Monday, June 11, 2007

Leadership, Linder-style

Let's leave out, for a moment, the half-truths and distortions in this letter about imposing a national sales tax. Instead, I want to ask why Rep. John Linder has decided to put forward a bill proposing its implementation now when there is absolutely no chance of it passing seeing how Democrats control both chambers of Congress.

Linder had 12 years of Republican rule, including six years of his party running both the executive and legislative branches of government, in which one would assume such a vote would be greeted to a more receptive audience ... yet he puts it up for a vote now?

Yes, this surely is bold leadership.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it has been co-sponsored by Democrats.

And there's no inherent reason this should be a partisan issue.

But you're right. There's virtually no chance of passage now. Personally, I blame the President. He made a huge tactical mistake after his re-election in 2004. He went for Social Security reform first. Had he gone for tax reform first, he might have gotten both; by going for SS, he'll get neither.

Too bad for all of us.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

There are 60 co-sponsors, and only one is a Democrat in Dan Boren of Oklahoma who has been indentified as a moderate-to-conservative Democrat, ranking as one of the five most conservative Democrats in the House of Representatives.

There's nothing wrong with that, seeing how I consider myself a moderate on the majority of issues, but it's also a little misleading to say 'Democrats' support the Fair Tax.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the original co-sponsors was a Congressman Peterson, Democrat from Minnesota. There have been others over the years--the bill has been introduced in various forms and at various times.

Rep Linder originally limited Republican co-sponsorship because he wanted, for every GOP co-sponsor, a Democrat to sign on. Obviously, that has gone by the boards now, and it has become a partisan issue, to the extent that it is an issue at all.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

Thanks for the clarification, and I do think it's a shame that most things devolve into partisan issues in the sense that it hinders rational discourse. By the same token, our partisan instincts are rooted in our ideological beliefs which allow us to associate with a particular individual or party that will best serve us as elected officials.

So, I'll concede it's bad this is partisan now, but at the same time I think the FairTax has severe flaws and isn't a terribly practical form of raising revenues for the government.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet a great many states rely, as a practical matter, on a "fair tax," ie Florida, Tennessee, SC, and others that do not have personal income taxes.

I like it for several reasons, most especially for the privacy aspect of it. For all the whining about the supposed ills of the Patriot Act, the fact is the IRS knows a lot more about me than the FBI does. The Fair Tax would fix that. How I make my money, how much I make, how I spend, how I invest, how I save, how I more would that be province of the federal government.

Sign me up for that.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Jmac said...

Well, in all fairness, it's different types of knowledge. The IRS, understandably, has access to your information, but nothing to the extent of the Patriot Act.

One of the problems with the sales tax, again, is how practical it is to raise revenues. Your points about individuals states are well-taken, but those individual governments don't have to provide a military force to defend its citizenry either ... or maintain an interstate system across the entire nation ... or provide lump payments for programs like Social Security or Medicaid or Medicare.

And keep in mind that when Georgia (which has a state income tax as well) suffers through a downturn in the economy, our revenues and spending suffer as well.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Xon said...

"One of the problems with the sales tax, again, is how practical it is to raise revenues."

But this is precisely where the Fair Tax has its heart in the right place (flawed though it is). If government revenues are tied directly to consumption, then the only way for the government to make more money is if the people the government is supposed to serve are out spending more money. IOW, the gov't's fate is tied more or less directly to the health of the economy (defining a healthy economy as one in which people are buying and selling lots of stuff, which is at least the popular definition even if it isn't obviously correct).

The government wants to "raise" money. Cry me a river. We all want more money. What's the government going to DO for it? How about letting the economy flourish through free enterprise, rather than regulating the crap out of every little thing and adding taxes to this and that along the production line?

I don't buy this argument myself, but it's not bad as contemporary political arguments go, and I'd just be careful about the WAY you are criticizing the FairTax.

9:41 AM  

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