Skip to comments."The Fair Tax Fantasy"
Posted on 04/20/2009 3:15:05 PM PDT by pissant
This is a new book that I have co-authored with Hank Adler, a professor at Chapman University's business school, a post he took up after retirement from a long and successful career as a partner with Deloitte.
Hank and I undertook this project because we had --independent of each other and for different reasons-- arrived at the same conclusion: That the "Fair Tax" proposal put forward by my radio tal show host Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder is a disastrous mirage that far too many Republicans have been drawn too, and for all the wrong reasons. "The Fair Tax" is a hopelessly flawed fantasy, but one with a surface appeal of simplicity that attracts especially politicians in need of energetic volunteers and quick headlines. But if the "Fair Tax" becomes the "Kemp-Roth" of the next few years, the GOP will be rightly punished at the polls as the details of the plan make it to the desks of serious political and economic analysts and from there to large numbers of voters who will examine the plan carefully and reject it almost immediately upon doing so. In short, not only should Republicans and conservatives not endorse the Fair Tax, they ought to affirmatively disavow the plan and press instead for serious and thoroughgoing tax reform, including lower and flatter tax rates.
Fair Tax enthusiasts often call my show and demand that I "read the book," by which they mean one or both of Neal's books. We have, and they do nothing to persuade serious readers of the plans merits, but much to camouflage the scheme's many deeply embedded flaws. Henceforth I'll be able to respond "Yes, but have you read the book that exposes the Fair tax as a destructive fantasy it is?"
(Excerpt) Read more at hughhewitt.townhall.com ...
Hugh better hope Romney doesn't come out in support of the fair tax. He'll find himself doing another violent 180 spin. Just as he did on amnesty after Mitt started sounding more like Tancredo.
I favor the Low Tax or No Tax approach
Ditto. 85% of government at the local/state level is redundant or better served by the private sector.
No such animal exists.
A tax is someone taking something from you to support something you may not benefit from or support.
I do not suport abortion but my tax dollars do.
Someone may not support war, any war Quakers etc.But their tax dollars do.
So you need to get away from the idea that any type taxation can ever be fair.
What it needs to be is SIMPLE and LOW.Period...
No one should have topay another person to have their taxes done. That is the most asinine situation I ever heard of...
The only “fair tax” is land rent taxation. People as diverse as Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Milton Friedman and William Buckley agreed on the basic logic of this tax. If you’re interested, here’s a place to start, http://www.groundswellusa.org/thekey.htm
Fair Tax = National Budget/# of Residences in the USA
Imagine how fast spending would decrease.
I don’t have any real feelings on fair tax either way but the real problem we face today is spending.
Hugh is in favor of whatever the GOP tells him to be in favor of.
I don't know if this suffices as an example but Hewitt will constantly ask people to send money to the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee) even though he inadvertently said on air once that the NRSC f**ked up Minnesota and caused Coleman the seat.
The NRSC is backing Specter instead of Toomey in the primary. Guess who Hewitt will back? Will he still shill for the GOP even as they sell us out?
Yes, but there are some real FT nuts out there that won’t listen to reason about it’s chances. I’d love for FT to happen. Problem is why would the 50+ % of asswipes in this country who pay NO taxes at all be interested in something like a ‘fair tax’? No reason whatsoever, period.
Point well taken.
I think I have written that book 20 times over over that last 10 years.
I do worry about FT combined with already sky high taxes within my state.
The government will never reduce a tax, once imposed.
Question for you. If you have a $100 item before tax, but the final cost after sales tax is $130, how much sales tax is being charged?
A. 23% (The Fair Tax answer)
B. 30% (As this book states)
With out fiat currency, why tax at all? Just spend and let inflation take care of the tax? That would be the fairest tax and most efficient.
Depends, who’s receiving the tax money? If the federal gubmint sees 23% of that $100, then their tax rate is 23%. If the final bill is $130 on an item that costs $100, and the Fair Tax is 23%, then it stands to reason the state sales tax is 7%.
All I’m saying is, the explanation in the book promo contains spin. I’m not promoting the Fair Tax. I think it’s a bad idea because it’s a disincentive for consumption, which is the sole generator of tax revenue under the plan.
Under the fair tax, the government gets all $30 and calls it a 23% tax. They arrive at their rate by stating the tax as a percentage of the after tax cost, 23% of $130. It is the fairtaxers who spin. I was not including any state tax in my example.
I am a fervent believer that most local services should be privatized
Find someone who declares 80-100K gross income on his/her taxes, who also has two dependents under 17 and a mortgage over 150K. Ask them what their effective federal tax rate is, on that 80-100K they earn. It's not 23% - it's more like 15% or less, after they get done claiming all of their federal deductions. A flat tax of 20+% will cost them dearly, and provide yet another government deterrent to the Traditional American Nuclear Family.
As a former employer of mine once told me, "take a good look at the income tax laws, before you tell me there's no such thing as social engineering."
Most of them are here on FR
Any less than the income tax is a disincentive for working?
Fair Tax ping.
You certainly have.
Lately, I’ve been thinking that, at this moment, in the midst of a rapidly expanding federal government and a rapidly shrinking private sector, the FT would be a disaster.
I like your line of thinking. What would be an even better formula is this:
Amount of Fed Budget a State receives = Amount that state pays
Then leave it up to the State to figure out how to pay/tax its poeple.
Effect would be reduction of earmarks/state budget because the politician’s state / citizens are on the hook to pay the money back thereby reducing amount of money requested/required each year.
2. States with high liabilities pay more taxes ie NY or CA
Just a thought.
The concept of property tax as discussed at groundswellusa has several issues.
The most important issue is the tax on the “improvement” to the land. Unfortunately ALL “improvements” to the land depreciate over time so based on external market factors affecting the depreciation rate will adversely impact the “amount” of tax able to be collected, etc. Also it will disproportionately tax people people higher rates for artificially inflated property values from the wonderful stupid programs like CRA.
Land is the only that potentially has the potential to appreciate over the long-haul. Land will depreciate if it has become polluted, etc...but generally will appreciate in value over the long haul.
One small problem with the “land-rent” scenario...who would maintain their properties anymore? It would be better to let your property slide to accelerate depreciation to improve your tax position...once that starts to happen entire regions will suffer.
People will move to new locations and repeat and eventually we will just end up with sub-par real estate and massively depressed areas and no taxes.
Another side effect will be small postage stamp size parcels of land that will be build upon. The whole notion of owning land will become a thing of the past. Land is there here all right...but it is the key to the people maintaining the power over our corrupt government...the last thing we want to do is open the door so the government will ultimately control how much land we will be able to own.
The difference between consumption and employment is that one is usually optional. What will happen is that people will pay the higher prices on items they need, like food and clothes, but will cut voluntary consumption. It’s the same effect as a price increase.
That is the PRECISE reason it is a GOOD idea. The whole idea is to encourage saving (investment). That can only come at the expense of consumption.
While there are some good reasons to be concerned about the fair tax idea, this just isn't one of them. Quite the contrary - this may be its biggest plus.
I actually think the Fair Tax has more potential of happening now than ever.
When you truly understand what the Fair Tax represents it makes complete sense to get behind it.
There are some key aspects of the Fair Tax that no other tax approach delivers (non-consumption based).
1) You as an individual are no longer a target of the government
2) The elimination of waste is very high - as in...more of the tax collected will actually end up in the spending budget
3) All illegal money ends up getting taxed
4) 65,000,000 tourists a year will pay into our coffers
5) We would become the #1 place in the world to do business - how many jobs would that create?
6) As an individual you would have complete control on how much you paid in taxes per year, and you wouldn’t be penalized for saving
7) No more double taxation through instruments like the death tax, etc...
8) Our ability to complete on a global level would skyrocket
9) Without a capital gains tax the amount of capital available for business expansion would literally be unlimited
I could go on for quite a while about the benefits...I literally do not see the downside to it. It actually is fair if you accept we must pay some taxes...
We’re in agreement on your points 3, 6, 7, and 9. However, I think the overall disincentive effect on the consumer side will outweigh the benefits of those points.
Let the fairtax people explain, it is how they do math. They calculate the rate on the gross costs (after tax). $30 is 23% of $130. The fairtax people, not me, calculate the tax rate that way. The do not use the $100 pretax cost to calculate the expense. The fairtax is really a 30% sales tax. That is a fact, not spin. The fairtax rate is what they call an 'inclusive' tax rate. It is the fairtaxers who are spinning this.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Thank you for the serious reply. Your objections have all been answered by land rent taxation proponents. I can’t do their arguments justice, but here is an overview.
The idea of land rent taxation is that you do not tax improvements. So the tax actually encourages improving property to the max. Since the tax on a hovel and a mansion would be the same, if they were placed on an equal parcel of land.
LRT also allows private use of land, as long as the tax is paid. So you are correct, that the idea of owning land would be a thing of the past. However, this is really not a bad thing.
Presently, around 95% of the private land in America is owned by 5% of the population. Much of the land is not being used at its highest and best use. Instead, speculators hold the land waiting for it to “appreciate over the long haul.” Value is an estimate of this appreciation. So we see real estate bubbles followed by busts. That is exactly what led to the current recession. It hurts the economy in the long run. By taxing land rents, it is no longer economically prudent to hold it out of use.
I think its a bad idea because its a disincentive for consumption...
As opposed to disincentive for production???
I agree, this is probably the best thing about a consumption tax.
Other than those who are living of their trust funds (wealthy) and/or working “under the table” (illegals and criminals)have to start paying.
Income tax is basically slavery. If you don’t own the product of your labor, you are a slave. We are supposed to be happy that we are only slaves 40% of the time.
The “fair tax” is an indirect tax on the same labor. You’re still a slave, but the government is being nice enough to conceal that fact from you.
1) It gets rid of the most insidious form of corruption--the buying and selling of income tax breaks.
2) It saves Americans at least US$350 BILLION per year in compliance costs.
3) It encourages savings and capital formation with no tax consequences, so the savings rate and investment rate will rocket through the roof.
4) Income tax evasion is GONE. The need for the cash-only underground economy and the funneling of what some estimate as high as US$17 TRILLION out of the USA to offshore financial centers goes away, and we could get a gigantic boost in financial system liquidity as these funds are now repatriated back to the American financial under better tax circumstances.
5) We could see several trillion more enter the USA as foreign investors take advantage of investing in a country with no taxes on earning money.
6) #4 and #5 could bring in US$17 to US$20 TRILLION in liquidity to the American financial system. That is essentially the world's largest "private bailout," so big that it could revive all the major distressed banks, AIG and the Big Three automakers and still have more than enough to revive the rest of the US economy.
7) Because of no more taxes on earning money, businesses will now based their economic decisions on what is best for the company, not what is the lowest tax burden. Corporate headquarter and production jobs come flowing back into the USA under better tax circumstances, and all those idled factories and office space will be taken in a matter of months.
8) Homes will be realistically priced based on the value of the property and how the house is built, not what kind of mortgage interest tax deduction you can get.
So, does this guy actually lay out his argument anywhere..... or does he just pompously tell us to read the book?
Somehow I do not trust him. It seems his motives are to sell the book, not to push his cause.
I admit the current income tax may be better than the Fair Tax. But, since we’ve tried the income tax for a while, let’s try the Fair Tax for the next 96 years and compare.
I think its a bad idea because its a disincentive for consumption...
As opposed to disincentive for production (income tax)???
As you stated, tax that which you wish to discourage i.e cigarettes, alcohol, earning and production???
You are correct, it would disincentive spending, which is detrimental to a country who borrows in order to spend money it doesn’t have. IMO that is probably why we are in such an economic mess right now.
IOW, Hugh Hewitt, RINO extraordinaire, is for the communist-inspired income tax, and nothing but more deckchair arranging on that Titantic.
Which shows that he isn't "serious," and that, as usual, his thinking is far from "thoroughgoing."
Also, the FairTax is the only retail sales tax EVER that is calculated as tax inclusive.
If your State has a 7% sales tax, the sales tax is calculated by simply multiplying the retail cost of the item by 0.07.
The FairTax calculation is anything but simple. A few years ago, I figured out all the algebraic expressions that are involved, but today it hurts my brain to try to think about it.
The basic concept is that the 23% is calculated on the sum of the retail price of the product/service and all of the taxes. It’s immediately obvious that if you add the retail price and the taxes, then take 23% of the sum, you will get a larger number than if you multiply the retail price by 23%.
If you take a product/service that retails for about $77, the gross payment will be $100. IOW, the tax would be $23, which is 23% of $100. Now, since the retail price is $77, then the tax of $23 is about 30% of the retail price.
Just remember, the Fair Tax is the only retail sales tax that is calculated that way, by including the tax in calculating the tax percentage. That is what tax inclusive means.
All other retail sales taxes are calculated as tax exclusive, the tax itself is excluded from the calculation. Like your State sales tax.
That’s quite the defensive post you’ve authored there.
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