That's the title of a new book by national radio talk-show host and Law Professor Hugh Hewitt, and Assistant Professor of accounting, and tax accountant Hank Adler. They sub-head is "An Honest Look at a Very, Very Bad Idea".
I just received my copy, am currently reading it, and will try to give as fair a summary as possible of what the authors focus on, as well as comparing it to the FairTax as presented by national talk show host and author Neal Boortz, and Representative John Linder.
Full disclosure: I have been a proponent of the FairTax for years, and although there are certainly serious questions raised by Hewitt and Adler, I find their arguments on the whole less than compelling so far.
First of all, the fact that a book like this has been researched and written is actually a good thing. It not only brings FairTax questions and shortcomings to light--which is the only way they can be adequately and effectively addressed--but it gives significant additional credibility to how much headway the FairTax has gained over the years as more people learn about it.
Hewitt and Adler both agree that the tax system as we know it is a mess, and that major reforms are needed. Their premise is that the FairTax is so flawed that a huge amount of energy is being wasted by the hundreds of thousands of us on a tax system that hasn't a prayer of passing. They feel the energies should be focused elsewhere.
Politicians haven't embraced the FairTax for two reasons, essentially. 1) So much of their political power depends on the current income tax system, and 2) they're too cowardly to take a stand on something so different--so radical--without an indication that it's what their constituants want.
We're addressing Number 2 a little more every day. We have to cut loose the ones relying on the first--and the sooner the better.
I fully agree. And eliminating at least fifty percent of the lobbyists and limiting political power are an extremely important part of the Fairtax. (and yes I know that micheleking was tongue in cheek) Remember this. If we get Fairtax passed, there will be a whole new public appreciation for what the "people" can accomplish. Then,,,,, with the organization of "we the people" that will be created by places like fairtaxnation and the 9-12 project, We will actually be able to take back government. Representatives might even start to represent. Perhaps we can even save the constitution from destruction. Any way, that is for the future to see.
You may believe that anyone who has any problem with the FairTax is a fraud, and has no argument; but that doesn't help our cause. We have millions of people to convince, and no one who is serious about the FairTax can afford to answer any challenge or question about--let's face it--the biggest fundamental government change in our lives, with a curt, "read the book".
Most of them are not going to go to that kind of trouble.. They have to be convinced face-to-face...and most of them will WANT to be convinced.
No one goes to war without learning everything they can about their opponant's weaponry.
And that's what we're in: A War.
The FairTax Fantasy is the first book to seriously challenge the concept of the FairTax. We do a disservice to ourselves and every taxpayer in America if we just dismiss it. Hewitt and Adler have revealed their ammunition. We have to be prepared to answer every point.
You're well-informed. I like to think that I am as well. But I'm also smart enough to know there are specifics I may not be well enough prepared to answer.
These boards can't only be a gathering place for FairTax cheerleaders. They should be a place where visitors leave with more ammunition than when they arrived.
That's the reason my summaries will continue.
And you're right...the enthusiasm for the FairTax is inspiring!
"You may believe that anyone who has any problem with the FairTax is a fraud, and has no argument"
No not anyone!! Just these lairs. I can refute misconceptions. Liars don't want to be refuted so they present their fiction in a media that is difficult to refute. They are not presenting points of view, they are presenting fiction and hoping to make money from it and confuse the public. Politicians have been using this tactic for years. The public is not going to take the time to get the facts. They are going to believe the one who repeats himself the most or the ones the media repeats the most.
Young Mr. Todd, I am anxiously awaiting your comparrison of Mr. Hewitt's book to the FairTax. You seem to know a lot about Mr. Hewitt personally. I can only hope that he is sincere and that he is not just doing it for the money. So your insight is very helpful. I am keeping an open mind.
I hope you don't get the impression that I find no fault with FairTax. With any system we have there will be cheats. I just think with FairTax the improprieties will be easier to dectect. And anything that doesn't work well will become blatently apparent and changed accordingly.
I wish our founding fathers had started with FairTax and now we modern types were trying to make a case for the income tax.
Ask the author of "fantasy" to tell us his solution to the current tax system. I believe I remember you saying he agreed with the idea that the current system is broken? It seems to me, he has three current choices. What is his solution? Which does he choose over Fairtax ? For me,,,, Why denigrate the best if you have nothing to say to improve it. If he admits the current system needs to go or at least that the IRS needs to go, and does not have a solution, or can not find something better than Fairtax, then his book is just to further his own agenda and one of his listeners needs to tell him that. Where does he think the energy needs to be focused ? Read the book?? No thanks I've read the fair tax bill!! Even with the listing of sponsors and credits which take up pages and pages, it is only 61 pages long when printed from the Library of Congress web site. It is short enough to read even considering you have to read some of it three or five times due to legalize language. That's a far cry from the thousands of pages currently being used, written in even more complicated language. What does he say his solution is?
You and I had this argument in Waynesville a couple weeks ago. I've thought long and hard about it and here is my conclusion. For those who don't know the discussion, it was whether the tax was 23% or 30%. I know the inclusive vs. the exclusive. But here is the rub. The 23% relies on knowing the final price of the product i.e. $1.00 for the loaf of bread. The only way we know that is that it includes the taxes on the product. When they disappear, we no longer know that price. So either we are going to pay 23% which would make the price of the product 94.71 cents or 30% for $1.00. I've never heard this argument so I don't know the answer. I still don't mind the 30% tax simply because, as I told David, in reality, we pay 50% tax now. This is usually not brought up when the argument starts about whether it is a 23% or 30%. Who cares! It beats 50%, the real tax we pay.
The other rub I see is the talk about doing away with the IRS. Just watching this discussion and how complicated the determination of "new" vs. "old', re-sale vs. new sale, etc. who in the world is going to police this system to determine that? And keep in mind, Obama has just declared war on "illegal tax cheats" (real meaning, loopholes which are be definition, legal). And keep in mind, with what he proposed, you will have to somehow prove your innocence when it comes to having funds overseas. With the tax people, it is always guilty until you spend big bucks to prove your innocence.
I am a strong proponent of Fair Tax but, like Todd, we MUST address these things in order to put forth strong arguments. David, I am sorry to say, people generally won't read bills in Congress. Even when it comes to forking over gobs of money to politicians.
Larry, good to hear from you again. Not sure how much of this thread you were following, but most of it was started because of the Fairtax Fantasy book. On this site It is great to hear/see so many people involved with trying to get Fairtax approved by the masses. According to what I have heard, we only need 2% of the US public on board to actually make a law happen.
With regard to our discussion in Waynesville at the Republican convention, Art Villa sums that up with great examples at this link.
by the way, I just found out there are 17,300 members of the Facebook Fairtax group. All my friends on Facebook (and probably Todd on this site) are already tired of hearing about Fairtax from me. Every one here needs to invite all those folks from Facebook to join this Fairtaxnation group so they can find out what is happening in their own areas. (And so we can have more numbers. )
If I can add my 23% here ( ;-) ), you are exactly right that determining the FairTax on anything will depend on the price of the item. (In an upcoming summary of another FairTax Fantasy chapter, I'll point out Hewitt and Adler's inane argument at why this makes pricing too complex for retailers to figure out. It's far too silly an explanation for such serious men.)
But FairTax proponants have always said that 23% of the cost of something at the register will be the FairTax. Does it matter in the least how the figure was arrived at? Not to me.
Also, for me the elimination of the IRS is a very minor selling point of the FairTax anyway. In my mind, it's a metaphor for eliminating an intrusion of a huge governement agency into the lives of Joe and Jane Sixpack. Obviously there has to be a policing agency. Under the FairTax that's planned to be through the states, but someone has to monitor it at the Federal level.
I imagine most of the staffing of the State collection agencies will be with those who already have experience with tax compliance. Where do we expect that pool of people to come from?