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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Beginnings of FairTax


My first job was mowing lawns for neighbors too old or too lazy to do it themselves.  The money was welcome, Dad had died, Mom didn't have any extra money to spare, my older brother was my competition for what little she did have.  So if I wanted something besides food, clothing and shelter I had to earn the money needed to get it.  $2.00 to mow, $2.00 to trim, an extra buck if I raked.  At no time did I ever get less than promised, and never did any of my neighborhood clients take out any taxes for Uncle Sam.  That's how most Americans begin their understanding of the value of money; household chores to earn an allowance, Lemonade Stands, shoveling sidewalks, Newspaper route, etc.  Later when I worked part-time for the neighborhood grocery store, I was introduced to tax deductions... and I didn't like it.  "Why do I have to pay a tax on my income?"  "What is Social Security and Medicare, and why do I need it, I'm only 16?"  The government didn't earn that money, I did.  Today in some areas of America you need a license to operate a Lemonade Stand, liability insurance to shovel walks or mow lawns, and countless other ridiculous regulations on "kid businesses".  What happened to freedom in America?  There are too many meaningless trivial laws on the books that hassle, limit, and discourage young entrepreneurial ambitions. 

Life was simple when I was a kid.  Why can't today's kids have the same?  FairTax Dave

The Power to Change

If you were given the task to design a national tax code from scratch that was fair, transparent, efficient, un-intrusive, simple and constitutional; would it look like our current income tax code? 
Most likely not. 

Does our existing tax code meet these principles?
That was the challenge presented by a grass-roots organization known as "Americans For Fair Taxation" (AFFT) to many of our top institutions of higher learning in the mid-1990s.  Harvard, Boston University, MIT, Duke, Stanford and others participated in a privately funded research effort to design the best tax system for America.  After $22 million of investment by AFFT, academia's economic experts recommended a national consumption tax, with a simplified tax return based on family size to level the playing field.  It is important to recognize... Congress had no role in creating it, nor did tax payers fund the research.  Average Americans from every State, who were tired of dealing with our monstrous complex tax code and the unfairness it allows, donated their dollars to AFFT with the hope something good would be found...and it was. 

"The only difference between death and taxes is, death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."     Will Rogers

AFFT delivered their tax recommendations to Washington with great expectations, but received a cold response from many of our elected leaders.  Those who enjoyed the way Washington works were not excited about changing to a tax code that greatly restricts their power to tax.  Fortunately AFFT caught the attention of Georgian Congressman John Linder (now retired) who introduced it to Congress in 1999 as Bill HR-25.  Today Bill HR-25 is co-sponsored by 67 Congressmen and 9 Senators.
Congressman Rob Woodall (who was Linder's Chief of Staff and now represents the same district) has become the Bill's sponsor.  YouTube "Rob Woodall, FairTax" for videos of his House floor speeches.  Good insight to FairTax exposure in the House of Representatives. Here is a link to the latest FairTax demonstration in Washington.

In 2007 an open letter to the President and Congress was signed by 80 Economists, including a Nobel Prize winner in Economics urging our government to adopt the FairTax.  Summary below:

"The FairTax eliminates the tax bias against work, savings and investment, which would lead to higher rates of economic growth, faster growth in productivity, more jobs, lower interest rates, and a higher standard of living for the American people".

It was ignored.  Finally, on July 26, 2011 after hounding Congress for years, the House Ways and Means Committee held it's first hearing since 2000 on the FairTax.  It went well with promise of more hearings to come.   The goal is to get Bill HR-25 on the House floor for a full open debate and vote. HR-25 is the most studied congressional bill by private and government sources in modern history.  It's time for the light of truth to shine in Congress.  Americans deserve to know where their elected officials stand on the FairTax.  Contact your Congressman and Senators today and demand a fair hearing on HR-25 (and its identical version S-13 in the Senate).

FairTax is very much alive in Washington, but still meeting heavy political resistance.   Only the American public has the power to force Washington to enact the FairTax Bill into law.  Passing it will be difficult, but not impossible.  It will take educating several million Americans on why FairTax is the right solution, and possibly the salvation, to our country's financial problems.  Imagine the pressure millions of Americans can apply by calling, writing and e-mailing their Congressman and Senators encouraging them to support the FairTax.  Every Congressman's or Senator's town hall meeting is an opportunity to discuss FairTax.  If you want to help, contact for information.  The quote from George Washington after the signing of the Constitution is as true today as it was then; "The power under the Constitution will always be in the people..."  It's ours to use or lose.

FairTax changes the way we collect the same amount of tax, and changes where and when we pay tax.  The immediate advantage with a sales tax is "you only pay tax on what you buy and don't pay tax on money you save".  Also, FairTax is collected at the retail level only, no tax on tax on tax as we have in our current system, and no tax on used items.  The FairTax is included in the price of the product or service purchased.  The nice lady at the check-out line becomes a tax collector without even knowing it, and you don't have any forms to submit, or have the federal government taking money out of your paycheck.  Life would be simplified, you work for a dollar, you get paid a dollar, you take home a dollar, and everyone knows the rules.  Everyone who buys new things in America would pay the tax.  Foreigners in our country (an average 30 to 50 million) on work visas, student visas, on vacation or here uninvited, would contribute to our tax revenue every time they make a retail purchase.  Retailers are the tax collectors and responsible for forwarding the collected tax to the government...and... no IRS in your life !!!

President Ronald Reagan said,  "Our federal tax system is, in short, utterly impossible, utterly unjust and completely counterproductive, it reeks with injustice and is fundamentally un-American... It has earned a rebellion and it's time we rebelled..."

But things of utmost importance (like funding the federal government) are never simple.  Therefore, we will examine the details of the FairTax in logical progression.  Here are the four major actions of FairTax that will touch your life every day; #1 repeal all taxes on income,  #2 establish a national sales tax, #3 provide a monthly tax return, and #4 authorize the States to collect the tax.  Like pieces of a puzzle each exposes only a portion of the picture.  Each has desirable benefits plus unwanted consequences.  Only when viewed in it's entirety will the genius and logic of FairTax be revealed.  Warning: at some point FairTax will begin to look too good to be true.  Resist your natural instincts to turn away, or to strike out on a personal mission to find out what's wrong with it (that's what I did), or reject it prematurely.  Take your time digesting each detail.  If I can figure it out, surely you can.

The next few blogs will focus on how FairTax works and how it will affect your life. Until then, consider reading the FairTax Bill HR-25.  Now I have to admit, snuggling up to a congressional bill is not my idea of fun either, but you will be surprised how easy it is to read. Ask yourself; Is your future and that of your kids & grand kids worth a few hours of your time?  This is not a cheap-shot question.  It's their future liberties at stake more than yours.  Get started by googling "bill hr25", click on the print-friendly option and print a copy.  Oh, you may want a few Hi-liters to mark the information that sparks your interest.  As we have learned recently, most Congressmen don't read Bills, they have them researched by staff then summarized in an internal report.  By reading Bill HR-25 you may know more than your representative or Senators.   

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