The Demise of the Republican Party ~ What Must They Do to Survive?

If Republicans want to survive as a party capable of installing members into positions of power and influence at the national level, they’re going to have to start coming clean with us.

opaApril 30, 2009  ––  My comment posted to CNN’s Cafferty File this afternoon, April 30, 2009, follows. It was in response to the question, “How can the Republican Party improve its image with voters?” It didn’t make the cut to be aired, maybe because I didn’t post it until late this afternoon. But perhaps you’d like to comment in response to it on my blog.

Jack, I’m guessing that the Republican Party has ridden their political pony of lower taxes, smaller government and ridged constitutionalism into the ground. If Republicans want to survive as a party capable of installing members into positions of power and influence at the national level, they’re going to have to start coming clean with us. Americans have been educated by recent events and by the second Great Communicator, Barack Obama, that when principles fail, it’s time to start coming up with new ideas. Unfortunately, Republicans haven’t had a new idea since Ronald Regan.

Most Americans know now that Reganomics is truly Voodoo economics and that conservatives in Congress have been no more fiscally conservative than their liberal counterparts. Once we’re out of the economic mess that Republicans have left us, we’ll be generations paying-off the debt they have saddled us with and salvaging the social safety nets that Americans have come to depend upon.

Clearly, Republicans need to stop the name-calling, they need to distance themselves from Rush Limbaugh, they need to learn to evolve with change, they need respect science, they need to beg forgiveness for causing the current recession or at least making it worse, they need to stop vilifying gays, non-Christians and poor non-whites, and they need to give party leadership over to moderates like Utah’s Governor Jon Huntsman. It wouldn’t hurt either if they were to come up with a new name for their party, something like maybe the Repentance Party.

Please feel free to comment whether you agree or not.

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Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm  Comments (21)  

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21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Essentially you seem to be saying that, in order to survive politically, Republicans need to sell-out their values and by extension America.

    Sorry, that’s a recipe for the end of America. Civil war would be preferable to that, no matter what the cost of that war would be.

  2. Please specify the values of which you speak. Respect for the Rule of Law perhaps? How about freedom from fear and want… or the People’s right to know… or respect for others’ religion or lack thereof? Threatening secession or Civil War hardly sounds American to me. So, com’on, give a little, Jonolan; live and let live.

  3. Well Opa, I enjoyed yoour post to Jack Cafferty and sorry it did not make it on the air. We really need change and some fresh ideas. Funny but my first time voting was for Mr. Eisenhower. I cannot understand what has happened over the years. We need to grow up here in America. I like the two party system where there will be checks and balances from both sides and I like listening to others but this name calling has just got to stop. There is room for everyone at the table.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. They can start by accepting moderates rather than pushing them out.

  5. Freedom from fear and want? Ah, you’re one those – an enemy of personal responsibility and therefor an enemy of America.

    Obviously there’s no point in further discussion with you. If and when things degenerate to violence, I’ll be be willing and eager to “revisit” our argument. 😉

  6. Yes, Jonolan, I am one of those… one of those who believes in social and economic justice for all of our citizens. This does not mean that I don’t believe in personal responsibility. It simply means that I believe this nation can and should afford all its citizens with equal opportunity, which is something the current system fails to do. I do not believe that anyone should be compensated beyond the value of the contribution they make to society, which many are by our barely-constrained capitalism. But nobody, regardless of their birthright or lack of ability should be allowed to starve or to go without basic medical attention. To believe otherwise is inhumane and certainly not Christian. So, we are our brothers’ keepers. We are our sisters’ keepers. (Gen 4: 3-8)

    Do you really think that my believing these things makes me your enemy — America’s enemy?

    What is most unfortunate, I think, is that people like you who disagree with this basic premise of what Liberty and Justice for All means are so often unwilling to discuss their reasons for being in disagreement.

  7. Does not a progressive tax on society, by definition, mean to compensate certain individuals beyond the value of their “contribution?”

    It’s curious too how a phase from, a pledge to, a symbol of America, originally written by a Christian socialist, might have just become a “basic premise.”

    😉

  8. Welcome to the argument given by “W” et al. you are either with us or against us, as stated by jonolan:

    “..Civil war would be preferable to that, no matter what the cost of that war would be.” she was saying that advocating against the “republican values” was akin to “selling out America”….

    that is just a crock of ________. I am so tired of people calling US traitors or sellouts, when they are just having sour grapes over losing in 2006 and 2008….

    the republican “values” are about greed, hate, and EXCLUSION…of anyone who disagrees w/ them….

    I wonder, “who would Jesus hate?” or bomb or torture?
    Are we not, as Christians, told to love our enemies and pray for those who would torture us….

    Jonolan, are you praying for me, cuz I am praying for you…..

    Kent, you are right/correct/righteous…..keep it up

    Nancy

  9. Thanks for your comment, Tommy. You pose an interesting question. However, if all compensation in terms of value added to society could be measured by the same yard stick, I’d have a hard time believing that anyone’s efforts are worth more than our President’s, let alone the levels of compensation that executives of GM, CitiGroup and AIG have been making for running their corporations into the ground. People who are making a thousand dollars an hour or more are not even on the same scale of reference with those of us who are working hard, long hours in classrooms as teachers, in tiny office cubicals as social workers, or on the streets as police and firefighters. Many of these hard working Americans are not even able to afford health care and quality education for their sons and daughters while the new robber barons of the deregulated financial and insurance sectors are milking us dry. No, I do not think that a progressive tax system, by definition, compensates certain people beyond the value of their contributions. But then, value is in the eye of the beholder. The progressive tax system, I believe, attempts to restore a measure of equity. How? Buy giving the little guys and gals a break who are doing the real work. Economists worth their salt know and proclaim that the flat tax, which I know that you favor, becomes a regressive tax for the low- to middle-income earners. This is because of the marginal value of each additional dollar earned. Each additional dollar earned is more important for low- to mid-level income earners than they are for the wealthy. Therefore, those who can afford to contribute more, should contribute more. That’s Opa’s stand.

    Oh, you mean the phrase, “Liberty and Justice for All,” which is included in our pledge of allegiance. Yes, it was written by a Baptist preacher, Edward Bellamy, who, according to Wikipedia anyway, was also an American socialist. I did refer to it in a response to a comment on this posting — You are right. So, you think it’s curious that I should think this is the basic premise of what our government should strive to guaranty for all citizens. Hmmm… I rather think it’s curious that so many like you still do not agree with me on this. But, hey, think about it, Tommy, if government doesn’t defend our liberty and justice, who will — corporate America?

  10. Thanks, Nancy.
    With so much hatred out there among the most socially conservative, no wonder so many people are turning away from the GOP.

  11. Thanks, as always, for your lessons and viewpoint, Opa.

    No, actually, I would not advocate for a pure flat tax (and I’ve never said that I would).. not exactly, anyway, precisely to your point, because it would be regressive on the less fortunates’ labor, at least in the current state of society.

    I am though an advocate for the Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25/S. 296), a consumption tax, which actually calls for a rebate up to the poverty level, partly to protect those less fortunate. It’s progressive on spending (which a majority of Americans seem to vote that they love), but it’s regressive on income.

    Worthy of another civil war, hardly, but the 16th Amendment is the one (from the only basic premise that I believe matters in your debate – The US Constitution) that should be overturned. Americans must surely have been duped early last century to allow their representatives to tax their labors. In fact, they gave Congress impunity, for as much as they wish, essentially, for as long as they want. It’s no wonder they take from us, without apportioning, before we are, ourselves, even compensated for said labor.

    Of course one additional and no doubt effective, I believe necessary, method to restrict this leviathan from continuing to strip our liberties, would be legislative term limits. Career politicians, regardless of the corrupt and entrenched – either or – political party for which they subscribe, are the quintessence of greed. In that respect, they are certainly no better than the robber barons in banking and insurance.

    Individuals, to start, must be the defenders of their liberty and justice. In fact, it was “we the people” and not the government, that establishes, ensures, provides, promotes and secures.

    That’s tommy’s stand, anyway!

  12. Sorry, but I’ve gotta disagree with you again, Tommy. The only thing fair about the Fair Tax is its name. Not only would it be unfair to the middle class because the rebates proposed would be made on purchases only up to the poverty level, but it favors the wealthy greatly because they have a much lower propensity to consume than the rest of us do. The Fair Tax is not progressive on spending, as you suggest; it proposes the same tax rate on all spending regardless of one’s income level — so it’s just another version of a flat tax. As written, H.R. 25/S 296 would also repeal the inheritance tax and corporate taxes. Accordingly, doing away with these would only serve to concentrate wealth in this country even more at the top. The richest 20 percent already own over 80 of the nation’s wealth.

    There are loads of problems with the Fair Tax idea, to include the “disingenuous” twenty-three percent tax rate advertised. It’s really thirty percent because the tax is front-loaded. For more on this, see the Washington Post article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/30/AR2007123001909.html. Furthermore, most economists agree that for the tax to be revenue neutral, the rate would have to be more like forty percent. But my biggest objection to the idea is that the so-called Fair Tax would discourage consumption, the biggest driver of our economy. Yes, it would encourage saving, the opposite of spending. But saving does nothing for the economy except increasing loanable funds without the Fed having to sell bonds, cut interest rates or reduce the reserve requirement (probably why Ron Paul likes it). My second biggest objection to the plan is that it also implies taxes on all purchases, to include business and government purchases. Corporations would therefore be disinclined to invest in new capital. They would be further disinclined because they wouldn’t be able to write-off depreciation.
     
    Term Limits on legislators… now that’s something we can shake hands on, definitely.

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean by the idea that individuals must be the defenders of their own liberty and justice. Yes, we must stand up for ourselves, but we cannot take the law into own hands. “We The People…”, the introductory words to the Declaration of Independence, do not imply that individuals don’t need government. People is a plural noun, Tommy. Therefore, it means that we (collectively) are the government (government of, by and for the people), AKA, democracy. But in our case, representative democracy.
     

  13. Opa, you have confused the U.S. Constitution with the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Much like confusing the text from a pledge to a symbol of America, as being a “basic premise.”

    “We the People..,” the first three words of the preamble to the Constitution, nor the preamble itself, grant any particular authority to the federal government. In fact, I believe as do many others including our founding fathers, that the words themselves establish that the federal government should have no authority outside what followed the preamble, or as amended. Yes, of course ‘people’ is a plural noun, but study the entire sentence again. And this time, in the context of the actual document referenced. “the People..” in the preamble, are not the government. Further still, the preamble is simply a statement of purpose; the government is what the people, a collection of individuals, choose to ordain and establish, in the following articles.

    As for The Fair Tax debate, poke fun all you like. Plenty of people, including many top recognized economists argue quite effectively that it could be much more equitable than the current system.

    You seem to insinuate that a more fair system would require progressively taxing (even at higher rates than they are now) your own definition of the rich and wealthy. Many social liberals believe the same. But in your frequent and on-going study, statistical gathering and defense of or attacks upon, certain classes of society, have you ever considered the “cost” of the middle-class, borne to society? If we make up the majority, thus causing the greatest cost (defense, infra, welfare, health, education, the environment, etc – whatever liberal spenders feel the federal government should control) then in your arguments, shouldn’t this majority continue paying at a greater progressive rate than the rest, including the rich and wealthy?

    One way that The Fair Tax would be more equitable is that it is actually able to take into consideration those households currently spending less on consumption (whose cost to society is less – minus that which has become the American welfare nation). It is more equitable because a person spending at the poverty level would have an effective tax rate of zero, whereas a person spending at great multiples above the poverty level would have a much higher effective tax rate. This debunks your argument that The Fair Tax is “just another flat tax.” I believe you and your opponents may just be taking advantage of a general misunderstanding as to how various “flat taxes” could be implemented. It is a common class warfare scare tactic.

    The truth is that households that currently spend more would pay more. You being a big estate and SUV hater, I would’ve thought you’d like the idea. 😉

    I’m sure one day you’ll publish your social economic dissertation on the Marginal Propensity to Consume (hint, hint), since it is a prominent theme in many of your taxation arguments. Before you’re finished, however, you’ll again need to tackle the debate concerning income elasticity of demand and the tendencies that, as wealth increases, so does the MPC.

    Please admit to your readers that households at the extreme high-end of consumption often do finance their purchases out of savings, not income. Also admit that with The Fair Tax, these savings would be taxed when they become future purchases. This fact debunks your argument that The Fair Tax is not progressive on spending. Instead, because of, it actually improves the taxing of wealth. It even makes it generationally more equitable. You being one to argue that the rich should spread their wealth, I would’ve thought you’d like the idea. 😉

    You are correct The Fair Tax, as written would repeal all other taxes, including many of those on inheritance. But your argument that this fact would further concentrate wealth “at the top” is also on shaky ground. Spending on the value of your inheritance, or even on the interest earned in the future, does not avoid the tax. In fact, tax would be levied not only on the original sum, but the accumulated interest. Again, this would more effectively tax wealth.

    There are currently many taxes on Corporate America so I’m unsure for which you fear loosing most, but consider the current payroll tax system. It’s actually regressive on everyone’s income. It takes nothing earned from capital investments or interest. We pay more in payroll taxes than we do in income taxes. Replacing income and payroll taxes would make the system more progressive than it is now. Yet again, debunking your statement that The Fair Tax would not be progressive.

    If you actually considered the true administrative cost of payroll and other corporate taxes (people, systems, compliance, etc), I think you might agree that without, corporations would have much more incentive to invest. True capital, being something I believe you and I do agree has been decreasing in America, whether we measure the shift of labor to service in our economy over the past 10 years, or past 100.

    While the Washington Post may argue “loads of problems” with The Fair Tax, I notice you not only fail to recognize the problems with the current system, you also neglect to mention the many benefits that most economists agree would be gained by the newly proposed system. You avoid mention of the benefit by broadening the tax base, including; taxing government spending, taxing tourism, taxing illegal immigrants or taxing any other illegal activities (trade in guns or drugs). You don’t accept or recognize the greater effects the new system would have on taxing wealth. And you don’t mention the increased purchasing power for Americans. So it is still interesting to me that your classical economic study leads you to believe, and thus leads you to attempt at convincing others, that The Fair Tax would actually discourage spending.

    Many of corrupt career politicians that have not progressed the bill out of sub-committee (their main constituency advocating bigger government), of course do not like the greater transparency and return of civil liberties The Fair Tax would provide. Since these robber barons are obsessed with power through regulation, they’re opposed to easing tax compliance. At the same time, they ignore the increased economic growth potential for all, including the incentive for international businesses to be located in the U.S., increasing our competitiveness, globally.

    Yes, plenty of people disagree about the actual “presentation” of the tax rate required for The Fair Tax to be revenue-neutral. Your 40% rate prediction is the most dramatic “shock and awe” figure I’ve heard, however. Agreed, using a tax-exclusive presentation is not popular with public opinion. It also brings to light the truer cost of the federal government and the burden the current system levies upon us all. That is why I think opponents love to toss around the 30-40% figure, all along, smartly avoiding any mention of the benefits.

    The current system is presented as inclusive. Why should a newly proposed system be any different? The answer is because the U.S. Congress does not want their powers lessened. In fact, it is their very nature to attempt at gaining more. This is their modus operandi and why I believe Americans continue to be deceived by their government’s excise of the 16th Amendment. Unfortunately, their lobbies are much stronger than mine, at present.

    Are you sure you’d support term-limits? Your current lobby would seem to be greatly reduced, as a result.

  14. You are correct, Tommy. In my haste, I did confuse the Constitution with the Declaration of Independence. A dumb mistake – truly. I must have had a Joe Bidden moment there. But I stand by my assertion that the text from the preamble does in fact state the premise of the entire document — the foundation for government of, by and for the people. That’s what we teach our high school students in U.S. History and Government classes.

    Please tell me that you don’t have a problem with my linking the Preamble of the Constitution with the pledge that we have all been taught to recite, “… one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.” You can leave the under-god part out if you want; even without it, it still works for me.

    In the two centuries since ratification of the Constitution, many changes have been made. It is a “living” document, after all; the founders intended for it to be so. However, the basic, three-fold premise remains: (1) that we are a nation of laws to protect individual rights and liberties, (2) that we are a nation with one government which, according to the Tenth Amendment, is to be shared with state and local levels (federal government), a government that has checks and balances to include judicial review, and (3) that we are a nation that takes care of its people, people living today and people yet to be born.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    http://www.branson.k12.mo.us/school_links/jr_high/blackwellk/AMERICAN%20HISTORY%20WEB%20PAGE/CONSTITUTION/Amendments/Meaning%20of%20Preamble.pdf

    I believe that the blessings of liberty actually go beyond the clarity that was added by the First Amendment. The blessings of liberty include, or at least should include, the freedoms from want and from fear. This is a concept that has become known as the “human security” paradigm in social science and economic development. Did the Founders intend for this understanding of the word liberty? No. The phrase, “… promote the general Welfare,” is quite vague, I admit, and the founders did have the issue of slavery to have to weasel-word around to ensure eventual ratification. But the world is a very, very different place today. It has changed and so have we.

    You have done well, Tommy, to rebut my arguments against the Fair Tax idea. I’m impressed that you gave it so much of your time and effort. However, you have debunked nothing. Any tax, whether on income or expenditure, which is levied on everyone at a single rate, is by definition a flat tax. By reimbursing citizens living below the poverty level on a monthly basis, it may not be a regressive tax on them (that’s an argument for another time). But it is most certainly regressive for the vast majority of Americans, those of us whose incomes are above the poverty level but who are currently paying income taxes below whatever rate that would ultimately have to be levied by the Fair Tax to generate required revenues. No one knows for sure what that rate would have to be, I admit. But it truly would have to be more than 23 percent and I’m guessing, along with preeminent economists that I listen to, closer to 40 percent. And what about payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare? Are we to do away with these safety net programs or will employers still deduct these from wages and deposit them with some agency of the treasury department if not the IRS? What about the accounting burden that would be shifted from the national level to state and local levels for the purpose of determining who gets reimbursed and for how much? Or, perhaps I don’t understand… is everybody supposed to get a monthly rebate based on the poverty level, the guidelines of which are based on family size – so which poverty level?

    No, Tommy, (reference any economics text book) as wealth increases, marginal propensity to consume (MPC) declines. Sure, more is spent by the wealthy, but progressively less and less as a percentage of what is earned http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marginal_propensity_to_consume. And while you are checking this out, do a little research on the economic concept of automatic fiscal stabilizatizers http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/automatic-fiscal-stabilizers.html.

    Income elasticity of demand is a “microeconomic” concept, Tommy. It has to do with the favoring of normal (superior) goods over inferior goods as incomes rise. It helps us to understand why industries producing luxury goods such as expensive “foreign-made” automobiles and private jets have seen greater growth in recent years than industries producing staples such as baby food and Band-Aids. But “real” incomes for us common folk have not increased much over the past twenty years owing to inflation, the demise of our manufacturing sector, the good-paying jobs in this sector lost to off-shoring, the pillage of our intellectual property by our good trading partners like China, and stagnation of base-line minimum wages. In fact, average incomes today buy no more than they did in 1968. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/income.html. So, what is your point – that it is good for the greater economy that the rich have gotten even richer?

    You reject any information obtained from “biased” sources such as the Washington Post or the New York Times. Okay, how about what FactCheck.org has to say about the Fair Tax http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_the_fairtax.html?

    I submit to you, Tommy, that whether the Fair Tax is a good idea or not is really a moot argument at this time. It’s DOA with a Congress controlled by people who think more like I do than you do. We’ll see how the mid-term elections go, and then maybe take up this subject again before the 2012 elections.

  15. Opa,
    quoting Nancy “the republican “values” are about greed, hate, and EXCLUSION…of anyone who disagrees w/ them….” After a statement like this you turn around and “thank” her for what she has said and say that there is too much hate. Isn’t the above quoted statement filled with hatred toward republicans?? It sure seems to be. I have admitted to being slightly ignorant in the case of some government issues. I have taken a college government class where we were given a “quiz” to see which party we would belong to. I came out as a very strong republican. I have never in my life been referred to as a person that has ANY hatred toward ANYBODY. My friends say I am the most giving and kind person they know. I am extremely religious and try to emulate Christ in all that I do and say. It is very offensive to me that someone would say you are filled with ‘hate’ just because of your views. I have never been accused of being unkind to someone just because they think differently than I do. I am very open minded.

    I do not think our government is running efficiently at this time, however I am extremely concerned with some of the things proposed by our new President. I worry that our country will go down quickly in his power. I agree that a change needs to be made, I am not sure at this time what that change should be though.

    FYI…You can be republican and agree with many issues that are “republican views” and NOT in any way be a hateful person.

    May God bless you…and yes, I pray for all those making decisions in and for our country, including those with the simple power to vote.

    “I wonder, “who would Jesus hate?” or bomb or torture?
    Are we not, as Christians, told to love our enemies and pray for those who would torture us….” Just a reminder, Jesus DID become angry when things were WRONG! He did not allow money changers in the temple and he became angry because it was wrong. He did not hate them, but he was sure to let them know it was wrong. Therefore, if we are to emulate him, it is okay to let someone know what they are doing isn’t right. Hate and disagreement are two completely different things.

  16. Thank you, Wendi. You are right, of course; we should not hate others, even if they disagree with us. But I do think it’s okay to hate what others may do (hate the sin, love the sinner). By the way, I thank all who post comments to my blog.
    I have friends who consider themselves to be very Republican. I have a son who is a hard-core Libertarian. But I find it easier to discuss politics and social issues with those who are more moderate and to the left of center. To me, more liberal individuals tend to be open-minded, more accepting of change — and America really does need to change these days. Our health care system, our schools, our financial sector, the way we select our politicians, the way we respond to the warnings of science… everything seems to be broken.
    One last thought, does it not seem to you that most of the hateful rhetoric lately is coming from Republican spokespersons who are angrily resisting every effort the Obama administration is making to restore our economy, restore our national image, and restore peace to the world?

  17. Opa,

    On your last thought, I can see why you would think the way you do. The Republican spokespersons are in fact making a big fuss. I do not think it is on the exact reasons you believe though. There are things that the Obama administration are proposing that really scare a lot of people. There are areas of forest that he wants to shut down that will create many lost jobs. He also has discussed shutting down coal mines (the town in which I grew up is solely in existence because of coal mines). These things are going to cause anger in the people in which they affect. You may believe it is just because of the things you think he is doing good, but people are scared. Like myself, if he were to bring our soldiers home, I would be terrified of what would be created against America in the middle east. They would likely join together and attack us in a much harsher way than they did on ‘911’. That is fear, not just “not wanting world peace”.

  18. I understand what you are saying about fear, Ms. Julian. I think that we are all feeling a degree of it these days. Lots of things are changing and change is always frightening. But when what we have been doing isn’t working anymore, we’ve got to try doing something else — this or else we become paralyzed by our fear, stagnate and decline. Like with our automobile industry, for years it was a mainstay for our economy. It deserves a lot of credit for the creation of the American middle class through the 50s, 60s and 70s. But the rest of the world has advanced, building on American technology and industrial knowhow following WWII. Now, because of the economic Law of Opportunity Cost, we are no longer competitive in that industry. Economists have long seen this coming, advocating that we shift from a manufacturing economy to one of advanced technologies and services. Unfortunately, better paying jobs in these sectors aren’t available in sufficient quantities to sustain much of the former middle class, especially without economic incentives necessary to dissuade the off-shoring of jobs made possible by advancements in global communication.

    I cannot tell you that you should not worry. I cannot tell you that you should not be afraid. But I do think I’m safe in saying that we should all embrace changes that provide hope for recovery and long-term growth, even if these changes sometimes pinch in the short-term. We must somehow find a way to set aside the bitter rivalry between extremes of ideology at all levels of government and become more pragmatic if we’re going to chart a path to a brighter tomorrow.

    Opa

  19. Opa,

    I still do not believe that you have correctly interpreted the Fair Tax proposal or objectively considered the arguments in support of. Neither for that matter have most of the public, particularly if they are attempting to base full understanding from The Washington Post, The New York Times, or FactCheck.org.

    I would not call a flat tax one that is regressive on income and progressive on consumption. Particularly not when it includes a rebate or “prebate” back to everyone (yes, that’s EVERYONE, not just those below the poverty level). Everyone’s earnings are different – not flat. And no family’s consumption levels are the same. Again I believe “Flat” happens to be an effective and convenient scare term, trumped up by your various anti-Fair Tax lobbyists who do not want change, eg; elected officials who don’t want increased Govt cost transparency and the many others living off the current income tax industry. Perhaps we can agree to disagree as to the differences in interpretation of definition, for now.

    But if you truly think that the vast majority, middle-income earning America, would have to ultimately pay more with the Fair Tax, you’re ignoring the benefits of the core proposal. Yes, the consumption tax rate may be greater than the current, levied on some incomes. It may also be less. Again though, where’s your argument against all the important changes that make it more “fair” than the current system?

    What’s so wrong with a broaden the tax base, more efficient and effective taxing of wealth, increased purchasing power, greater positive effects on savings, ease of individual tax compliance, increased economic growth, incentives for international business to locate in the U.S., increased U.S. competitiveness in international trade? Another very positive and important point you seem unwilling to accept and that many economists agree, is the offset portion of the proposal’s effect on consumer prices. The current system has hidden effects on the price of goods and services. The Fair Tax would decrease production costs with the removal of business taxes, collected on payroll and many of the other compliance costs. (Yes, all payroll taxes. It does not mean that your beloved Social Security or Medicare programs disappear. Instead they become more transparent.)

    I’d be fine with paying a higher sales tax on a lesser expensive [than today] new good, particularly if the wages due to me were given at 100% of what I’d actually earned. Wouldn’t you? For me, it’s primarily because it would be my full wage and my full purchase choice.

    Preeminent economists, eh? I’m guessing of those that you listen to, none are likely to be the who’s who of Nobel Laureates and significant field contributors that have declared the Obama economic stimulus package as very bad idea, would they?

    Some 200 “preeminent” economists recently and publicly declared, “Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan’s “lost decade” in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.”

    I wonder what they think about true and honest tax, tort, and term-limit reform.

    Review the separate and relatively recent “revenue neutrality” studies on the Fair Tax proposal conducted by “preeminent” economists like Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University or William Gale of the Brookings Institution. But pay close attention again to the difference between proposed tax-inclusive and tax-exclusive rates. Are the tax rates we pay today in our current system inclusive or exclusive? Try comparing apples to apples. And admit, no recent study by any economists have accounted for the expected gains resulting from a reduction in government debt or the expected increase in economic growth (that these economists, at least, believe would occur).

    Maybe I was not clear enough with regard to the expected effects of MPC + a positive income elasticity of demand when taxing wealth using the Fair Tax proposal. Your MPC Keynesian multiplier should be smaller in response to the permanent changes the proposal would have on income and thus consumption.

    The simple theory goes, the Fair Tax will increase income and will lead to a rise in demand. In fact, there should be even further income elasticity of demand affect, given the proposal will only be levied against new and not used goods.

    Does that help clarify my point?

    Try not to be so swayed by your career elected officials and their power hungry objectives. Yes, most are afraid of the Fair Tax. That’s because it is REAL CHANGE and it threatens their base. For real issues affecting most Americans, what’s the measurable difference between Bush and Obama? What’s the measurable difference between this Congress and the last? I don’t see any.

    By supporting the status quo, you’re simply advocating that both parties continue abusing their congressional power. Don’t be fooled to think that these people have anything in common with you.

    As a free-thinking individual and activist, you have much more in common with me. And there’s no excuse to wait until the mid-term or 2012 elections to educate the public, further the debate, and support real change.

  20. Tommy, I really don’t know why you continue to argue for the FairTax, except perhaps that it would mean a huge tax cut for people making more than $200,000 a year and a substantial tax increase for everyone else. Even if you don’t make more than $200,000 (but I suspect you do), working overseas for a U.S. corporation as you do, this tax alternative would be a veritable bonanza for you! You would pay no tax and neither would the tens of thousands of other Americans living and working under similar circumstances. Gulp… big-time loss of revenue for Uncle Sam. So, perhaps – no accusation here, just thinking out loud – those of you still advocating the plan are thinking more about your own pocketbooks and less about what is best for the nation as a whole.

    The actual rate of taxation required for the FairTax to be revenue neutral is not the 23 percent tooted by proponents of the plan and supporters of Mike Huckabee during the 2008 Republican presidential campaigns. The baseline now is clearly 30 percent (since you did not refute the findings of the factcheck.org article I sent to you, I assume that you now accept this fact). Many economists, in fact, believe the rate would have to be much higher. William Gale of the Brookings Institution says it’s a de facto 44 percent, and calculations go even higher once you add in all the necessary and politically inevitable exemptions on big-ticket items like new home sales and hospital care. Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, which draws members from both parties and both houses, says the real rate would be 57 percent (read the Wall Street Journal article on this). And none of this speaks to the enormous upfront cost of the “prebates,” which even “fair” tax advocate economists say would cost the government $485 billion per year.

    Tell you what – since this novel idea for raising taxes on the majority of Americans so that the minority can accumulate even more wealth than they already have is dead in the water, at least for the foreseeable future, let’s start debating something that is still at issue and even more germane… something like the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy bill or the Kennedy Healthcare Plan.

  21. […] than is possible. Then again, people sang dirges to the demise of the Republican Party in 2006 and 2008, and the same was said of the Democratic Party in 2004 and 2010. It is impossible to say what will […]


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