Candidates of change should start by pledging support to Fair Tax Act

originally published at The Tennessean.com

All the presidential candidates are calling for change. Voters are buying in, and each candidate claims to be the only one who can effect this nebulous change to nirvana.

Change is certainly due. But the best candidate for change isn't a candidate. It's the Fair Tax Act. And it's our greatest chance for meaningful positive change. It was literally made to order for all Americans and does not depend on a political party.

The income tax system's 67,500 pages of mysterious rules, clumsy forms and bewildering processes are where change must begin. It's not called a code by accident. This mind-boggling maze of constraints, incentives, punishments and social engineering defrauds us of the freedom to make good decisions for our families and businesses independent of tax consequences. It undermines our ability to improve ourselves by punishing working, saving, investing and giving.

We need a tax system that is simple and efficient instead of incomprehensible and obscenely wasteful. We need a process that feeds upon our consumption from our great nation's bounty instead of our contributions to it. And its fairness must be obvious.

We need a system that gets the "Made in America" label off the endangered species list.

Most no longer try to understand it. They instead buy software or hire experts to fill out the forms. It's easy to cheat but nearly impossible to comply with. The Fair Tax would make taxpayers out of criminals instead of the other way around.

The equivalent of 3 million Americans work full time to do the tax system's busywork — filing, accounting, reporting, litigating, etc. This costs us $265 billion each year and does nothing to feed, clothe, shelter, heal or protect anyone not in the tax business.

Special-interest lobbyists provide tax code changes to congressmen while funding their re-election campaigns. Congress thereby picks winners (the special interests) and losers (everyone else), on average, more than twice a day. This eternally pits each of us against all the rest of us, and it's effectively hidden from us.

The revenue-neutral Fair Tax Act is the solution. It will eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes — personal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, self-employment, Social Security/Medicare and corporate — and replace them all with a single-rate sales tax when you buy something new for personal consumption — with no loopholes. It includes an elegantly simple rebate of the Fair Tax paid on poverty-level purchases. So the poor pay an effortless nothing, and the rest pay a net effective rate that increases as they spend more. Only retailers do any paperwork, and it's far less than today.

April 15 will become just another beautiful spring day.

Sixty-seven congressmen, including three Tennesseans, cosponsor the Fair Tax Act. But more are needed. Go to www.FairTax.org. Ask questions. Get answers. Then demand that your congressman and senators get on board.

James Baird is volunteer state director for FairTax.org, the nonpartisan organization dedicated solely to replacement of the federal income tax system.

This article was originally published at http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080404/OPINION03/804040426/1008/OPINION01

 

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