A FAIR TAX FOR PROGRESSIVES
by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.
[July 11, 2007]
[HollywoodInvestigator.com] The income tax has four detriments: (1) We are forced to pay money to the
government; (2) filing the tax forms invades our privacy, forcing us to
reveal how much money we have, how we got it, how we spent it; (3) it's
a hassle to keep records, then hire accountants or attorneys to make sure
we filed correctly "under penalty of perjury"; and (4) the exemptions and
deductions discriminate against gays, singles, childless couples, and others
on spending and lifestyle choices.
Conservatives and progressives both insist that taxes are necessary. (Conservatives
are supposedly anti-tax, but how else would they pay for their global,
decades-long "war on terror?") But let's suppose they're right. Wouldn't it be better if the feds could collect that money without invading
our privacy or fostering discrimination (issues that progressives supposedly
care about), and without hassling people with burdensome record-keeping
and form filing?
If you agree, the answer is to replace all federal taxes with a national
sales tax (aka the Fair Tax, not be confused with the Flat Tax, which
merely a variation on the income tax). This one national sales tax
could replace federal income, payroll, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative
minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self- employment, and corporate taxes.
How high must a national sales tax be to replace all those? FairTax.org estimates 23% (on top of state and local sales taxes). That sounds like
a lot of extra money to pay at the store each time you shop. But
the average person now pays 33% of his or her income to taxes (Tax Freedom
Day came on April 30 in 2007, according to TaxFoundation.org). A 23% sales tax isn't much to abolish all federal taxes. It still leaves
you 10% for state and local taxes.
Consider the benefits:
* No invasion of privacy. No record-keeping or filing with the IRS.
* No tax attorneys or accountants to hire. More money for you.
* Transparency. You'll see what you and everyone else pays. That's bad for those who want higher taxes -- hidden taxes are easier to
raise -- but good for those who value an informed democracy over smoke-filled,
* No discrimination. Straight singles and gays complain that marriage
currently brings tax benefits denied to them. Childless couples complain
that tax laws favor couples with children. A Fair Tax won't end the
culture war, but it'll lower the volume.
* Isn't a sales tax unfair to poor? No. The plan proposed by FairTax.org provides a "monthly rebate (prebate) for every registered household to
cover the consumption tax spent on necessities up to the federal poverty
* Won't you lose your deductions? Yes, but so will everyone else. I realize that your deductions are justified, whereas everyone
else's are "special interest loopholes," but you've got to give a little
to get a lot.
* Won't tax attorneys and accountants lose their jobs? Some. If that's your concern, let's make the tax code even more burdensome.
* Won't IRS agents go hungry? Never. They'll be redeployed
to policing the new sales tax. Since there are fewer retail stores
than individual taxpayers, the ratio of agents to tax-filers would improve.
* Less cheating. Not only will there be more IRS agents per tax-filer,
but there will be fewer taxpayers overall. Ever get mad because others
were cheating, while you were too scared, and it just wasn't fair? Under a Fair Tax, your neighbors can't "beat the system" and leave you
to pick up Uncle Sam's tab. Feel better?
* Won't this burden stores with additional record-keeping? Not much. Most stores already keep records for state and local sales taxes, plus
various corporate and business taxes, some of which will be eliminated.
* Won't lobbyists lose their jobs? Yes. Corporations will no
longer hire six-figure lobbyists to bribe Washington politicians to create
tax "incentives" (i.e., loopholes). It's very sad.
* Won't this mean fewer contributions to politicians? Yes. If they're unable to create tax loopholes, fewer people will want to bribe
them. Very, very sad.
* Wouldn't eliminating all those filing requirements make it harder for
the government to monitor terrorists, drug lords, and other Bad People? Yes, but in a free society, it's supposed to be hard for the government. That's why we have the Bill of Rights and search warrant requirements. I realize Red Chinese cops have it easier.
Most of these points are my own. I plucked some stats from FairTax.org,
but I don't speak for them, nor they for me. What's important is
you speak to everyone, from talk radio hosts to your elected representatives,
and explain the benefits of the Fair Tax to them.
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