Drudge reports that “A domestic centerpiece of the Bush/GOP agenda for a second Bush term is getting rid of the Internal Revenue Service…” according to a forthcoming book by the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. He proposes to replace the income tax with a flat tax, national sales tax or value added tax. He touts the reduced tax preparation burden and claims that this would help attract capital and keep it in the U.S.
Two observations. First, this is a great way to distract from the war issue which is a loser for the GOP. This applies whether they are serious about pushing this through or if it is just a distraction. Secondly, this is by no means a libertarian proposal. Expecting productivity benefits from the reduced tax prep., Hastert says, “You could double the economy over the next fifteen years. All of a sudden, the problem of what future generations owe in Social Security and Medicare won’t be so daunting anymore. The answer is to grow the economy…” So the point of this proposal is to make the tax system more efficient so as to extract more resources for the State so that social welfare programs can continue (and intervention abroad no doubt). Not exactly a libertarian, or even traditionally conservative, goal. Nevertheless, the income tax and the IRS are so thoroughly hated that many folks will be swayed at the thought of those being ended even if doesn’t really mean a reduced tax burden. [Thanks Christen Mitchell.]9:23 pm on August 1, 2004 Email Stephen W. Carson