MY TURN: BRUCE SHEPHERD: Attack on 'FairTax' Proposal Deserves Rebuttal
Jim Heim's recent guest column of Nov. 26 was a disingenuous attempt to bash the FairTax, insult its millions of supporters, and create a political controversy.
The headline itself, a quote directly from Rich Lowry, attempted to characterize FairTax supporters as simpletons.
The article is laced with the same old demagoguery and untruths that we have seen over and over again from those who are either misinformed or have an agenda that depends on the current income tax system. If they are opposed and silent, it is not as Heim suggests, but rather that in any debate on the FairTax specifics, they lose.
The FairTax proposal and legislation, by its nature, is not liberal or conservative. There is no hidden political agenda by its creators or its proponents. No politicians were involved in its development. It's on a higher road than the world of political manipulation and bickering. It has one goal in mind: to save the economy of this country.
In 1994, economists and tax experts were privately funded to design a better system of taxation for our country. Among those respected and knowledgeable experts were Laurence Kotlikoff (Boston University), Dale Jorgenson (Harvard), and Joseph Kahn (MIT). The result of this thoroughly researched study was a recommendation that a national retail consumption tax be enacted to replace the current regressive system of income and payroll taxes.
Eventually, that recommendation became House Bill HR25 sponsored by John Linder and co-sponsored by 72 other House members, and Senate bill S1025 sponsored by Saxby Chambliss and co-sponsored by four other senators. If you must make it a political issue, then I guess you could say that the sponsors and the majority (not all) of the co-sponsors are Republican. If that makes it a partisan issue to you, then so be it.
I prefer to look at those politicians as being statesmen who put the well-being of their country ahead of their personal agenda. Seventy-six economists from across the nation have petitioned Congress with an open letter urging passage of the FairTax. The National Taxpayers Union has supported the FairTax since 1998.
Heim gathered many of his talking points from a political article by Lowry. Neither of them understands that "embedded" income taxes currently inflate everything that we purchase by an average of 23 percent. Removal of those taxes at every stage in the process of bringing a product or service to the ultimate consumer will offset, dollar for dollar, the FairTax rate of 23 percent. In sum, if you currently take $100 out of your wallet to pay for groceries, you will do exactly the same with the FairTax in place.
Heim and Lowry have no idea what the prebate check represents. Heim called it a gimmick. In fact, the prebate check, fully funded by the FairTax and a mandatory item in the legislation, eliminates the regressive (because of the payroll tax) nature of the current income tax system. Everyone, up to the poverty level set by the government, gets a monthly check equal to the 23 percent tax that they would pay on the necessities of life.
Heim also quotes Bruce Bartlett. Bartlett was exposed to be nothing more than someone protecting his turf. When the FairTax is enacted, Bartlett's knowledge of the IRS code will be obsolete and render him intellectually impotent. His damning fiction to malign the FairTax was an act of desperation, capped by the outrageous and totally false statement that the Church of Scientology originally devised the FairTax.
Tax code manipulation is big business in Washington, and when that business is threatened the politicians, the lobbyists, and everyone else in the beltway crowd is willing to distort the truth about the FairTax. That includes Lowry, Bartlett, and a multitude of other media types. Their livelihood depends on the manipulation of the tax code by politicians and lobbyists.
People have begun to realize this game and across this country a grassroots movement is embracing the FairTax as the solution to an unfair, politically driven and oppressive income tax system.
Bruce Shepherd, who lives in Foxfire Village, is a retired engineer, entrepreneur and flight instructor.
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