Skip to comments.Imagine receiving 100% of your paycheck!
Posted on 08/26/2004 11:05:33 PM PDT by n-tres-ted
Two weeks ago a man stood up at a George Bush campaign appearance in Florida to ask about a piece of legislation known as HR25. Many, including myself, were pleased to hear Bush respond with some positive thoughts about the Fair Tax plan, a movement to replace the federal income tax with a national retail sales tax.
Washington is a city of inertia, and right now the inertia belongs to our present method of funding the operations of our government, the income tax. Politicians will not easily surrender a funding mechanism that lends itself so well to political demagoguery and which can be used to reward political allies and punish enemies.
The Fair Tax plan deserves a thorough public examination and debate. John Kerry seems dedicated to making sure this doesnt happen. Soon after Bush cited the national retail sales tax as something worthy of further exploration, Kerry stepped forward with the typical class warfare rhetoric of the left. Acting as if he actually knew what was he was talking about (he didnt), Kerry announced that the Fair Tax would amount to the largest increase in the tax burden on poor and middle income Americans in our history.
John Kerry was wrong. He was either speaking out of ignorance, or he was deliberately lying about the Fair Tax proposal in order to gain a political advantage. A politician lying in order to gain political advantage --- imagine that.
This column is lengthier than the norm, but I promise you that if you will invest the time it takes to read it you will be well on your way to becoming yet another rabid supporter of the Fair Tax plan. You will know that the poor and middle income Americans would be the prime beneficiaries of the proposal. You may even organize your own neighborhood march on Washington to demand that HR25 receive a fair hearing. In the next two minutes Im going to turn you into a HR25 Fair Tax zealot. Read on:
First the briefest of overviews: Simply put, HR25 would provide for the repeal of the 16th Amendment (the income tax amendment) and the dismantling of the IRS. All personal and corporate income taxes would end, as would all payroll taxes. There would not be one cent of federal taxes of any nature taken out of your paychecks. No more Social Security taxes. No more Medicare taxes. You earn $2,000 a payday; you get $2,000 a payday. The federal government would be funded through a national sales tax on goods and services sold at the retail level. No taxes on investments. No taxes on savings. You only get taxed on what you spend at the retail level. Store your earnings in a shoebox if you wish. They wont be taxed.
When originally proposed, calculations showed that the sales tax would have to be in the area of 23%. A complete economic study is now being completed that is expected to bring that total to under 20%. For the purposes of this column, well stick with the 23% figure.
OK lets put on our sensitivity hats for a few minutes here and think of the consequences of the Fair Tax Act on our nations poor, poor, pitiful poor. After all, they can hardly afford a 23% sales tax when theyre living paycheck-to-paycheck in the first place, right?
Bear in mind that for the most part those whom we define as poor arent paying any income tax anyway. In fact, many of them are getting checks from the government; a form of outright income redistribution. The absurdly named Earned Income Tax Credit, for example. How can these people survive going from a no-tax situation to paying a 24% sales tax on all their retail purchases?
The implementation of the Fair Tax would fail in short order if, as the question presupposes, nothing were to change except that all of us would be paying todays prices for a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread, plus a 23% sales tax. But thats would be far from the reality under the Fair Tax. Under the Fair Tax the poor wont only survive, theyll positively thrive! The Fair Tax could turn out to be the best poverty-fighting tool devised in this country since the concept of hard work.
Lets begin by considering two realities.
First, remember, please, that the poor, along with everybody else, will no longer have Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes withheld from their paychecks. Whatever they earn, they get on payday. For the poor this means an immediate 12 to 15% increase in their earnings.
Second. Dont forget the 22% in imbedded taxes. These embedded taxes exist in virtually everything poor Americans or any other Americans have to buy. These embedded taxes represent all of the corporate and business income taxes and payroll taxes that the companies involved in the production, manufacture, marketing, distribution and sale of the goods and services must pay in the course of business. As soon as these taxes are gone, and after the competitive forces of the free market work their magic consumers, including the poor, will be paying at least 20% less for virtually everything they buy. This includes such basics as food, clothing, shelter and transportation. Yes... theyll have to pay the new national sales tax, but when you factor in the lower prices caused by the disappearance of the embedded taxes youll see that the total price paid for consumer goods in terms of real dollars will fall or will remain very nearly the same.
So just considering these factors, the Fair Tax delivers a winning hand to people living in or near to what we call poverty. They get every penny they earn on payday, amounting to a 12 to 15% pay raise, and when you factor in the Fair Tax and the lower prices, theyre actually end up spending less of their money for a retail purchase than before. What John Kerry calls the greatest increase in the tax burden on the poor in the history of our country is, in reality, their greatest tax reduction.
You need a clearer picture? Pull out your calculator. Lets say that a single mother with two children spends $45 a week on groceries. The removal of the 22% embedded tax would bring the price of those groceries down to $35.10. The sales tax at 23% would be $8.07. This brings the total price to $43.17. Thats less than would have paid under todays tax system. This single mother, whom well consider poor, has just received a 12% to 15% increase in her weekly paychecks, and shes paying less at the grocery story for her basic necessities.
So far, so good. At this point you should be thoroughly convinced that the Fair Tax would actually benefit, rather than harm the poor. But, then again, maybe not. Heres the convincer. Brace yourself for the knockout punch.
Under the Fair Tax plan every consumer, rich and poor alike, will receive a check or an electronic credit to their bank account from the federal government every single month equal to the sales tax that person or that family would be expected to pay on the purchase of the basic necessities of life for that month. The size of the monthly payment will be based on the governments published poverty levels for various sized households.
Heres an example of how the rebate payments would have worked in 2003.
Lets say youre a married couple with two children. The Fair Tax Act sets forth a formula for computing the poverty level, based on government figures, which negates any marriage penalty. If the Fair Tax Act had been law in 2003 you would have been granted an annual consumption allowance of $24,240. This is what the government would assume you would have had to spend during that one year to buy the basic necessities of life for your family. The sales tax on this amount would equal $5,575. The government would have rebated this amount to you in 12 equal monthly installments of $465. What about a single woman with one child? Her monthly rebate in 2003 would have been $232. The lowest payment would be to a single person with no dependents. That person would have received $172 per month.
Now bear in mind, this rebate isnt only paid to the poor. It is paid to everyone, rich and poor alike. The purpose here is to make sure that no American has to pay the Fair Tax sales tax on the basic necessities of life. Unlike the present income tax system, the Fair Tax treats each and every person in this country exactly the same. This, of course, presents somewhat of a problem to politicians who like to use the tax code to foment class distrust or outright warfare.
OK lets add it up for Americas lower income citizens:
1. They get their entire paycheck. 2. Even with the sales tax, and considering the drop in prices, theyll be paying essentially the same or less for everything they buy. 3. They get a check from the federal government every month to rebate any sales taxes they had to pay on lifes basic necessities.
Are you beginning to see just how far off-base John Kerry was with his intemperate criticisms?
Though most of the poor dont have what we would call complex tax returns, lets also include the time these they (all of us, really) will save by not having to keep tax records or file tax returns.
If youre looking for some reason to oppose the Fair Tax plan, youre going to have to find a better excuse than its effect on the poor. John Kerry might find it politically expedient to demagogue the issue for votes, but now you know enough to know what hes up to.
For more comprehensive information on The Fair Tax you can visit http://www.fairtax.org.
Neal Boortz is a lawyer and nationally syndicated radio talk show host.
©2004 Neal Boortz
I have a better idea. Put the Constitutional provision, tariffs, on every good and service entering the country. Not only will we pay NO taxes, we'll all have decent jobs when the factories and investment capital come running back home. Talk about a win-win.
But I'm self employed...
I've come around on this issue over the past several years. As a self-employed artist, it hurts me like hell to wait and wait for a client to pay, and then have to deduct 25% of that hard-earned, much-needed cash right off the top to feed into Uncle's gaping maw. In effect, for every four hours I work I only get paid for three. If there were no income tax, every hour I worked would be an hour I got paid for. That fact alone makes the HR25 an attractive proposition. When you deduct the costs of tax prep, bookkeeping, and records maintenance (and why do I have to pay to keep the IRS's records for them, anyway?), it sounds even better.
I will be very surprised if HR25 goes anywhere anytime soon, but I'm beginning to hope that it or something like it will eventually pass. Never mind the financial relief the relief I feel from no longer having the IRS hold a loaded gun to my temple would be worth it.
AWESOME!!! Thats a plan!
WRONG! It would be right if it was a real 23% sales tax and not a tax "23% of the gross payment"
The groceries would cost $45.58...$0.58 MORE than before not including the new tax on taxes in "the gross payment".
$45.58 (gross payment)
Minus 23% ($10.48 gross payment tax ) equals.
The 23% "tax of the gross payment"(including itself) is a 29.87% (30%) sales tax.
Why not just lower the tax rate and let us keep more of our money to begin with?
23% is way too high for a blasted sales tax anyway.
Which will lead to the creation of co-ops by which people will collectively buy wholesale to skirt around the retail tax. This in turn will create tax shortfalls that will ultimately result in the return of the IRS while leaving the federal sales tax in place.
Think it won't happen? Think again.
Holy smoke, that's even worse!
If they REALLY wanted to let us keep our money, they'd lower it to maybe only 10% a do away with that phoney "rebate" nonsense.
If they have it to give back to us, they shouldn't be taking it to begin with.
One glaring flaw.
Even if the "embedded tax" goes away prices will not fall by the same amount.
Many will see this as an opportunity to increase their profit margin, fund capitol improvements, ramp up research that has been put off, etc.
Small business runs on a thin margin in this country, the lesser tax's may keep them afloat, but not really allow them to reduce prices drastically.
This looks to be incomplete, but a good start.
Sorry, no thanks. I don't want to pay $10 dollars for a gallon of milk or $7.50 for a loaf of bread.
Yea, this way you could just wait and wait for a client to pay an additional 30% you'd have to send (off the top) "to feed into Uncle's gaping maw".
You say but wait I won't have income tax to pay...no you won't you'll have a new 30% sales tax to pay on some things you've never had to pay tax on before.
Even the article, claiming reduced prices by 22% says it comes out the same...so how could YOU reduce your prices, collect and remit a new tax, pay sales taxes yourself AND maintain your current lifestyle?
Let's just think "Burger King" Willie!
If you can't "have it YOUR way" then it's a debacle and not worth contemplation.
It's a step in the right direction, is worth looking into, and does a fine job of lessening the burden of complication in the receiving of tax revenue for the government.
Complication reduction in itself would save a tremendous amount of government cost.
The very best part of it will be neutering the IRS, no more "audits" i.e., government terrorism.
Of course not.
The shills are double-dipping with this incredible claim.
The scavengers in the Federal Government will NEVER do with less money. It has to come from somewhere. The rich will buy goods elsewhere and skirt the law somehow; but small business will lose tax advantages. The income tax is ridiculous, unfair, and overly complicated, but I trust these fools implicitly to make it worse.
The rebate is all part of the scam.
It's not only a dangling carrot to suck you in. It's also a tax increase (where do you think the rebate money comes from?) for everyone spending above big governments arbitrary, one size fits all, we know what your "necessities" are and how much they cost you plan...don't get me started on how that poverty scam can be manipulated.
This from the people claiming to hate subsidies and welfare.
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