DO WE NEED TO REPLACE THE INCOME TAX WITH A "FAIR TAX"?
CO-FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OFTA COALITION MEMBER, FREE ENTERPRISE SOCIETY, SOUNDS OFF ON THE GOVERNMENT'S "FALL BACK" POSITION-THE "FAIR TAX"
By Steve Hempfling
There has been much discussion about replacing the Income Tax with some other form of tax. While this idea has been around for a while and most of the people supporting it are well meaning, I want to examine if a replacement is needed.
How will the Government Survive? I talk to groups from coast to coast and many of them absolutely believe the government would fail if the income tax were repealed. This is a common idea and one that certainly appears to be sound. But this is based on a misconception that the income tax is most of the federal government's take in taxes. On information, from the US Government Accounting Office, the personal income tax is only 43% for 2009. You pay a lot of taxes without considering the income tax. This shows that the income tax is no where near 100% of the federal tax money.
The government can survive with constitutional taxes providing it's expenditures are constitutional also. From the 2009 expenditures it appears that 60% or more of the money spent by government does not conform with Article 1 Section 10 of the US Constitution.
Free Enterprise Society wants to eliminate the income tax due to fraud and deception of the income tax. We also want to restore the adherence to the US Constitution. This means that we want it followed and those that do not follow it - punished. In my opinion the government can get by without the income tax if we limit the federal government to the US Constitution, which is what we intend to do. The federal government needs some tough love. No elected official has been held accountable for lying, cheating, or stealing for some time. But this era of corruption is ending and many elected officials may find themselves behind bars in the near future. Americans are going to demand very strict accountability in the future.
Would a Sales Tax be Constitutional? The replacement taxes such as National Sales Tax, Fair Tax, VAT tax, being considered now, do not appear to be constitutional. Would it be a fair statement to say that congress has used and abused every taxing power in the Constitution? I believe so. Then it would follow that if these alternative taxes were constitutional, we would already have them. The congress would need to ask us to vote the congress additional taxing powers to implement any of the above taxes. This would be a serious mistake on our part.
I am not totally against a new tax providing it conforms with the US Constitution, but I am against giving the government a pass for lying to us for nearly 100 years collecting a tax we did not owe and using the funds to expand it's powers at the expense of our freedom and prosperity. I am against replacing one invalid tax with another unconstitutional one. Also, just because the government has had illegal spending in its budget for so long, that does not mean we need to continue illegal expenditures. If we want the government to follow the Constitution, then there is no room for exceptions. That is what we have today -- Exceptions to the Constitution resulting in practically no Constitution.
Will the Income Tax go Away? Anyone that believes the income tax will be replaced by some new tax and we will never see the income tax again is in denial. Simply watching what has been done in the past will show the government's intent is to exceed its lawful authority. The income tax may go away for one or two years but then it be will brought back again. You will be told that it is being brought back on a very limited basis and that the average American (you) will never know it's there. These were the words used in 1913 when purportedly passing the 16th amendment.
Can this be done overnight? The income tax would need to be phased out over maybe 10 years and that would allow for the workforce to adjust from government jobs to private jobs. (There would be tons of unfilled jobs in the private sector.) The elected officials would have to really (not lip service) clean up the waste or go to jail. There are 1,000,000's of government workers today that are not needed or are in unconstitutional positions and without the income tax burden there would be an abundance of real, productive jobs waiting for them out here, where it matters.
More taxes would mean more irresponsible behavior. The government wants to double your taxes. Even if we allowed this, the government would just find ways to double the budget again and then taking more away from us AGAIN in more new taxes. Details from the US Government Accounting Office show that, in 2009, the US collected 2.1 Trillion dollars in taxes. But, the government spent 3.5 Trillion Dollars in the same year. Arghhhhh. No matter what the American People give, government will irresponsibly spend more and more. This stops here! This stops now!
Conclusion. I believe we can get rid of the income tax and not replace it. The Federal Government Budget would not have to be much smaller due to the boost in revenues from the federal government's other 80-something taxes our economic recovery would cause and when limited to constitutional expenditures the surplus revenues would address our growing debt.
Editor's note: Steve Hempfling co-founded Free Enterprise Society in 1985.