This FairTax thing everyone’s talking about

So a while back I was reading Wired magazine (the best magazine ever, by the way…) and I read about this book that promised to show me a way to abolish the IRS and reform tax law forever.  Feeling how I do about the IRS (that is to say, rather negatively at the best of times) and pretty much over the fact that the government really does just sit around with one hand in our pocket and one hand in theirs, I decided to look into it. 

FairTax Book

The book is called “The FairTax Book” and it’s written by some talk-show host I’ve never heard of and an equally obscure Senator. Thing is, they make sense.  You go through the book in a matter of hours (it’s a quick read and its written very well), they show you examples and issues, and you walk away feeling a couple of things.  First and foremost you feel “Wow, though, what a great plan.”  And it’s true.  It’s a great plan, theoretically.  It’s all very neatly proposed and seems to cover all the bases, all the arguments I could think of. 

The second thing you feel (and it’s unfortunate) is “this will never happen.  Congress will never, ever, in a million years
let this through.”  That kind of depresses me.  If the government
doesn’t want something, regardless of whether the people do, then it
just won’t happen.  Hmph.  The government is so convinced that they know what’s best for us that they treat us like children.  The terrible part is that it seems that we’ve bought into that and just sit back and ‘let the politicians politick.”  To me, that’s on par with voting for a politician simply because that’s the party you’re registered to.  Political decisions based purely on something so irrelevant as political party make me ill.

FairTax LogoThe democrats hate the FairTax act.  It takes away the government’s power to take away our earnings, which (potentially) threatens the resources available for all the social programs democrats love to dump money into.  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I believe our government is so negligent and mis-manages resources so badly that any reform would be a positive step.  Republicans don’t seem all that pleased with it, probably for the same reasons.  One thing I found amusing – politicians don’t pay income tax.  To me, any resistance to this act smells of greed – greed to keep a hold on that nice 30% of their income that we pay, yet they get to keep.  That’s a big sweeping generalization, of course.  I’m sure there’s plenty of legitimate reasons to resist tax reform.  I just can’t think of any.  And the ones I’ve read about have traipsed all over the spectrum from ridiculous to well-thought-out, but misinformed. 

There’s a lot of misinformation rolling around.  One of the biggest is the whole 23%/30% tax proposal.  Opponents to the FairTax love to say “They’re trying to sneak a 30% sales tax on you.”  There’s simply no shortage of explanations why that doesn’t make any sense.  Here’s a really good one from their home page.

A few sites that I’ve found interesting and that may provide information for the interested (and/or merely curious) are: FairTax.org, Citizens for Alternative Tax Plans, and the FairTax Scorecard .  There’s no shortage of websites dedicated to being negative about the FairTax – here’s an example.  By all means read the information – but so much of it is uninformed and fabricated information that it just doesn’t make sense.  It reads like crazy survivalist propaganda.

It’s really just a big propaganda battle.  What can we do?  Honestly, read the book.  There’s lots of interesting ideas, even if you’re not into the FairTax act as a whole.  It’ll open your eyes to a lot of facts about the government that I guarantee you didn’t know.