There is a serious assault on the 16th Amendment going on today, let's help it! Write your congressmen and tell them that you support it! - IC
A National Sales Tax
March 31, 2005
His bill would abolish the IRS and the many billions of tax forms it sends out and receives. He would erase the federal income tax system -- personal and corporate income taxes, the regressive payroll tax and self-employment tax, capital gains, gift and estate taxes, the alternative minimum tax and the earned income tax credit -- and replace all that with a 23 percent national sales tax on personal consumption. That would not only sensitize consumers to the cost of government with every purchase, it would destroy
Under his bill, he says, all goods, imported and domestic, would be treated equally at the checkout counter, and all taxpayers -- including upward of 50 million foreign visitors annually -- would pay ``as much as they choose, when they choose, by how they choose to spend.” And his bill untaxes the poor by including an advanced monthly rebate, for every household, equal to the sales tax on consumption of essential goods and services, as calculated by the government, up to the annually adjusted poverty level.
Today the percentage of taxpayers who rely on professional tax preparers is at an all-time high. The 67 percent of tax filers who do not itemize may think they avoid compliance costs, which include nagging uncertainty about whether one has properly complied with a tax code about the meaning of which experts differ. But everyone pays the cost of the tax system’s vast drag on the economy.
Linder says Americans spend 7 billion hours a year filling out IRS forms and at least that much calculating the tax implications of business decisions. Economic growth suffers because corporate boards waste huge amounts of time on such calculations rather than making economically rational allocations of resources. Money saved on compliance costs would fund job creation.
Corporations do not pay payroll and income taxes and compliance costs, they collect them from consumers through prices. So the 23 percent consumption tax would allow taxpayers to stop paying the huge embedded cost of corporate taxation. Linder says the director of the Congressional Budget Office told him it costs individuals and businesses about $500 billion to remit $2 trillion to
In 1945, corporations paid more than one-third of the government’s revenues. Now they pay only 11 percent because corporations, especially multinationals, are voluntary taxpayers. In a world increasingly without borders that block capital movements, corporations pay where the burden is lowest. Linder says $6 trillion in offshore accounts would have an incentive to come home under his plan.
Furthermore, by ending payroll and corporate taxes,
Critics argue that ending the income tax, with its deductibility of charitable contributions, would depress giving. Linder says: Piffle. In 1980, when the top personal income tax rate was 70 percent, a huge incentive for giving, individual charitable contributions were $40.7 billion. In 1986 the top rate was reduced to 28 percent, and by 1988 charitable giving was $86.7 billion. The lesson, says Linder, is that we give more money when we have more money.
When Speaker Dennis Hastert published a book last year, he was startled that interviewers were most interested in talking about Linder’s bill, which then had 54 co-sponsors. This year Hastert added Linder to the Ways and Means Committee. Linder cheerfully says his bill would reduce Ways and Means to ``a B committee” by ending the political fun of making the tax code ever more baroque for the benefit of K Street’s clients. Bliss.
©2005 Washington Post Writers Group