The Crackpot FairTax Trade I'm Calling You Out, Neal Boortz

Neal Boortz and his FairTax brigade tell us we can trade the entire Income Tax for the fair, beneficial, and simple FairTax. But, the FairTax proposal can be passed by a simple majority of both houses of Congress plus the President’s signature, while the much-touted repeal of the 16th Amendment, which authorizes the income tax, requires a much more demanding 2/3 vote in each house and then approval by of state legislatures. So, the likelihood of ending up with both the 23% federal tax (which is actually 30% the way everyone except FairTaxers calculate sales taxes) and the current income tax is serious, indeed.

No one should trust politicians (Neal actually says he doesn't!). Just because a bill reads one way when it is looking for sponsors doesn’t mean it will read the same once its worked its way through committee and the entire House and then the Senate and the conference committee and the regulations to be written after becoming law. (Neal thinks we should be grateful that the enforcement agency writing the regulations to implement and collect the tax will go by some name other than "Internal Revenue Service.")

Think of who will be involved in all of this: the Ted Kennedys, Harry Reids, Chuck Schumers, as well as a bunch of Republicans who are on the biggest spending spree since LBJ and the saviors of America who were elected with the Contract with America and then couldn’t even kill off the National Endowment for the Arts!

In my dealings with FairTax enthusiasts I’ve challenged them (and I’m asking readers here as well) to give me a (some) meaningful example(s) of politicians trading away some power for a new taxing authority. So far, no examples.

I have repeatedly sent this point to The TalkMaster by email, snail mail, and at my Amazon review. Neal regularly responds to dissenters on the air and at his website, but NEVER to this basic point or to my other three. So, I'm calling you out, Neal Boortz. Answer the very serious concern about trading power to politicians. Do it here for the very popular website where you can reach so many politically aware readers. Do it here where your allies on seemingly all other economic issues – the minimum wage law, government schools, tax cuts, eminent domain, business regulation, socialism, price controls, etc., etc. – can be won over. Do it here so the prolific writers at this website can be enlisted in your great cause. Do it here to enlighten the economic writers you repeatedly and properly recommend, such as Walter Williams and Harry Browne, so they can shed their mistaken views on the FairTax. We're eagerly awaiting you, Neal.

August 30, 2005

Jim Cox is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Lawrenceville Campus of Georgia Perimeter College and author of Minimum Wage, Maximum Damage.