provide some political history by which to frame said perspectives.

For years Conservatives have posited that a VAT is bad policy (when liberals were discussing it), fearing it would become additional to an income tax (it was called a "money machine"). Circa 1980, conservative intellectuals touted Hall-Rabushka "subtraction method"[ H-R ] VAT which taxed business value added at the business side and labor value added at the labor side. Unlike European VATs (identical in scope), H-R became favorite of Dick Armey and Steve Forbes. It eliminated steeply progressive tax rates and tax on savings. Because of the prior VAT criticisms, H-R was packaged as the "flat tax" and is sold as an income tax to this day, rather than the VAT that its DNA characterizes it as being.

Some conservative commentators have called for the repeal of the 16th Amendment and for the adoption of the flat tax, (despite the fact that it is styled as a direct tax and could not be adopted with such repeal). Mr. Bartlett has called the national sales tax [ie, the FairTax] a VAT (which it isn't), castigated VATs as evil, and has said that sales taxes have become VATs in Europe (which they didn't). In the next breath, he "throws his arms around" the flat tax (which is a VAT). He quotes Bill Gale that the [FairTax] would have to be imposed at 60 percent, but glaringly fails to recognize that if the two bases are the same, he would have to impose that rate for the flat tax to be revenue neutral. In truth, all economists know that the two plans differ NOT in economic effect or base, but in administration.

An income tax taxes savings and investment multiple times. Both flat tax and FairTax are neutral as to savings and investment, tax income only once, and are both consumption taxes. Both are single rate taxes, have nearly the same base, and would improve the U.S. standard of living. Neither redistributes wealth.

While some have even suggested that hey are the same plans under different names, the flat tax taxes value added at each stage in the production process, but the FairTax prefers to tax it when it is added up at the end and eliminate the need to make everyone a taxpayer and collector.

Substantive commonalities between the flat tax and FairTax doesn't mean that there are NO key political and policy distinctions that could be exploited in pitting one against the other. If FairTax supporters wanted to retaliate in response to the Bartlett-type critique, they would have much material with which to honestly do so:

• The flat tax will make small firms and farmers pay the tax even if they have no profit
• The flat tax is opposed by many small business groups
• The flat taxers implicitly support big government by disguising even more of the overall tax burden as the current law
• The flat tax has been kicking around for nearly 20 years
• The flat tax makes everyone a taxpayer and collector, while the FairTax exempts 115 million filers [2000 figure] from ever having to deal with the IRS
• The flat tax is regressive, but the FairTax would enable everyone to keep his full paycheck.
• The flat tax has not only stalled, it has lost public and Congressional support.
• The FairTax is instantly understood, while even some proponents of the flat tax don’t understand it
• There are no transition rules developed for the flat tax and they would be very difficult to craft
• The flat tax taxes exports and relieves imports from tax
• The flat tax confuses tax reform with temporary tax reduction and makes both twice as hard
• The flat tax retains the entire income tax apparatus which erodes as quickly as you can say, “tax bill”

FairTaxers could advance these truthful points without resorting to bigotry associated with a cultic religious organization. However, for the most part, FairTax supporters have chosen not to attack the flat tax, but rather accentuate the commonalities between the plans - despite the above-noted differences. The reason is that, in the battle for tax reform, the real enemy is our current system.

Income tax advocates look down upon the articles of Bruce Bartlett with smug chortling, as Bruce is doing their work for them. The IRS and the liberals who want an income tax to ensure (1) taxes can be raised without the American people knowing it, and (2) wealth can be redistributed from the middle class to the poor, do not even need to fight us - we're killing ourselves!

Perhaps Mr. Bartlett believes that the flat tax will help elect Republicans, effect tax reform, and provide tax cuts; however, the real effect of his criticism is to divide conservatives, to delay serious national consideration of tax reform, and to fertilize the roots of the income tax.

( Source - Pass it on; may republish in whole or part. - Ian)

Bobbie said...

Lots of good information here, Ian. Thanks.