Sometimes, listening to what others are saying in a discussion can be a valuable means of gaining wisdom and stimulating creative thoughts and ideas that can generate a valuable contribution toward achieving a worthy goal. I'd like to believe that what I'm about to say will fit that description.
I posted a Blog entry here on November 15, in which I voiced some concerns about H.R. 25 after my first reading of the actual bill. Like many supporters of FT, I confess that I had never actually taken the time to read it, although I'd been zealously doing all I could to support/promote the concept for several years. I had some nice discussion on my thoughts, some helpful that were appreciated, and one that was little more than a backhand to the face, but that's OK. I'm a big boy and I know how to handle bullies.
Since then, I've been quietly 'listening' to others' comments and now am ready to offer some input that I sincerely intend to be constructive and of value to our cause: successful passage of The Fair Tax, ASAP. At least, I am assuming that to be the goal of all members of Fair Tax Nation.
From what I'm reading, it is apparent that an unhealthy tension has developed between some of us who, while deeply committed to the Fair Tax concept, have found reason for alarm about some aspects of H.R. 25 that cause us to fear for its success, as written, and others among us who seem afraid to consider trying to improve it for the sake of its success, and are very defensive of any suggestion that FTN do anything except press full speed ahead with promotion of the bill in its present form. This tension is counterproductive.
May I suggest to you, fellow FairTaxers, that a perfectly wonderful concept, pregnant with great potential for improvement to our economy and a better living standard for us all, is worthy of great nurturing and careful crafting by allowing the collective wisdom and insights of many to perfect it before tossing it out as 'pearls before swine'. I've taken into account that millions are said to have gone into development of H.R. 25, something that has been cited here many times now. However, I still cannot discount the merit of giving fair consideration to the observations of those, like myself, who have agonized over certain aspects of the legislation and who see potential dangers contained in it that could prevent it from ever becoming law.
Why would anyone object to perfecting and fine tuning any product about to be marketed if doing so would be certain to assure its success? Why would anyone be so impetuous and unwise as to reject, out of hand, the constructive advice of supporters of the enterprise and throw it out into the marketplace in an unfinished state that would assure its failure? I submit to you, a wise planner with a really good product would not do such a thing. We do have a perfectly marvelous concept, but the product isn't fully developed enough to make it a certain success. It would be a mistake to reintroduce H.R. 25 prematurely, before we've had time to perfect it.
Now that we have a new 'standard bearer' in Congress, I suggest we send him a letter, signed by Marilyn Rickert and several of the State Leaders of FTN and, if they will join us, some from AFFT, requesting a 'summit' with him and his staff. The purpose would be to have a healthy discussion of H.R. 25 and specifically to consider possible changes that could or should be made to the bill to improve it, giving it a greater chance for passage. In my opinion, some supporters who've been agonizing with it for several years, like Hank Van Gieson and Terry Warns for instance-members who've demonstrated great devotion to the FT concept--should be invited to bring their notes and documentation materials so that these issues can be thoroughly discussed in an atmosphere of cooperation and common cause. Representatives from FT groups from every State should be involved, and a carefully planned agenda set up in advance of the Fair Tax Summit.
For what its worth, I believe a summit such as I've proposed to refine and perfect the product should be our first priority in 2012. And all our members should be asked to contribute their ideas or express any concerns they've had or picked up from others that could be taken into account to further the process. By sharing together and cooperating to achieve a common goal, I believe we would be able to make great progress toward the ultimate fulfillment of our purpose. I implore you, let's do all we can to do this right by working together to perfect our product before we 'hit the market' with it.
Arthur Bruce Robertson
The concept of perfection is very subjective at best. Every change to The Fair Tax will always be deemed imperfect by someone else who in turn will demand more changes.It becomes a slippery slope. Eventually the original intent of the bill will be eviscerated thereby defeating its purpose.
Regardless of that fact, you and others have the right to express your ideas to change The Fair Tax Act but Fair Tax Nation is the wrong venue! Again, I refer to the mission statement:
"Our mission is to create an online petition and consolidated presence of FairTax supporters/activists nationwide, allowing greater political visibility & strength, as well as networking & educational assistance for FairTax groups throughout the country."
The purpose of FairTaxNation is to have Fair Tax supporters network with each other and educate the public with the sole intent of advancing the Fair Tax cause! Constantly posting complaints about the Fair Tax at Fair Tax Nation defeats the purpose of the mission statement. I can only suggest if you have such deep concerns then you should contact Fair Tax leadership at The Americans For Fair Taxation headquarters in Houston, the fairtax.org website or contacting Congressman elect Woodall yourself.
Fair Tax Nation was created because an overwhelming majority already approve of the bill as it is written otherwise there would not be a Fair Tax Nation website nor we would have bothered to commit to the next step of educating the public. Please do not participate at Fair Tax Nation if you are not confidant enough to support it as it is currently written, will not comply with the mission statement and will not post ideas as to how we can educate the public.
Do you have authority not to comply with the mission statement that clearly details the purpose of FairTaxNation?
If you consider expecting you to comply with mission statement and point out FTN is the wrong place to discuss rewriting because it is the grassroots arm dedicated to promoting The Fair Tax instead of contacting Fair Tax leadership who can effect changes that you seek as rude then so be it. Apparently having a dissenting point of view is only acceptable to you so long as it is your opinion and not someone else's.
I ask you again when will you comply with the mission statement by posting ideas to promote the Fair Tax instead of only posting comments critical of The Fair Tax? When will you conduct meetings/seminars in your community to promote The Fair Tax to people who are not familiar with the legislation? When will you give speeches, call a local talk radio show or write your Senators or Representative demanding they support The Fair Tax? Will you go to the Storm The Hill Rally in D.C on 2/8/11? Have you done any of those things in the past or do them in the future?
The millions and growing numbers of grassroots supporters for The Fair Tax along with the the growing number of cosponsors in Congress and growing number of incoming elected officials to Congress who support The Fair Tax Act have drunk the kool aid but not you? Is that your contention?
Why would anyone remain with a group and post at their website for a cause he or she clearly doesn't support? I've done some serious thinking and reading on The Fair Tax for 10 years since I joined AFFT in 2000. I'm thoroughly convinced it is by far the best tax alternative to the federal income tax code. You don't like the fact The Fair Tax is gaining momentum while your increasingly minority voice is becoming more irrelevant with The Fair Tax crowd each passing day. Consequently instead of moving on to a group and website that supports your anti Fair Tax agenda, you prefer stay at FTN and ridicule the growing numbers who do support The Fair Tax Act. That act has grown old Hank.
It's incongruous for you to remain with AFFT and FTN when you clearly do not support The Fair Tax Act. It should have been obvious long ago Fair Tax supporters do not share your viewpoints to fundamentally change The Fair Tax. You need to accept the fact Fair Tax supporters are not going to revamp the Fair Tax Act to appease your dissatisfaction. Your time would be much better spent joining a group and posting at a website who shares your views and enthusiasm for either the Ryan road map or the Rivlin Plan.
> Off topic here but why would you support either of these plans? They both are income tax based. If we get either we will end up with an income tax and a sales tax too. That is exactly what we neither need or want. Hank I think you are retired now so you may think you'll be better off if income tax system in place. But what about when this nation is gone? I don't mean taxed real bad, I mean gone! That is what many economists are predicting. The FairTax is the best solution that they see. I'm not talking about the government controlled guys or Keynsians like Paul Krugman. I'm talking about the guys who predicted the economic mess we are in 10 years ago. One of the causes they blame income taxes!
With all due respect, I have read the 'mission statement' several times and find no conflict between it and what I wrote to start this discussion. Is there offense to be found or exception taken to intelligent and respectful suggestions and observations directed toward success of the ultimate goal of FTN, which is enactment of a consumption tax system to replace our current income based system of funding government? Is it productive and in the best interest of that goal to insist that H.R. 25 be a 'tablet of stone', so sacrosanct that no one dare seek improvement to it? Especially when, clearly, it has flaws that if not addressed intelligently will most surely kill our chances of ever getting it passed?
Who, as I asked before, could possibly object to someone attempting to give it a better chance by seeking improvement to it? I reject your premise that any such effort at affecting changes to improve H.R. 25, as now written, will necessarily "defeat its purpose". However, it is not my purpose to create or perpetuate an atmosphere of strife and controversy among its supporters. My desire is ultimately the same as all the others who support TFT: passage of an effective consumption-based tax code that does everything we all want it to do for America's economy and our living standard.
In my judgment, that will require considerable cooperation among like-minded people working together to make certain the bill we promote, devote our time and energy to and seek to 'educate the public and legislators' about will be one that will work. One that has been subjected to every enhancement and refinement practical, to be sure it is as attractive as we can make it to as many people as possible. It would be tragic to see all the enthusiasm and devotion generated in these Fair Tax groups wasted on a product that doesn't stand a chance of passage in its present form. Better minds than my own have already seen this, and are now desperately trying to garner the energy of this movement toward an awareness of the dangers of losing the whole cause through unreasonable resistance to a few important and necessary changes. I am not alone in my sense of danger here.
Now, in deference to the sensitivity of others who belong to FTN and who find no merit in what I am saying, I will resign my membership at FTN, say goodbye to a wonderful group of well-intentioned patriots, and lament the waste of their hard work for a worthy cause that I consider doomed without good constructive polishing, and seek to create or join another group where constructive ideas for promoting TFT are welcomed. Marilyn, I leave it up to you: do you think I am in the wrong group here and have nothing of value to contribute to FTN's mission? Say the word and I'll respectfully say goodbye.-ABR
Oh really? Please show me where in the mission statement is states the mission for FairTaxNation is to discuss how The Fair Tax can be improved upon by rewriting any or all portions of The Fair Tax Act because I don't see any words to that effect. All I see are words referring to online petition, consolidating presence of Fair Tax supporters/activists, greater political visibility and strength, networking and educational assistance. Which one of those catch phrases do you interpret to mean rewriting any portion of the bill?
It's not a matter of being offended. The issue is using the wrong venue to alter the bill. The premise of FTN is people who have registered are satisified with the bill and seek to make the public and Congress aware by finding the best means to spread the word. Obviously you either haven't noticed or choose to ignore the overwhelming majority of comments seek ways to promote The Fair Tax right now instead of trying to make changes first then promote. A modicum of common sense would realize they do so because they are confident with the current version.
The only comments you, Terry and Hank post are to make changes but never discuss how any of you, will right now promote, The Fair Tax. You don't have to be melodramatic expressing your dissatisfaction with The Fair Tax. Just do so at the proper venue. That includes discussing it with Fair Tax leadership through AFFT in Houston or The FairTax America Support Team(FAST) or Congressman elect Woodall.They are the only people who can effect changes. FairTaxNation is not the place for Fair Tax leadership. It is the place for the grassroots whose main responsibility is to promote The Fair Tax. Consequently discussing rewriting any portion of the bill here will not change a thing. Whether you are alone or not is irrelevant since the main function here is to promote, not change the bill. However an overwhelming majority of the comments, posted at FTN are to promote the cause now, not to seek a consensus which provisions should be altered first before we promote the bill. The Fair Tax bill would never be promoted at FTN if FTN's purpose was to include opinions of all those dissatisfied with the bill be included in the bill prior to supporting The Fair Tax.
The Fair Tax is obviously attractive enough as currently written to garner growing support nationwide and in Congress as evident by the growing grassroots movement. I have discussed The Fair Tax with many people and businesses and handed out literature to them at Tea party rallies in the area where I live as a District Director for my Congressional district. An overwhelming majority are supportive. I have also given speeches at Tea Party rallies to which people are very receptive. Apparently you must think myself, they and the growing number of cosponsors are clueless since we all support The Fair Tax currently. Obviously the cause is not only not lost but is winning over more people with each passing day.
I find it interesting I have to defend The Fair Tax against you as much as I do those who are opposed despite your claim to be a Fair Tax supporter.
Since I haven’t received the “please butt out” request from Marilyn yet, I’m going to feel free to continue posting on AFT’s Forums. I believe in the principles of courtesy and following protocol as much as anyone, and I do not seek to ignore, defy or abuse the Mission Statement of any forum I participate in. That being said, Dan Hunt, I get that you are annoyed by anyone who dares say anything negative about H.R. 25, which in your opinion constitutes treason.
Perhaps I should repeat what I said in my post of November 15. For about the last five or six years I have been a very vocal, enthusiastic supporter of H.R. 25, telling others about it and defending it to any who asked questions or raised objections. Being a bit frustrated by the apathy I encountered and even more frustrated by the deaf ears that FT was finding in Washington, I decided that it would be wise to READ THE BILL, so I would be better equipped to champion The FairTax from a position of full knowledge and authority instead of as a bold soldier, fighting for a principle or a good idea.
Now, embodied in that last paragraph is my admission that while I was waxing enthusiastic about TFT, my zeal was based entirely on the “Summaries” and “Recommendation” documents I had read and re-read many times. I really was ill equipped to promote or defend H.R. 25 with any degree of true expertise because I HAD NEVER READ THE BILL. I am basically like most people I know; busy and disinclined to take the time to read everything I should in full. I am usually content to ‘scan’ or read just enough to ‘get the idea’ and then proceed, whether it’s instructions for use or assembly of something or, as in this case, a pretty lengthy, complex piece of legislation.
Like many others, I was satisfied with the ‘skimming’ approach, reading what others had said About TFT, including Boortz and other highly regarded commentators, like Richard Hoagland. I would wager that if a survey were taken of all existing FairTax supporters and they were truthful in their answers, a very high percentage of them would have to confess that they are in that same box I WAS in BEFORE I READ THE BILL.. Call me lazy, or even guilty of failure to do due Diligence, but I have to be completely honest: that’s where I was, and I believe many others may be in exactly the same place.
As I READ THE BILL for the first time (which was done an hour or two at a time over a period of one week), I discovered many things that had never been mentioned in any of the documents I had so diligently printed out from AFFT’s Website, or brought out in any of the discussions I’d so attentively followed where TFT was the topic. I found that there was really quite a bit in the bill I was not aware of. In fact, I had the mistaken idea that only merchandise type purchases you paid for at the checkout stand, and services you got an invoice which were already subject to State sales tax we covered under H.R. 25. New revelations resulted in new and more questions FROM ME. I realized that I had been guilty of promoting a bill I HAD NOT FULLY UNDERSTOOD myself, and I must admit I felt a little foolish. Ignorance may be bliss, but it won't help our campaign folks!
BECAUSE I HAD NOW READ THE BILL, I began to see things that troubled me. I could foresee many valid objections and obstacles that could reasonably be expected to be raised in any legitimately constituted legislative group which would need to be resolved by intelligent consideration and discussion. I also began to see the dangers that loomed for the success of H.R. 25 if substantive modifications were not made to it. This line of thinking extended to a question: “What about the grass roots movement now working so valiantly to promote this Bill? Is all our hard work going to result in disappointment if H.R. 25 goes down due to all
the issues that need to be worked out?” (Which had become apparent to me only AFTER READING IT) I asked myself, “Should we, as a movement, not begin to do all we can to affect constructive improvement to our product BEFORE we move forward with ever increasing promotion of it?” Does that not make sense?
It seems almost foolish to press forward with every bit of the energy you have, promoting a cause you know is right IF YOU COME TO REALIZE THE FOCAL POINT of your crusade already has three strikes against it. The concept is GREAT, the PRINCIPLES at the heart of it are certainly sound, righteous and just (FAIR), and all of us are fully committed to supporting a CONSUMPTION TAX as the best SOLUTION for many of our economic and political woes. Much effort and energy has already gone into our grass roots campaign. However, I would insist that wisdom now dictates that we put promotion on ‘auto-pilot’ for a season while we work with leaders at AFFT and Congressman Woodall to IMPROVE OUR PRODUCT! It’s not wise strategy in our campaign to ignore flaws in our product and continue full speed ahead, folks. It just simply doesn’t make good sense.
Dan insists that those who support TFT, especially FTN members, do so because they are fully satisfied with it as written. I would submit to you that MOST of them are exactly where I was for six years: promoting the CONCEPT AS THEY UNDERSTOOD IT from what others told them and what they have READ ABOUT it, WITHOUT EVER READING the actual bill. As a member of the FairTax team (which I still consider myself to be), I see nothing wrong with trying to help our cause by alerting everyone to what I’ve discovered, so that we can maintain the energy and mass already achieved in the movement while working together to improve the product we are promoting. This enables us to move forward even more effectively, giving greater assurance of our eventual success!
We have a cause worth fighting for. Must we fear trying to work for a BETTER version of H.R. 25? Changes and amendments are made to bills in Congress every day, in order to improve their chances of passage. Why is it so offensive to suggest that OUR bill should be subject to further discussion, debate and constructive change BEFORE we throw it into the hopper? I know, we have been influenced by the “millions” in research that has already gone into H.R. 25, and the figure seems to grow a little every time I hear it. But for all of that, if a dummy like me can see things in it that ALARM me AFTER READING THE BILL, then it still needs more work to
make it acceptable to the Congressmen and Senators who will ultimately approve it. What better forum for these things to be considered than at Fair Tax Nation, where most of the energy is?
Having read the bill only one time I cannot yet claim full understanding of everything in it. However, I can say that each of the sixteen statements about The FairTax you list are common claims I've encountered in all the literature and on AFFT and pretty much accepted as true BEFORE I READ THE BILL. Now, I don't believe any of them are 100% accurate, and except for 2,5, and 8 would unhesitatingly check "FALSE" on the rest. I can't honestly say I'm sure about 2,5 and 8 now.
Two years ago, people voted for "change" and "hope". They never asked for a bill to read or even a summary much less any details. Look what it got us. Congress had to pass the bill, before we could see what was in it. Look where we are after the last two years. You think any of the people in charge would have any idea what the FairTax is all about. They just know they will lose their power and control. They will not have lobbyists to fund and advise them.
Congress passes a bill into a law. Then the "power in charge" establish rules to iron out the details. The 16th amendment is only 26 words long. Look at how many rules and regulations are in the 67000+ pages if the income tax code. Is this discussion about the law or the rules? Can the "law" be passed as written and then the rules make these modifications?
As I read the bill, the law (H.R.25) consists of everything contained within the 130 plus pages of the document, and includes the rules that pertain to it. That's why I'm recommending that we all examine it closely and seek to modify it so that it can have a chance of passage. In my opinion, as written, it has no chance whatsoever. I'm sorry, but that's how I see it. I hate to see so much hard work wasted on something that can't possibly pass in its present form. If that statement disqualifies me as a member of FTN, then so be it.
I've been following this thread with interest. Like Hank, Terry, and Bruce, I have some reservations about the passage of this bill. And, no, I haven't read the bill. I'm just looking at it from a practical standpoint.
This thing has been in Committee over ten years. Yes, it has supporters, but it can't get any traction. As you look at the sponsors, they all tend to be conservative Republicans. This bill couldn't move out of Committee with Republicans in control of Congress and with a Republican president. That tells me that it doesn't have widespread appeal among the people that make the laws.
Its really nice to think we can get a groundswell of support and storm the Capitol demanding our laws be changed. Ain't gonna happen. They're stubborn in Washington, and voters don't pay their bills. Yep, we're taxpayers, but we're not donors. Big difference.
With all the publicity that has been garnered and the so-called support, you would think that after 10 years you would be able to garner more sponsors of the bill. Instead, we see it declining. Something's amiss.
I don't see this as the perfect solution. Too many people think that their tax burden will go down, and they will be able to foist on someone else. But, I think we should step back and find a common ground that would help broaden our tax base so that the pressure on the reliance of a single tax system be examined.
Of course, we can sit here and be a cheer leading session and think that all things in the world would be perfect with the passage of one law. I don't think it will happen as written. Time to rethink strategy?