Fair Tax Nation

Replace All Federal Taxes on Income with the Fair Tax Act , HR 25

Some say we have until April 30, 2013, to close the deal!  Can Fair Taxers convince congress by then?  IS IT ALREADY TO LATE FOR FAIR TAX???   What say you?  Give us your opinion on Fair Tax Time Radio, Wednesday,  August 15th, 9 pm ET,  6 pm PT.  Call in numbers; (619) 393-6478 or (888) 436-1206. 

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Dear FairTax Leaders,

 
As numerous news articles now describe, there is division among Republicans (both legislators and presidential candidates) about whether to scrap the income tax system or reform it. Among the various policy alternatives, there is no mention of the FairTax or any national retail tax to replace the income tax system. A flat tax tax is the most fundamental change suggested by some and there is, of course, considerable support for continuing the income tax system.
Those who are now most active in the FairTax campaign certainly can't blame Houston anymore because the national campaign, such as it is, has been transferred to a few grassroots leaders who, for years, insisted that they knew much better that anyone else how to advance the cause. 
I know this, first hand, because despite bringing along Mike Huckabee, surprising the nation with his win in Iowa in 2008, placing full page ads in scores of national newspapers, holding huge rallies in the shadow of the IRS in Washington, D.C. and in various American cities and bringing the FairTax message to some 900 radio talk shows and many TV shows, I was on the receiving end of bitter contempt for "doing too little" or "not respecting" grassroots figures enough. 
My efforts brought daily acid insults from some of those now responsible for the FairTax nationally. That the National Journal wrote in 2008 that our FairTax campaign was the "most effective issue campaign" in that presidential election cycle meant less than nothing to these angry, self-defeating critics. That we built the membership list and gained national respect only saw us vilified..and then required by Leo Linbeck to fire almost everyone. Only myself and Aaron were so doggedly determined that we stuck it out. Their antagonism was so deep that even today my book, "The FairTax Solution", is not offered on the FairTax website.
My sin with "grassroots leaders" was that, using long experience with local, state and national campaigns, I told them the unvarnished truth as I saw it. That honesty, which I thought they deserved, was met with outrage and then hatred. 
The truth: There is no "organic growth" without national leadership and vision that puts such passion into a framework for progress. The list must be guarded as much as the crown jewels because it will be dissipated. Membership growth of at least 50,000 new supporters a month is the essential metric to make a difference and nothing even close to this is possible without an aggressive and sustained fund raising effort. That Bill Butcher, who actually knew these things, was allowed to pervert the FairTax for his own profits (with the late Leo Linbeck's inattentive approval) signaled the end to the first promising growth of the campaign since it was founded. But our brief momentum was choked in the crib both by Mr. Linbeck, may he rest in peace, and by a sycophantic circle of flatterers who hated any national authority and vision over their individual and episodic efforts
Here is another truth: Mass communications is the only practical method for recruiting the 50,000 new supporters a month the FairTax must have to be even "close to the table" when decisions are made. That's 600,000 new supporters a year with an attrition rate dropping that figure to 500,000 or less. And let's face it--the self-interests of powerful and plentiful income tax self-interests requires millions of FairTax supporters, not hundreds of thousands. So yes, writing to Farm Bureau members or collecting names at County Fairs or standing on corners on April 15th are helpful but only in the context of a larger national effort. Without a larger and disciplined mass communication effort those talks with 15 people at a time are essentially a meaningless waste of time. 
More truths:
1.Even a robust national campaign recruiting a half million people a year will die if the now long obsolete research is not updated. 
 
2.Without a Super-Pac the journey to national relevance will take three times as long. Democrats won't join us because we are "non-partisan" they will only join us because the public demands it. Super-Pac advertising provides the needed hammer during election-times when candidates are most nervous about public opinion...and when the press pays closest attention. 
 
3. Republicans won't get on board with the FairTax until there is some organization that has the wherewithal to protect them when they are attacked as candidates. (FairTax is described by the DNC as a "gift" to Democrats that the DNC advises candidates to celebrate and savage. The RNC advises candidates to "steer clear" of the FairTax and won't support those who embrace it.)  
I have quietly watched for years now on this list serve, an unnoticed observer, as many of the very same grassroots leaders who expressed such hatred to me and my colleagues, argue endlessly about arcane details of the proposal, the research..and lately, the new FairTax logo. The central theme that emerges is a group of people more happy with standing in a corner talking only with each other, while complaining how unfair the tax system is and how stupid legislators and the public are (and occasional experienced campaign organizers like me). 
Actually making any discernible progress whatsoever would require the very elements of a national campaign strategy that they find so very disagreeable--namely unity behind a specific vision. Contentment for these angry people is keeping their imaginary influence and power over a small number of other similarly angry but ineffective people. 
I have talked with Steve and others and I truly like them and admire their passion. But I could not bring myself to tell them this truth: If--and it is unlikely--but if the FairTax gains national momentum again it will die a quick and ugly final death because Scientology, the entirely unmentioned belief system of which Steve is a leader, is the poison pill that will kill it. This may be unfortunate and I sincerely mean no disrespect to their passion and work on the FairTax... but it is also entirely true. It's a dead-end cul du sac. Do no "grassroots leaders" on the Board of Directors have the sense to see this?
And that is where the Fair Tax is today--nowhere with few prospects for getting anywhere. Even if we do, the FairTax will then come under entirely predictable intense scrutiny and die horribly. 
Good people are working locally with heart and passion but their passions are being wasted while "grassroots leaders" work at cross purposes with various hobby horse tactics that produce little or nothing. Decisions about the tax system are being made today on the national stage but the FairTax isn't even a whisper on any player's lips. So before we decry the "stupidity of politicians" for not seeing the potential of the FairTax to super-charge our economy or constructively transform the relationship between citizen and government, reflect on the stupidity of transforming this good idea (that can literally save our nation) into a bickering mess that satisfies the egos of no more than 20 little local fiefdoms headed by "leaders" who have no earthy idea how to move a national campaign.
Here is the last truth I will offer as I expect to be quickly banned from this forum after this message. Good people at the local work hard and tirelessly to advance this excellent, if not quite yet perfect, idea. The passion that they expend year after year is noble but wasted and the national effort is again withering into fringe irrelevance. Until a true nationally oriented leadership, willing to follow experienced advice gently but firmly, holds the reins nothing but further erosion will occur and this campaign--and the best chance for national healing on several levels-- will die. 
I loved the FairTax idea and admired many of those who worked so hard on it. I kept that love long after being chased away. Many told me over the years that such loyalty was unfounded...and unwanted. That's life but maybe there are some on this list who can still do what needs to be done to resuscitate the profoundly important campaign that our nation needs so dearly. 
Goodbye and good luck.   
Ken Hoagland 

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