Letter to the Editor: Read the fine print in Fairtax proposal

Sirs,

I noticed a letter to your paper supporting “Fairtax”. I too thought it was wonderful – sure sounds great. A simple personal retail sales tax?

That’s the narrative, but that is not the fine print. In the fine print are other taxes – taxes that have nothing to do with retail sales. For example, all “wage expenditures” by any city, county or state are taxed. The employee doesn’t pay, the employer does. Wages are defined in a way that includes pensions, and all benefits.

I’m not sure about your county, but this “wage expenditure” tax would cost Dallas $40 million. Dallas County, (counties are taxed too) even more.

There is also a “capital expenditure” tax, that stunningly, is only mentioned in a footnote, in one Fairtax document. The “supporting documents” in Fairtax have revealing information in them, and to understand Fairtax, you need to read those, too.

President Bush’s Tax Advisory Panel studied the fine print and the supporting documents. That tax panel, in 2005, politely showed these “other taxes”. Without these other taxes (other than retail consumption taxes) Fairtax would need to be 89 percent, not 23 percent, the tax panel reported. It appears these other taxes, cleverly inserted in the fine print, may be there to make the math add up on paper. But can they actually collect 40 million dollars from Dallas because of some fine print? Remember, the narrative is that Fairtax is a “very simple” personal consumption tax. Dallas, nor any other city, or county, could know of these other taxes, unless they studied the fine print and supporting documents very closely.

In other words, cities and counties really have no clue they would be taxed, and taxed substantially, on top of, in addition to, the personal tax.

This was troubling to me as Fairtax supporter, because I was told Fairtax was all about “transparency” and “simple fairness”.

Astonishingly, also in the fine print in Fairtax documents, is the statement that they “assume” all city and states will “raise their taxes sufficiently” to cover these other taxes, which would, according to testimony to Ways Means Committee, but $1.5 trillion.

Yes, Fairtax does have a personal retail sales tax, that is not the problem. The problem is the other taxes that the books, videos and speeches omit. Yet these “other taxes” are 60 percent of Fairtax revenue, the lion’s share.

This is not an opinion, as much as it is suggestion people read all the fine print in Fairtax, every word, as President Bush’s Tax Panel did. The great sounding promises are wonderful, but those are not really what matters. What matters is what is in the fine print. Why have these massive other taxes only in the fine print? Why not say it in books, videos and speeches?

Thank you,

Mark Curran
Morton, Ill.

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