May 21, 2010

Burns Loses and Lies Win—FairTax stays strong and honest

In a district that has twice as many Democrats registered as Republicans, Republican businessman Tim Burns lost his special election race Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s 12th district by a surprisingly slim 47-53% margin. Long time aide to former Rep. John Murtha, Mark Critz, accepted Burns call to concede a little after 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

"Given the difference in registration levels and the affection in this district for the recently deceased Democrat John Murtha, it is telling that the gap was not wider,"said FairTax National Victory Campaign Chairman, Ken Hoagland. "We made a difference and we stood up strongly for the truth but it was not enough to win,"said Hoagland.

The newly formed Tax Action PAC took out television and radio ads quoting the independent University of Pennsylvania’s FactCheck.org condemning Critz’s use of the ads they described as "misleading". One local FOX station refused to run the DCCC ads because of the finding they misled voters about the FairTax.

"We took a stand in the race because we are putting campaign operatives on notice that we will answer every lie about the FairTax,"said Hoagland. "In this case we believe that his turnaround on the FairTax hurt him and we believe that a strong defense by him would have attracted more voters in this heavily unionized district with such a high unemployment rate,"said Hoagland. "Whatever might have happened, however, is now water under the bridge but we stood our ground for the FairTax and will again."

"What else is new?"asked Hoagland. "To win a far better tax system that can literally save the economy and get every American back to work we have to roll over a corrupted culture of self-dealing and profit in Washington, said Hoagland. "This has always been a people’s movement and, as such, an irritant and danger to the political class. We are just getting started and will do much more and much earlier in selected races,"Hoagland said.

Indiana Primary Winners Are All FairTaxers

Nine separate Congressional primary races in Indiana saw candidates favoring the FairTax win their primary elections--including one Democrat. “The FairTax is an idea that can only be slowed down by the Washington political establishment—not stopped,” said Hoagland. “We are seeing more and more candidates running on the FairTax and this is a sign that we are gaining momentum despite Washington’s lies about the FairTax and undermining of candidates,” said Hoagland.

“We are in for the battle of our lives in elections this November,” said Hoagland. “If we are to advance the FairTax we must all pull together and make a difference that will shake the halls of Congress and the entire Washington political establishment. It won’t be easy but it is a fight that is worth it for the sake of the nation and our children,” he said.

In the News

Unfair Attacks on the FairTax--Politics as Usual
By Ken Hoagland

The special election to fill John Murtha’s seat was something of a bellwether for this year’s upcoming Congressional races according to national Democratic Party officials. Unfortunately, it was also sordid tale that reflects tactics that actually show a fundamental contempt for the American public.

When non-partisan FactCheck.org found that television campaign ads run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on behalf of former John Murtha aide Mark Critz were deceptive the DCCC decided to buy twice as many of the same ads.

This escalation was a calculated response to Republican candidate’s Tim Burns repudiation of his interest in the FairTax, a national sales tax to replace all federal taxes on income. The FairTax, like other issues increasingly embraced by grassroots America to control government, ran straight into Washington disdain for the best interests of the American people.

Eighty economists have written to Congress and the White House that the FairTax, with $22 million of peer-reviewed research behind it, is the best federal tax system to create a new era of American economic growth. By taxing what comes out of the economy—consumption—instead of what makes the economy grow—work, savings and investment—the tax base is dramatically expanded and every worker takes home paychecks free of all federal withholding and payroll taxes. And foreign investment, estimated in the $10 trillion range, comes, upon enactment, rushing into the American economy creating needed jobs.

But the benefits to the nation and every taxpayer are not enough to easily overcome Washington insider's lucrative self-interest in an income tax system that allows Congress to play politics with the nation’s wealth. The FairTax breaks a lot of “rice bowls” inside Washington. It eliminates the rampant corruption of the income tax code that sees 2-3 loopholes sold off every day Congress is in session and the $1.5 billion a year income tax lobby industry. It makes visible the cost of the federal government on every sales receipt and it shifts tax decisions from Congress to individual citizens through their consumption choices.

While popularity and understanding of this needed tax reform is growing, the FairTax is still subject to blatant distortions by the political class when election season rolls around. The ads for Mr. Critz claimed that his opponent, Tim Burns, favored raising taxes by 23% on all items for consumption. The disappointing advice from Washington to Mr. Burns in the face of these ads---drop the FairTax.

The deceptive attack ads “forgot” to mention that the FairTax replaces the income tax, the capital gains tax, the Social Security and Medicare tax, the corporate tax, the death tax, the marriage penalty, the Alternative Minimum tax, or for that matter, the $310 billion we all spent last year on tax paperwork. They forgot to mention that taxing consumption brings the $1.5 trillion a year “underground economy” into the tax base, that millions of illegal immigrants become taxpayers as consumers or that the FairTax monthly “prebate” entirely untaxes the poor and allows a middle-class family of four more than $29,000 of federal tax free spending a year.

In recent years there have been two responses from candidates subject to such deceptive ads--fight or flight. Even though it is the favored advice from Washington, those who run away from the issue almost always lose their elections. Those who stand and fight, like Senator Saxby Chambliss last year in Georgia, almost always win.

Those candidates who stand and fight for the issue attract voters from across the political spectrum because, unlike income tax policy debates, the FairTax actually benefits every economic level. The potential for robust job creation is so great, the issue resonates best where unemployment is highest and where the most American jobs have moved offshore. Those who run away from the issue, on the other hand, both show voters they will not stand by a position and surrender the field to the deceptive and misleading attack ads that wrongly seek to paint them as supporting higher taxes.

In essence, the income tax system has corruptly evolved into an overly complex, heavily manipulated, unfair and costly system that is very good for Washington insiders and very destructive for almost everyone else. While passionate debate and study about any proposal to fix this destructive reality is fair, deliberate deception that retards such a debate to win a political race is not. My organization will do much more in the future to expose those who lie to gain votes at the cost of honest debate about this needed change to the federal tax system.

Ken Hoagland is chairman of the FairTax National Victory Campaign and author of the recently published “The FairTax Solution—Economic Justice for All Americans”. More information on the issue can be found at www.FairTax.org

From “Human Events”
Murtha seat won by Democrat

In terms of national politics, the most- watched race on “Little Super Tuesday” last night was the special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. John Murtha. (D.-Pa.).

Murtha’s longtime top aide Mark Critz narrowly kept the Western-Pennsylvania-based 12th District in Democratic hands, edging out Republican Tim Burns, a businessman and first-time candidate, with about 52% of the vote, with only a few ballots still to be counted.

Obviously the results were a disappointment to Republicans nationwide. Coming less than four months after Republican Scott Brown’s dramatic special election win in the Massachusetts Senate race, a Burns capture of the seat Murtha had held for 36 years would have provided major momentum to the GOP in the midterm elections this fall.

But is the Critz win a mandate for the Obama agenda and a sign Democrats are on the political rebound? Although Democratic publicists and administration spokesmen are likely to claim just that, a look at how Critz campaigned renders that conclusion ridiculous.

For weeks after area Democrats named him as their nominee, Critz ducked questions as to how he would have voted on the healthcare measure that passed the House, finally saying he would have voted against it. Critz also campaigned as an abortion opponent and strong supporter of the right to keep and bear arms.

On the day before the voting, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told me he didn’t know if the President was “directly aware” of these three conservative positions taken by fellow Democrat Critz, but added “I’ve certainly seen those reports [of Critz’s stances] sure.” (President Obama himself never campaigned for Critz).

But these positions did not deter either the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or major labor unions from bombarding the 12th District on Critz’s behalf.

As Politico reported days before the voting, “The AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and Service Employees International Union are all on TV airwaves in the district and dropping mail pieces into union homes. Furthermore, officials from the state AFL-CIO are visiting workplaces throughout the district to urge support for Critz.”

Although Pennsylvania-12 is the lone House district of all 435 to go from backing John Kerry for President in ’04 to John McCain in ’08, it remains 2-to-1 Democratic in terms of registered voters.

For its part, the DCCC raised an issue in the closing weeks of the campaign that may re-emerge in other races with conservatives such as Burns who are close to the “Tea Party” movement: the fair tax, a national sales (or consumption) tax that many conservatives want in place of the income tax.

DCCC-run TV spots attacked Burns for supporting the fair tax, charging that the Republican hopeful supported higher taxes on groceries, gas and medicine. The ad cited an interview Burns gave last year in which he said he “would love to ultimately see the fair tax implemented.”

“Foul!” GOP campaigners charged, pointing out that in the same interview Burns said that a fair tax “straight out of the gate” was out of the question because “any discussion like the fair tax would have to be part of a debate on creating an entirely new tax code.”

Four days before the voting, former Rep. Phil English (R.-Pa.) told me, “I get the sense PA-12 is slipping away from the Republicans because of that fair tax attack.” Over protests from the Burns campaign that his words were being taken out of context, the DCCC “fair tax” ad was pulled over the weekend. But clearly, it had done its damage and is sure to re-emerge in other House races this fall.

As Critz was elected to fill out the remainder of John Murtha’s term last night, he and Tim Burns also won nomination to be their parties’ respective nominees for the full term this November. So stay tuned: the last chapter in PA-12 has yet to be written.

From the Washington Post Blog
More spin on Tim Burns

Here, from one of my conversations with strategists who tried to elect Tim Burns in PA-12, is perhaps the best spin on how the party's loss in a Cook Political Report-rated R+1 district is not a sign that Republicans will underperform in November.

So: 45,777 people voted in the Republican primary in PA-12, choosing Burns to run again in November. And 82,695 people voted in the Democratic primary, choosing Mark Critz. But in the special, Critz won 71,684 votes and Burns won 59,476 votes. The positive way to look at this: Burns won, and Critz lost, around 17 percent of Democratic votes.

Not much, but that and the "Sestak effect" (Democrats coming out in the surprisingly hot Senate race) are what some Republicans are hanging their hats on right now as they explain why they can march through other conservative-leaning districts in November.

One other sub-story: Republicans are annoyed that Burns's fealty to some conservative stances, like the Fair Tax (which would replace the income tax with a national sales tax) and the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to oppose all tax increases, became fodder for Democratic attack ads. As they build an army of candidates who, in many cases, are powered by the tea party movement and running to the right, it's an ongoing concern.

FairTax Freedom Ride Revs Up

We’re less than two weeks away from the launch of the 2010 Grassroots Freedom Ride for FairTax, founded by Mike and Carol McLean. Starting June 2nd, the FairTax Bike will travel through all of the lower 48 states until late September. This group, and those that join it in different cities, will participate in the longest FairTax event ever. The 100+ day ride will be a continuous promotional and educational "Rolling Rally" for the FairTax.

Each Friday we will have an update on the cities and events ahead beginning with the first week traveling through parts of Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. After the launch, the ride will go through South Carolina, Georgia, then cover the coasts of Florida, and Alabama before arriving in New Orleans. Coming soon are route maps, details on how to participate, sponsor riders and form local chapters!

On Line FairTax Training:

WHAT: Understanding the FairTax webinar for May 2010

SPECIAL TOPIC:How the FairTax is remitted by state sales tax authorities to a sales tax bureau within the US Treasury Department

WHEN: Thursday May 27, 2010

TIME: 8 – 8:45pm Eastern Time 7 – 7:45pm Central, 6 – 6:45 Mountain, 5 – 5:45 Pacific

WHERE: Your home, your Personal Computer

WHY: To provide an interactive forum for people who cannot get to local meetings to learn about the FairTax and to present Special Topics that are frequently misunderstood or not generally discussed.

Join Marc Manieri, Americans for Fair Taxation Community Coordinator in the Greater Orlando, Florida Area. Marc’s webinars are drawing national participation from seasoned FairTax supporters as well as those just getting started as a supporter. We help build the knowledge base of those on the front lines as well as those wanting to know what the FairTax is about. We educate candidates and sitting Congressional Representatives on the merits of the FairTax.

Many participants have asked Marc if the presentation is available to them. The answer is yes. Marc sends an email to each participant following the webinar. Just reply asking for the Power Point presentation and notes. Marc will email it to you.

To participate it is necessary to pre-register at this web link https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/248185051

You will receive a confirmation email with instructions for signing in at the time of the Webinar.