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national retail sales tax

Matthew Phillips
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Joined: Mar 09, 2001
Posts: 2676
What do you think of the national retail sales tax proposed at http://www.fairtax.org/?
I don't think that it is perfect because it taxes behavior, but I think it's a far cry better than the current income tax which taxes achievement. I don't like the rebate aspect of the tax because it is something that the political parties can use to hide the facts about the tax and attack each other. I would prefer the rate adjusted so that even at poverty level it is affordable. Of course cutting the pork out of the federal budget would help with that too.


Matthew Phillips
Randall Twede
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Joined: Oct 21, 2000
Posts: 4340
    
    2

screw that! sales tax is just a way for the rich to get richer and the poor get poorer. the rich spend a tiny fraction of their income, the rest they invest and get richer. the poor spend ALL their income!
dont get me started
[ March 05, 2003: Message edited by: Randall Twede ]

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Rufus BugleWeed
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Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
Yeah it's a regressive tax and sales taxes are too high already.
I certainly would agree that the income tax system is too complicated and has too many loop holes for the well connected.
The government should tax gas more. Heck it's cheaper than bottled water.
Look at how much money we could save if we did not have to send 300K people to the Persian Gulf to give one pain in the butt the boot.
User fees ought to explored more. I am anxious to see how London's downtown anti congestion tax is going to work out.
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
I don't like the idea of a national sales tax either.
Here is an irs breakdown of tax collections:

Total income tax share (percentage):
1% 5% 10% 25% 50%
1986: 100.00......25.75......42.57......54.69......76.02......93.54
1987: 100.00......24.81......43.26......55.61......76.92......93.93
1988: 100.00......27.58......45.62......57.28......77.84......94.28
1989: 100.00......25.24......43.94......55.78......77.22......94.17
1990: 100.00......25.13......43.64......55.36......77.02......94.19
1991: 100.00......24.82......43.38......55.82......77.29......94.52
1992: 100.00......27.54......45.88......58.01......78.48......94.94
1993: 100.00......29.01......47.36......59.24......79.27......95.19
1994: 100.00......28.86......47.52......59.45......79.55......95.23
1995: 100.00......30.26......48.91......60.75......80.36......95.39
1996: 100.00......32.31......50.97......62.51......81.32......95.68
1997: 100.00......33.17......51.87......63.20......81.67......95.72
1998: 100.00......34.75......53.84......65.04......82.69......95.79
1999: 100.00......36.18......55.45......66.45......83.54......96.00
2000: 100.00......37.42......56.47......67.33......84.01......96.09
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Sales taxes are the most regressive form of taxation because the poor need to spend a greater percentage of their income on taxable goods and services. I would prefer to see all sales tax abolished but that will never happen because it is the only way for states to tax citizens of other states. (This is why hotel taxes in NYC are incredibly high. It is very easy to tax people who don't get to vote on taxes.)


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Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
I don't think that it is perfect because it taxes behavior, but I think it's a far cry better than the current income tax which taxes achievement.
I don't see anything wrong with taxing those who can afford it. After all, who is getting the most benefit of America's freedom, the guy living in a box on the street or a CEO making $20,000,000 per year? Seems to me that the guy getting the benefit should be willing to pay for it. I think as long as the top rates are not unreasonably high that there is no real problem with an income based tax. It certainly is the fairest form of taxation.
Matthew Phillips
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Joined: Mar 09, 2001
Posts: 2676
I guess I just look at this from a different perspective. Why should the person who made good decisions, got an education, developed connections, and worked hard be punished while the person who decided to skip school, do drugs, and make generally bad decisions get a free ride. I'm not saying that all homeless people made poor decisions but most did. I would prefer to see a bill go to each citizen for an equal share in the cost of government. If the federal government were run constitutionally, then we would all get an equal share of the benefits.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Under your plan, would citizens who couldn't pay the bill have their citizenship revoked?
I think the problem is that too many people see paying taxes as a punishment. It isn't. After all, you are the one who decides how your tax dollars are spent through your elected officials. The government isn't taking your money because you are the government! You may not like how your elected officials decide to spend your money but that is the price you pay for being part of society.
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
My biggest problem is that when they raise taxes. I have never been asked how I was going to pay for them. But when it is suggested to let me keep some of my money. The whining and crying that goes on about how will the government pay for it.
Matthew Phillips
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Joined: Mar 09, 2001
Posts: 2676
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Under your plan, would citizens who couldn't pay the bill have their citizenship revoked?
I think the problem is that too many people see paying taxes as a punishment. It isn't. After all, you are the one who decides how your tax dollars are spent through your elected officials. The government isn't taking your money because you are the government! You may not like how your elected officials decide to spend your money but that is the price you pay for being part of society.


Who wouldn't be able to pay the taxes. Basic necessities (food, shelter, etc.) are rebated (the part I don't like about the plan). What I would prefer to see is basic necessities not being taxed.
I think that the thing that disturbs me most about the whole tax debate is that society as a whole has come to accept that a person's property does not truly belong to them. You say that the government is not taking my money, but they are. They are taking it from me, based on the fact that I have made good decisions and live above poverty level, and giving it to someone that made poor decisions to bring them up to poverty level.
I work hard to earn my money. I am certainly not rich, but I am not poor either. Why should anyone have to give up a larger or smaller amount of their property for the sake of "fairness." It hardly seems fair and IMO violates the concept of equal protection under the law.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
You say that the government is not taking my money, but they are. They are taking it from me...
See, this is where you are getting confused. The government isn't taking your money because you are the government! You decided to give some of your money to the poor. You decided what the tax rates should be. You made these decisions through your elected representatives. You are the government. The government is not some foreign invading force. It isn't 1776 and we aren't being taxed by Parliament.
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
...and giving it to someone that made poor decisions to bring them up to poverty level.

Not all poverty is caused by poor decisions.
As far as the rest of your statement, I can kind of see your point. It's hard to go to work everyday to provide for yourself and your family to recieve a paycheck with 20% taken out for taxes. Then take your remaining 80% and going to the grocery store to buy some food for your family just to have another 5 to 10% taken out for sales tax.
And then it becomes increasinlgy difficult to deal with it when you see your elected officials giving themselves raises, raising taxes, etc.
But as Thomas said, it's part of being an American and living in society as we know it.
But it doesn't hurt to want to change the way in which tax money is recieved and spent. And that too is part of our government. Being able to elect new representatives to give it a better shot.


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Matthew Phillips
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Joined: Mar 09, 2001
Posts: 2676
Actually, I didn't because I have had only one person I have ever voted for win and he supports the fair tax plan. That is neither here nor there.
What you are suggesting is that this country is a democracy. It is not. We are a constitutional republic. If you have the time, read The Federalist Papers. They were basically the marketing scheme that supporters of the Constitution used to try to get it passed in New York. I haven't read all of it yet, but one thing is perfectly clear: our founding fathers feared democracy.
The first and foremost duty of any elected official is to the law, not to the electorate. The law of the federal government is the Constitution. It provides for elected officials to raise taxes with explicit limitations on what they may be used for.
The Constitution did not provide for an income tax. That was passed by amendment, which is perfectly fine. The amendment does not require an income tax, it merely provides for the possibility. The current system is horribly broken. Income taxes do not tax the rich or the poor. They tax the people who actually drive a capitalist economy by producing something of value and exchanging it for money.
Matthew Phillips
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Joined: Mar 09, 2001
Posts: 2676
Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:

Not all poverty is caused by poor decisions.
As far as the rest of your statement, I can kind of see your point. It's hard to go to work everyday to provide for yourself and your family to recieve a paycheck with 20% taken out for taxes. Then take your remaining 80% and going to the grocery store to buy some food for your family just to have another 5 to 10% taken out for sales tax.
And then it becomes increasinlgy difficult to deal with it when you see your elected officials giving themselves raises, raising taxes, etc.
But as Thomas said, it's part of being an American and living in society as we know it.
But it doesn't hurt to want to change the way in which tax money is recieved and spent. And that too is part of our government. Being able to elect new representatives to give it a better shot.

I thought I had acknowledged that not all poverty is the result of poor decision, but apparently I deleted it before hitting submit.
I understand that paying taxes is part of living in a civilized society. I mainly was looking for something to disagree with Thomas on. Seriously, I wanted to see how other people felt about a national sales tax. I like it better than an income tax, but it still has its flaws.
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:

It's hard to go to work everyday to provide for yourself and your family to recieve a paycheck with 20% taken out for taxes.

You only get 20% taken out. How did you swing that? With income tax, fica, state, medicare and local it has to be more than 20%.
Matthew Phillips
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Joined: Mar 09, 2001
Posts: 2676
What's taken out doesn't really matter to me. It is what I actually pay that bothers me. In 2001 I paid 41% of my money in federal and state taxes. Tack on sales and excise taxes and I'm pushing 50%. I'm still working on my return for 2002, but I'm betting that the number will be similar.
John Smith
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Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937

Why should the person who made good decisions, got an education, developed connections, and worked hard be punished while the person who decided to skip school, do drugs, and make generally bad decisions get a free ride. I'm not saying that all homeless people made poor decisions but most did. I would prefer to see a bill go to each citizen for an equal share in the cost of government. If the federal government were run constitutionally, then we would all get an equal share of the benefits.

Well said. The most fair system is the one that doesn't take any money from my paycheck. But if you do expropriate, take the same amount (not percentage!) from everybody, regardless of their income. Progressive taxation is pure socialism, -- the Russian bolsheviks firmly believed that if you have 2 cows, one should be taken away from you and given to the poor bastard who has none. What is truly amazing to me is that how the US which is the country based on the principles of individualism, private property, freedom from the government, free enterprize, self interest and self sufficiency, fell under the spell of the communist idea that progressive taxation is fair. Where did this come from?
Our taxes go to protect and defend our country, to build highways, to perform scientific research, to subsidize arts and culture, to fight the crime, and to protect the environment, among other things. Now if I am a millionare, why should I pay more than my neighbor? The US army protects me and my neighbor equaly well, we use the same highways, we both benefit from the cancer research, we both enjoy visiting museums, and we breathe the same air. No matter how you present the progressive taxation, it's a day light robbery, pure and simple. The government might as well come to my house, take half of my furniture, and ship it to a homeless shelter using their Amtrak that I subsidise, too. Or they may decide that my house is too large for myself, and the people in need of shelter have a right to live in my fifth bedroom. Hey, the money that I earned is as much of my private property as my real estate. Is it not protected by the Constitution?
The reason the taxes are so high in the first place is because the government has far exceeded its mandate to protect the people. When the income tax was first instituted in US, the rate was about 3%, I think. The real question is not how to tax, but whether to tax. I happen to believe that the only government services that should exist and that we should be paying for are the defense against the external enemies (the army), and the protection from the domestic criminals (the police). All the rest (the school system, the post service, the firefighters, the arts and recreation, the mass transit, and everything else) should be given to private companies to manage on the principles of supply and demand, and profitability, without the government subsidies. Now that's what I call a fair tax system!
Oh, by the way, don't tell me that I must wear my seatbelt, not smoke pot, and have sex in a missionary position only! Is this is where my tax money goes, -- "transportation safety", "public health", and "AIDS research", respectively? Please, let me use my own money to decide how I should control and improve my life.
For 25 years, I lived in Soviet Union, the country where the people "pretended to work" (because there was no incentive to be competitive) and the government "pretended to pay" (the ultimate taxation, -- there was not much to take home after the implicit deductions for government programs), where the "welfare of the society" was the ultimate goal well above the individual freedom, where the government spending, waste, corruption, and abuse of power exceeded all imaginable limits and ultimately lead to the fall of the regime (thanks God). I am now a happy US citizen, but what I really want to know is, have some of you fellow Americans lost touch with the first principles and common sense to defend the progressive taxation? Did I have to come all the way from the totalitarian state on another continent to protect American freedom, prosperity, and democracy?
Eugene.
[ March 07, 2003: Message edited by: Eugene Kononov ]
Paul Stevens
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Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
I wouldn't take it to the extreme you did. Much of that belongs to state and local government as proscribed in the constitution.
Matthew Phillips
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Joined: Mar 09, 2001
Posts: 2676
Well said, Eugene. I was reading The Federalist Papers (if you really want to understand the purpose of the Constitution it is a must read) last night, and James Madison addressed the issue of "general welfare" being to broad. His answer to that was that the general statement was followed by the specifics of how the federal government would protect the general welfare of the U.S. If our country could just get back to the basics of the Constitution, the government would not be spending the large amounts of money that it is currently spending. That money would end up in the pockets of people who would spend it in ways that really create jobs. Those jobs would be filled by people who truly want to work to better themselves. Those that don't want to better their lot in life will not be able to force others to create a better life for them.
Matthew Phillips
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Joined: Mar 09, 2001
Posts: 2676
I should say here that I agree with Paul that many functions that the federal government has taken over should be returned to the control of the states.
 
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