R. Lee Wrights: No Matter How You Say It, the Fair Tax Isn’t Fair


No Matter How You Say It, the Fair Tax Isn't Fair

by R. Lee Wrights

BURNET, Texas (Jan. 14) – Sometimes a partial truth is more misleading than an outright lie. Fair Tax proponents present it as a fair and efficient “solution to the frustration and inequity of our current tax system.” Even ignoring the point that “there ain't no such thing as a fair tax,” America does not need an “efficient” solution to our oppressive and unjust federal tax system. We need to dismantle it, and the sooner the better.

The Fair Tax advocates claim that since the bill was deliberately and carefully crafted to be “revenue neutral,” it is politically viable and can be passed. But that's exactly the problem. By allowing the government to continue to collect the same amount that is now collected by the federal income tax, and some say even more than is collected now, the best we can hope for is we maintain the status quo. With the possibility of collecting more of our money than is collected now, things will only get worse. We can never begin to restore limited Constitutional government to our nation so long as the federal spending spree goes unabated.

Unfortunately, Fair Tax advocates are using pleasant-sounding names to mask the real meaning of things. Just as with the USA PATRIOT Act, one of the most unpatriotic pieces of legislation every to pass Congress, the title of this bill is a complete misnomer, since no tax is fair. They also call it a “consumption tax,” which cleverly disguises its far-reaching impact. The tax is levied on “all goods and services sold at retail,” and when they say “all” they mean “all.” There are no exceptions or exemptions, except for education and “used” items.

You'll be paying a supposed “fair” tax for things you might not have thought were consumption, like your new home, credit card, mortgage and car loan interest, medical bills, utilities, and legal fees. You'll even pay a national sales tax on gasoline, on top of both state taxes and existing federal taxes which won't be repealed. Murray Rothbard called the consumption tax “a payment for permission to live” because “it implies that a man will not be allowed to advance or even sustain his own life, unless he pays, off the top, a fee to the State for permission to do so.” There is nothing fair, equal, just or pleasant about it.

Fair Tax proponents also use a new word, “prebate,” to describe the government welfare check sent to every American household to cover the cost of the tax on essential goods and services. I mean, wouldn’t it make more sense to not tax essential goods and services in the first place? Not to mention the fact that everybody gets the money, whether they pay the tax or not. It is just another example of duplicity in this bill.

How can anyone deny that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, fair about taking money from people who earn it and giving it to people who don't? Taking money from those who earn it and giving it to those who don't is the very definition of socialism. The “prebate” is clearly and simply just another plan for the redistribution of wealth, and will further cement the dependence on government handouts of virtually every American.

To compound and solidify this dependency on government, the Fair Tax bill not only turns every American business owner into a federal tax collector (even those that don't currently collect sales taxes), it also creates new federal bureaucracies to collect the taxes and dole out the “prebate” checks. It also keeps the tax courts in place. The Fair Tax is not only “revenue neutral” it does nothing to reduce the size and power of the federal taxing authority. The bureaucracies it creates may even grow to be more intrusive, oppressive and destructive to individual liberty that the IRS we fear today. Even the language used in the bill is as confusing and convoluted as the current tax code. Here is how it “defines” the rebate:

“For purposes of subsection (a) (2), the term 'rebate' means so much of an abatement, credit, refund, or other payment, as was made on the ground that the tax imposed by chapter 41, 42, 43, or 44 was less than the excess of the amount specified in subsection (a)(1) over the rebates previously made.”

While Fair Tax proponents rail at the complexities, inequities and injustice of the current tax system, they don't seem to understand that the system they propose is just as complex, unequal and unjust. The idea that government has the right to seize a portion of a person's income was anathema to the Founding Fathers of our nation. That's why the original Constitution of the United States had a specific prohibition on direct taxation of persons.

There is no one thing we can do to solve the problem of government overspending. Many things need to happen. Repealing income tax — and not replacing it — is just the beginning. But it is the best beginning and the essential first step to restoring the limited government our Founders envisioned.

R. Lee Wrights, 53, a libertarian writer and political activist, is seeking the presidential nomination because he believes the Libertarian message in 2012 must be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will be spent for ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states. Wrights is a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., he now lives and works in Texas.

Lee Wrights for President
Contact: Brian Irving, press secretary