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nemethnm

Fair Tax

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I started to think that a NST would be a good idea as well. Partly because it is supposed to eliminate several items like estate tax, FICA etc. and simplify things. A 15% tax sounds great since you spend about 50% of your income in taxes from Federal to State and local. What is to stop them from making it a 100% tax? I didn't see anything in HR25 (I hope I got the bill # right) that put a check on that. I might have missed it. I believe the founders came up with a great taxing system. I have never found anything in the taxing laws that makes me or most Americans liable to pay a Federal Income Tax. I have read cases on the subject and one stands out to me, since someone brought it up, that says the 16th amendment never changed the way taxes were to be implemented. Unfortunately most people don't have the time, interest or education to research where they fall in with the tax laws. I'm not much different. Most of the people in government know this, but keep spreading the lie and enforce it through fear. The IRS employees that are high on the food chain also know this. Keeping us in the dark and feeding us half truths keeps them in power.

Point is I don't agree with the NST and if the tax laws were implemented as they are really supposed to be we would be that much closer to laissez-faire capitalism (in this area) than we are now.

I think I'll stop here, I can barely think coherently right now. I might be rambling. If so, I apologize and hopefully I'll do a better job later.

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AisA,

The first idea is that virtue consists of sacrifice for the sake of others, on the unstated (and false) notion that the only alternative is to advocate the sacrifice of others to self. The second idea is that it is acceptable to initiate the use of force to implement the first idea.

These two ideas, altruism and statism respectively, are rooted in the view of man as a helpless creature whose mind is incapable of grasping an unknowable universe.

I agree with this 100%.

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Would you support the bill? Do you think that a [national] sales tax is superior to an income tax in terms of fostering economic progress?

Neither fosters economic progress. Both violate your rights and rob from you.

If you are asking which one would be less evil, then I would say the income tax, because the national sales tax is supposedly going to make evil tax collectors more efficient at their jobs. And I, for one, don't want it to become easier for the government to steal from me.

I also don't want an evil system to become "fair." A FairTax means that people who before managed to escape governmental evil will now suffer like everyone else. I'm not for equality when it comes to violating people's rights.

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While I don't like taxes at all and avoid paying them as much as I can I think the national sales tax plan might be okay if it was "tweaked" in the following way: In the instance of a tax on the sale of gasoline a tax would be fine if there was a way to opt out of paying it. So assuming the purpose of this gas tax was roadway upkeep you pay the tax when you fuel your motor vehicle. But if instead, your just filling a gas can for your lawn mower, weed whip, etc., you could opt out and not pay the tax. In this way the "tax" could now be reinterpreted as a user fee. And that I would have a lot less problem with and it would not be a coercive tax, i.e., a person with a lot of patience could get around the fuel tax by filling a bunch of gas cans to fuel their vehicle, but most wouldn't waste the time.

While the above idea only applies to one instance of a national sales tax, with ingenuity, user fees with opt-out conditions like above could be widely created instead of the compulsory taxation we now have. And I think *this* would be a step in the right direction.

Eric Clayton

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If you are asking which one would be less evil, then I would say the income tax, because the national sales tax is supposedly going to make evil tax collectors more efficient at their jobs. And I, for one, don't want it to become easier for the government to steal from me.

Are you an advocate of violent revolution, or do you think it is moral to break the law only in this case?

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Neither fosters economic progress. Both violate your rights and rob from you.

If you are asking which one would be less evil, then I would say the income tax, because the national sales tax is supposedly going to make evil tax collectors more efficient at their jobs. And I, for one, don't want it to become easier for the government to steal from me.

I also don't want an evil system to become "fair." A FairTax means that people who before managed to escape governmental evil will now suffer like everyone else. I'm not for equality when it comes to violating people's rights.

I'd be the first one to agree that taxing is basically evil. I can not agree that the income tax is less evil. The income tax is unconstitutional, and is basically the theft of one's hard earned money and personal property. It is government imposed force, one has no choice in the matter. Along with that, one is required to verify, by official records, one's personal and business finances. It is an invasion of privacy. Your bank account, your retirement savings, and your investments are open to scrutiny by governmental agencies. Certainly you would equate that with evil? A consumption tax does not do this, nor does it require an IRS like agency to collect it. Only new items carry a this sales tax, which is a point of sale tax. Used products ( such cars, resale of homes and property, etc.) carry no sales tax. No one forces you to purchase items. Also consider this, the repeal of the 16th ammendment would also abolish all payroll, dividend, capital gains, estate, and corporate taxation. This will give the average worker in the US almost 30% more net pay on their paychecks. Couple this with lower costs to do business, less regulation, less overhead which in turn would lower the initial cost on manufactured items, lowering the prices so even with new (and only new) items carrying the sales tax, the overall cost would be cheaper than it is today. Without onerous taxation on businesses and corporations and all the regulations that come with all that red tape, companies would find it cheaper and easier to stay in the good ol' USA. In short, the Fair Tax Initiative would be, in effect, a job factory. New businesses would flourish, investment will skyrocket, and productive people will be keeping more of the fruits of their labors than before.

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Are you an advocate of violent revolution, or do you think it is moral to break the law only in this case?

I'm not an advocate of violent revolution. We still have peaceful options available to us.

Yes, I think it is moral to break the law in this case. Though, depending on the person, it might not be the wisest course of action. I pay my taxes, because I don't want to go to jail.

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I can not agree that the income tax is less evil. The income tax is unconstitutional ...

How so? Even if the income tax were unconstitutional, why does this make it more evil than the NST?

[The income tax] is basically the theft of one's hard earned money and personal property.

So is a NST.

It is government imposed force, one has no choice in the matter.

It's the same with a NST.

Along with that, one is required to verify, by official records, one's personal and business finances. [The income tax] is an invasion of privacy. Your bank account, your retirement savings, and your investments are open to scrutiny by governmental agencies.

Yes, in one case (income taxes) it is more difficult for the government to steal from people. And in the other case (NST), it is easier.

In the case of income taxes, the government has to worry about all citizens who earn an income and try to collect from them. That's a lot of people. In the case of a NST, the government only has to worry about citizens who operate businesses or sell goods. That's less people, which means less work for approximately the same pile of loot.

Certainly you would equate [the income tax] with evil?

Yes, I do. But not as evil as a NST.

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If you are asking which one would be less evil, then I would say the income tax, because the national sales tax is supposedly going to make evil tax collectors more efficient at their jobs. And I, for one, don't want it to become easier for the government to steal from me.

You assert that income tax is better (less evil) because the government is less efficient at collecting tax than it would be under this new tax system. Government effieciency is not my primary concern when it comes to tax collection. My primary concern is with how much money they take out of my pocket. More money = more evil. Right now about 40% of the money I make is stolen from me, most of the time before I even, see it. If I pay 23% tax on things I purchase that would be lower priced than they are now with 100% of my earnings, that seems a lot less evil.

Right now if I make $1, I only get $0.60. Let's say I want to go buy something that costs $1. It actually costs me $1.66 because I'm only working with 60% of my income. Under the new system and I want to but that same $1 item, it costs me $1.23. That's about 26% less of my income that the government gets. And that doesn't even figure in the expected lower prices on items.

I also don't want an evil system to become "fair." A FairTax means that people who before managed to escape governmental evil will now suffer like everyone else. I'm not for equality when it comes to violating people's rights.

What about the people now (the greatest producers) that suffer the worst under the current tax system?

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I'm not an advocate of violent revolution. We still have peaceful options available to us.

Yes, I think it is moral to break the law in this case. Though, depending on the person, it might not be the wisest course of action. I pay my taxes, because I don't want to go to jail.

Is it moral to break any unjust laws, or just this one? What I gather right now is that you would encourage someone to break an unjust law - any unjust law - if only there wasn't the risk of being caught.

Let me just say this: As long as the government allows me the mechanisms to peacefully persuade change, I would not allow a tax-evader into my house. A civilized society requires respect for the rule of law.

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My primary concern is with how much money they take out of my pocket.  More money = more evil.

One of the "selling points" of the NST is that it will increase tax revenue. So, by your own criteria, you should consider the NST more evil than the income tax.

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Is it moral to break any unjust laws, or just this one?

It may not be moral to take certain drugs, or have certain kinds of sex, and I certainly would not encourage anyone to engage in immoral behavior. However, I'm not going to side with a government who bans such behavior.

Likewise, I'm not going to side with tax collectors. If someone can get away with not paying taxes, then I would like to know how they do it.

Let me just say this: As long as the government allows me the mechanisms to peacefully persuade change, I would not allow a tax-evader into my house. A civilized society requires respect for the rule of law.

I can understand this view. But, I would put this question to you: At what point would you side with these people who defy an oppressive government?

Also, who is a bigger threat to you: the tax evader or the tax collector?

Would you let a tax collector into your house?

A civilized society requires respect for individual rights and objective law. Any old law will not do.

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One of the "selling points" of the NST is that it will increase tax revenue. So, by your own criteria, you should consider the NST more evil than the income tax.

Right after the sentence that you quoted I demonstrated how it would take less money out of my pocket. So by my own criteria, it is less evil.

I could see how the NST could increase tax revenue, but only because of the overall economic growth that such a tax cut would create. So collectively there would be more money collected, but less of a percentage of the total income of an individual.

Grammar edit.

Edited by Bryan

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... I would not allow a tax-evader into my house. A civilized society requires respect for the rule of law.

.A civilized society requires respect for individual rights and objective law. Any old law will not do.

This idea -- whether there can be a conflict between respect the law and respect for individual rights -- has cropped up in other threads. I know where my allegiance lies, but I cannot add anything new to the debate.

Rather, I'd like to ask if anyone here can provide references to any of Ayn Rand's writing that addresses the issue. Apart from her written work, surely a question like this must have come up in some lecture. Does anyone know?

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quote=Oakes,Feb 2 2005, 11:25 PM

Let me just say this: As long as the government allows me the mechanisms to peacefully persuade change, I would not allow a tax-evader into my house. A civilized society requires respect for the rule of law.

Before I offer a critisism of the above quote let me say I have read many of your posts in regards to the war on terror and I find myself in agreement with all you wrote there.

But in this case my thinking differs from yours and heres how: A civilized society *absolutely* requires respect for the rule of law, but with one caveat; the laws MUST BE OBJECTIVE.

Following your line of reasoning, does it follow that you would not let a person in your house who just set of fireworks on Independence Day? That is illegal. Would you not let a friend in your home if on the drive over he chose not to wear a seat belt? That too is illegal in most states.

I'm going to assume, please correct me if I wrong, you would overlook these minor transgressions and allow your friend in your home.

*If* my above assumption in this case is valid *and* it's true that taxes are a MUCH more evil form of government intrusion and coersion than my examples *then* does it follow that people who "evade" taxes should not be allowed in your home?

I only respect objective rational law because that is the only law that conform with reality.

Sure you can get a ticket for not wearing a seat belt but *that* is an indictment against our society *not* a man's moral character. And that is what matters to me.

Eric Clayton

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How so? Even if the income tax were unconstitutional, why does this make it more evil than the NST?

Yes, in one case (income taxes) it is more difficult for the government to steal from people. And in the other case (NST), it is easier.

In the case of income taxes, the government has to worry about all citizens who earn an income and try to collect from them. That's a lot of people. In the case of a NST, the government only has to worry about citizens who operate businesses or sell goods. That's less people, which means less work for approximately the same pile of loot.

Yes, I do. But not as evil as a NST.

Mr Swig,

Did you read the rest of my post as far as how the NST will lower overall costs? Also, no one is forced to pay a one time sales tax on new items. It is voluntary, just don't buy it. I know, people have to eat and purchase, but short of ending all taxes ( which I'd love, btw), the Fair Tax Initiative is preferable to income taxes. Actually, with a minarchist government we'd be able to exist on excise taxes only, hopefully someday that will happen.

BTW, I read your article about Rush Limbaugh. Well done! Wow, do you ever have him pegged! That was a good piece of powerful writing, and I think a whole lot of people need to read your article. Have you thought about having it published or circulated around?

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Mr Swig,

Did you read the rest of my post as far as how the NST will lower overall costs?

Yes, I did. But I don't have time now to properly respond to it. You threw a lot of ideas at me, and it will take some time for me to digest and consider the notion that a NST will lower costs and grow the economy. I am not an economist. So, right now I'm not even sure whether what you say is true or not.

I have some urgent work to get done before I can start thinking about this in more depth. I will try to re-engage within a week.

BTW, I read your article about Rush Limbaugh. Well done! Wow, do you ever have him pegged! That was a good piece of powerful writing, and I think a whole lot of people need to read your article. Have you thought about having it published or circulated around?

I appreciate that.

Currently I'm not trying to publish it anywhere else. The Limbaugh paper is the first in a series of papers that I am writing on the religious threat to this nation, and I don't plan to focus on publishing/circulating it elsewhere until the whole series is finished. My primary goal now is to complete the series as quickly as possible and put together my full picture of the threat of religious democracy. If I'm going to finish the series this year, which is my plan, I need to do a lot more painful reading of books by popular religious and political figures. That's what I'm devoting my free time to.

There will be approximately 5-6 papers in the series. I am putting the finishing touches on the 2nd and 3rd papers right now. I hope to publish the 2nd one here within a month. Its working title is Sean Hannity and the Tactics of the Enemy.

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I can understand this view. But, I would put this question to you: At what point would you side with these people who defy an oppressive government?

Like I said: When the government no longer allows me the mechanisms to peacefully persuade change.

Would you let a tax collector into your house?

If you join a job specifically to enforce unjust laws, you are being immoral and I wouldn't associate with you.

A civilized society requires respect for individual rights and objective law. Any old law will not do.

Agreed - and since America upholds both of those enough to make persuasion possible, it is a civilized society.

But in this case my thinking differs from yours and heres how: A civilized society *absolutely* requires respect for the rule of law, but with one caveat; the laws MUST BE OBJECTIVE.

See the immediately preceeding quote.

Following your line of reasoning, does it follow that you would not let a person in your house who just set of fireworks on Independence Day? That is illegal. Would you not let a friend in your home if on the drive over he chose not to wear a seat belt? That too is illegal in most states.

In accordance with the Objectivist virtue of Justice, I punish people according to the severity of their immorality. Although I regard all breaches of the law in civilized societies as immoral, I would not treat the illegal use of fireworks or lack of a seat belt the same as I would a more serious crime like tax evasion.

As for laws that are on the books but rarely if ever enforced, I would not regard it as immoral to break them. If the government doesn't respect the law enough to enforce it, I need not respect it enough to follow it. (this may or may not apply to the examples you gave)

I only respect objective rational law because that is the only law that conform with reality.
I only support objective, rational law, but because I live in a free, civilized country where I can voice my disagreements, I need not - and thus have no moral right to - disregard unjust laws in order to get rid of them.

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I could see how the NST could increase tax revenue, but only because of the overall economic growth that such a tax cut would create.

... the overall reduction in economic harm which progressively graduated income taxes create by its replacement with a tax less motivated by hatred for the good for being the good ...

<rant>

The progressively graduated income tax is hatred of the good for being the good, in addition to being an infringement on individual rights. That's why socialism prefers it. The sales tax is merely an infringement on individual rights, the (faulty) justification of which is that we need a well-funded government to protect the rest of our individual rights. The sales tax is merely a contradiction. The progressively graduated income tax is a declaration of war against reason.

The replacement of a war against reason and the hatred of the good for being the good with merely an internally contradictory infringement of individual rights, which contradiction must find a resolution, is a step up.

However, a federal head tax such as the US had at its inception, levied on the states according to their populations, is the least evil form of federal taxation.

</rant>

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However, a federal head tax such as the US had at its inception, levied on the states according to their populations, is the least evil form of federal taxation.

Could you explain how a head tax would work? How would the states take the money from the people?

I think Thomas Sowell has it right when he said: From the standpoint of the allocation of resources, government should either not tax resources, goods, and services or else tax them all equally, so as to minimize the distortions of choices made by customers and producers. (Basic Economics, pg.58) What would be the best tax to do that?

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I do not come from the standpoint of the allocation of resources. That is a collectivist premise, one that at root contradicts capitalism. I would recommend Reisman, who has a better understanding of capitalism, over Sowell.

There is no such thing as economy-wide egalitarian taxation. The concept does not make sense.

Under a direct tax (a federal head tax levied on states in proportion to their populations), the states individually could adopt different method of raising revenue. The capitalist states could eliminate income and sales taxation, and instead raise revenue by noncoercive means, such as those Ayn Rand suggested.

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I do not come from the standpoint of the allocation of resources. That is a collectivist premise, one that at root contradicts capitalism.

Resources are allocated under capitalism just as much as any other system. I think you're reading too much into that - Sowell does NOT mean coercive allocation. That misunderstanding was probably my fault, however, because I didn't provide the context in which he said it.

There is no such thing as economy-wide egalitarian taxation. The concept does not make sense.

Yeah, after some thought I can't understand how it would be implemented.

Under a direct tax (a federal head tax levied on states in proportion to their populations), the states individually could adopt different method of raising revenue. The capitalist states could eliminate income and sales taxation, and instead raise revenue by noncoercive means, such as those Ayn Rand suggested.

That's what I thought it meant - and now I really like it. The fact that it could lead to a non-coercive tax system is enough for me to support it, and the fact that it offers choice and flexibility on part of the states makes it seem politically viable. What do you think? Do you see it as realistic?

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Resources are not allocated. Resources are not allocated. The whole concept of the allocation of resources is part of modern economic's definition of its subject. But it's a fraud. I know what Sowell said and meant, and I know the context. And then I picked up [http://www.capitalism.net]Reisman.

The entire universe is a stockpile of resources, and there is no scarcity of it and neither reason nor method to allocate it. An economic science which studies merely the allocation of resources is an economic science for non-conceptual, non-volitional animals unable to produce their own material well-being from the vast store of physical material that is existence, and who are consigned to grabbing what scarce resources such as berries and leaves they can before somebody else gets to them.

Reisman defines economics as "the science that studies the production of wealth under a system of division of labor". To fully appreciate this definition, you will need the context in which it appears. But even without full appreciation, it's a much better definition.

I don't think I'm reading too much into it. Bad ideas are at the heart of all that is wrong with the world. Sowell is not at fault and I know he does not mean coercive allocation. Nonetheless, I do not come from the standpoint of the allocation of resources. I come from the standpoint of the mind and of production.

A direct tax is realistic. In fact, it was very real. US Constitution, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: "[...] direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers...." Ibid., Section 9, Clause 4: "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census...." However, Amendment 16 will have to be repealed first.

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About Sowell,

Your take is very new to me. I've heard Reisman recommended before, and now I'm tempted to buy his book. However, I still think I can get a lot of value out of finishing Sowell's book, so I'll do that first.

About the direct tax,

One problem I see: Some states may adopt a sales tax, and others an income tax. The prices for goods would then vary wildly from state to state, and lead to many people being taxed twice (once in their home state via income tax, and once during a visit to Aunt Judy's state, via sales tax).

To fix this problem, you would have to make it law that under a direct tax, states cannot be allowed to tax anyone other than residents of that state. This, to me, means that a sales tax would be out of the question, unless you can find a way to make it apply only to a certain group of people (maybe with monthly tax rebates, like what NST uses for the poor).

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The book is available online at capitalism.net (with the catch that you are forbidden to print it).

This double-taxation problem already exists between countries. It even occurs within this country (corporations are taxed on their earnings, and then shareholders are taxed again on the dividends the corporations pay them out of their earnings). There is no solution to the problem of double-taxation - or even to the problem of taxation - except no taxation. Egalitarian taxation isn't the solution.

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