When The Weekly Standard first appeared one of their earliest advertisers was a group called The Princeton Economic Institute. They ran ads regularly where they laid out what they labled their, “10 Point Plan for Economic Growth and Tax Reform.” The centerpiece of their plan was the repeal of the 16th amendment and the institution of a national retail sales tax.
During the 90’s one of my favorite authors was a political commentator named Martin L Gross who wrote numerous books calling for significant political reform. I read almost every one of them. One that particularly appealed to me was a book he wrote entitled “The Tax Racket”. His main suggestion for reform again called for the repeal of the 16th amendment and the implementation of a national sales tax to replace the income tax.
Few conservatives and libertarians who pay any attention to politics today are unaware of Neal Boortz and John Linder’s efforts to gain support for The Fair Tax, which again calls for repealing the 16th amendment and the implementation of national retail sales tax of 23%. As someone who has studied virtually every idea on tax reform that has been published in the past ten to fifteen years I am fully convinced that The Fair Tax is not only the best idea for reinvigorating the American economy, but it also presents the best opportunity to help bring the Republican Party back from near irrelevance.
A couple of weeks ago I saw an interview on Fox News with Michael Steele, the chairman of GOPAC. The conversation essentially boiled down to a question of how the party could remain relavant in its’ current role as the minority party. While I agreed with many things the chairman said, one of the ideas he proposed was a two year holiday on capital gains taxes. While I find nothing wrong with that idea, it is clear to me that policy ideas like that will not help the Republican party regain a majority anytime soon. It is time for the GOP to be bold and fight for an idea that almost every person in America can agree with. The Fair Tax and the repeal of the 16th amendment is just such an idea.
Most people who advocate for tax reform agree that one of the essential components of any serious tax reform proposal must involve broadening the tax base. No amount of tinkering with the income tax will accomplish this goal effectively enough to make much of a difference. Even under a flat tax there would be individuals who would not pay any taxes at all. A national sales tax reaches every single man, woman and child in America, including those who never have paid one cent in income tax. In addition to that, it eliminates the payroll tax, corporate income taxes, capital gains taxes, the AMT, the “death” tax and every other hated provision of our rediculously complex tax code. In short, the Fair Tax would give the American people true economic freedom for the first time since 1916 when the income tax was implemented.
The fight for economic freedom is essentially the last battle of the American Revolution. Eliminating the income tax would dramatically reduce the government’s ability to control behavior. By forcing every person to pay the tax when they shopped for goods and services it could go a long way to making people conscious of the cost of government. Those people who currently don’t pay taxes would be more inclined to listen to those who could explain how reducing or eliminating certain government programs could reduce the cost of government and allow for further reductions in their tax burdens. It is truly a much more profound reform idea than it may appear at first.
Having devoted much thought to this idea over the years I can truly see the amazing potential for economic growth our country could experience if the Fair Tax ever became law. Within five years of it becoming the law of the land I honestly believe our country could experience economic growth rates around 10%. I can hardly imagine what would happen if our economy grew at such a high rate! I’d love to find out though!
The Republican Party has taken a beating the past two election cycles and needs to take serious steps to improve its’ standing with the American people. The Fair Tax is an idea that can reach almost all people if it is explained by someone who has taken the time to study the issue and understands just what it could accomplish if it became the law of the land. I believe that a fight to repeal the 16th amendment and implement the Fair Tax is an issue that could inspire a tremendous amount of support for the party that is willing to wage that battle. The Republican Party is in need of an issue that can inspire the people to return it to power. The Fair Tax is an idea whose time has come. It is almost the perfect storm and the GOP should embrace the opportunity to take up the cause of economic freedom for all American and right our country’s financial ship before it’s too late.