Reason Magazine did far more emoting than reasoning in their recent (May, 2011) article on the FairTax, Fair Tax Fouls. Instead of using logic and analysis of the benefits or drawbacks of the FairTax compared to our current, antiquated system of income taxation, or contrasting the FairTax with other tax reform proposals, Tim Cavanaugh chose to focus on phantasms and boogey men in constructing his rationale for dismissing the FairTax.
Even after he admitted the claimed benefits of the FairTax, such as job creation and increased personal savings, he poohooed the FairTax as “too complex”, using “complicated language”, “new words” and, most of all, requiring repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment.
Now, it is true repeal of an Amendment isn’t going to be simple, but if the American people spend a year or so without an income tax, and then are faced with either voting to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment or losing 30% of their paycheck through withholding once again, I seriously doubt you’ll be able to find anyone defending an income tax. So Cavanaugh’s argument is simply a non sequitur. If the FairTax is passed, and repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment fails, then the FairTax is repealed. If the FairTax is passed, and repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment is ratified by the States, then the FairTax stays, and the income tax is forever removed as a threat to the American worker.
Cavanaugh’s assertion that we should repeal the income tax, and not replace it with anything, is equally facetious. Like it or not, we need revenue to fund the legitimate functions of government. The FairTax is about HOW we collect those monies. The argument of HOW MUCH, is one to be fought later, after we have dispatched our monstrous income tax system and it’s parasitic industries.
Mr. Cavanaugh could also use some remedial math education as well as some help with his reading skills. Looking at the Reason Opinion Survey, which he used as the source of his assertion that two-thirds of the Nation opposes the FairTax, we find that those who somewhat or strongly oppose a national sales tax adds up to just slightly above 40%. And their poll question doesn’t differentiate between the FairTax, a national retail sales tax, and a VAT, a type of national sales tax applied to each stage of production. Actually, it’s more likely FairTax supporters recognized the linguistic cul-de-sac the pollster was trying to maneuver them into, and refused to lend their support to a European-style VAT. Either way, 40% isn’t 66%, even at Reason Magazine.
If Reason Magazine wants to do an in-depth exploration of various tax reform proposals, comparing and contrasting, I’d fully support them. But if foolish canards and misrepresentations is the extent of their analysis, then perhaps a name change would be more appropriate… Dunce Digest perhaps?