National Sales Tax
by Harry Browne
been opposed to the idea of a national sales tax from the first
time I heard of it so long as it does not involve a dramatic
reduction in federal spending. Without a reduction in spending,
it is just rearranging the burden of big government (which is also
the case for any tax cut that doesn't involve a reduction in spending).
And thus is a complete waste of our time and effort if we support
I've said that, once the poor have been made exempt and all the
politically strongest industries have exempted their products from
the tax, the rate will have to be at least 30% and probably
even more than that. Because of this, it's very unlikely that the
tax will ever even be enacted.
Now Bryan Russel has written to me to provide a number of other
reasons to shun the idea of a national sales tax. Here's some of
what he said:
hurt the economy because it would be an incentive for people
not to buy new products, but to buy used items instead (garage
sales etc.) to avoid the huge tax.
element in all retailing. Can you say "black markets"?!
lobbying for their product to be tax exempt or at a reduced
tax because it is environmentally friendly or is produced by
a minority owned company, etc. In short, we would end up
with a complicated sales tax code similar to the income
end up having to carry "tax I.D. cards" because sooner
or later the politicians would decide that poor people should
pay at a lower rate and maybe rich people would pay at a higher
need to keep records of how much sales tax we pay to
make sure someone who is making $200,000.00 a year is not paying
only $500 in sales tax and thus must be "cheating" by
buying things in the new black market or whatever.
regulations would be overwhelming. The government would be prying
into inventory books, as well as tracking all goods to make
sure the tax is paid. TVs and other high dollar items might
have to include microchips to track them to make sure the tax gets
The more you think about it the more problems you can imagine, and
the bottom line is that we will still have to pay too much,
special interests will still get exemptions, and government will
still be collecting the bulk of our earnings to make war and force
expensive political schemes on us.
Amen, Brother Bryan.
Harry Browne [send
him mail], the author of Why
Government Doesn't Work
and many other books, was the Libertarian presidential candidate
in 1996 and 2000. See his website.
© 2005 Harry Browne