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Flat tax? No thanks!

1/18/2007

In the past few years, an increasing number of articles and stories about tax reform have appeared in the media and on the Internet.  It is becoming increasingly clear that the current U.S. tax code has become a problem that we must address and remedy.

One of the proposed reforms is the flat tax, described in Steve Forbes’s book Flat Tax Revolution.  The flat tax reform proposal in the 109th Congress (HR 1040) is a definite improvement over today’s convoluted tax code.  Filing simplified tax returns on a postcard is appealing and has some popularity.  However, history shows us that a flat tax doesn’t offer a permanent or satisfactory solution to our tax code problems.

The income tax started out as a single-rate (flat) tax.  Under the control of government and isolated from the people, it gradually grew into an oversized, complex mess with numerous loopholes, multiple brackets, and high rates.  In 1986, the tax code was overhauled, simplified, and reduced down to two brackets.  Many deductions and loopholes were eliminated.  Today, we are up to six brackets, and most of the loopholes are back.  This demonstrates twice over that a flat tax simply won’t stay flat.  It leaves the current tax code in place and sets the stage for another return to the system as it is now. Congress has the power of legislation, and we the people have little input or control. Lobbyists will continue to procure tax breaks for special interests.  They have more access to congressmen than we the people have.  Precedents have been set.  Each tax break complicates the tax code just a little more, and they all add up to a code with over 66,000 pages that even tax professionals don’t fully understand.

Finally, a flat tax is still income tax; it is contrary to the Founders' vision as set forth in the Constitution.  The income tax was made possible only after self-serving politicians did an end run around the Constitution and the people in 1913 and took powers for themselves that the Constitution denied them.

In the last Congress, the Fair Tax Act (HR 25) had 63 congressional co-sponsors; the Flat Tax Bill (HR 1040) had six.  Popular support for the FairTax is strong and growing; flat tax support has all but vanished.  Two very successful FairTax rallies have taken place; no flat tax rallies have been held or planned. The FairTax Book has outsold Steve Forbes's book many times over.

Income tax in any form is unacceptable.  It’s time to scrap all income-based taxes once and for all and replace them with a single, one-time retail tax one that we control.  At the same time, we need to repeal the 16th Amendment so that income taxes will remain a memory.  The FairTax is the plan, and the time is now.

--Chad Sargent

 

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