Keep Your Entire Paycheck. Make April 15 Just Another Day

Friday, May 13, 2005

National Retail Federation Doesn’t Get it

What would you do if I told you that I would give you the equivalent of whatever you pay in Federal payroll taxes each payday? What would you do with that money? The National Retail Federation thinks you would put it a coffee can and bury it in your backyard. Or maybe you’d put it under your mattress. Maybe you’d hermetically seal it in a mayonnaise jar and leave it on Funk and Wagnall’s back porch.

You probably wouldn’t do any of the above. If you’re like the average American, you’d spend it in some way. You might pay bills, maybe pay off a credit card or two. You might put it in a savings account and use it to pay off your car or mortgage. Or maybe take a vacation. You might save it for your child’s college education. You might save it towards a down payment on your first home. The idea is that you would spend it.

For the last several years, Florida has given its citizens a tax-free week where no state sales tax was collected when people bought items that would be used for going back to school. It wasn’t just for children’s clothing; adult clothing was included. Also included were backpacks, school supplies and the like. The eligible items were really stretched the imagination. Last summer, instead of tax-free school supplies, the state gave us $.08 cents per gallon off gasoline because gas prices were so high. I wonder if they’ll do that again this year.

I know that the Florida legislature has decided that in June, we’ll have a tax-free week for hurricane supplies. Batteries, generators, lumber, radios, and just about anything else that could be used for hurricane alerts will be tax-free.

And, if I know Florida taxpayers, they will be out in droves, buying things they didn’t buy last year to prepare for hurricanes because it will be cheaper (no state sales tax). It’s human nature to buy “stuff”. Hurricane supplies, gasoline, and back-to-school items aren’t exactly “stuff” but I think you understand what I’m getting at. When people have money, they spend it. The NRF has it all wrong. When the economy is good, people spend. When your personal economy is good, you go to dinner, you go to the movies, you buy clothes, cars, boats, jewelry, and even houses. You begin to take vacations. You begin to think of saving and investing for the future.

The NRF is also concerned that the working poor would be all but destroyed because a tax rate of 23% would take all they earn. What the NRF doesn’t say is that there is already a corporate tax hidden in the price of all goods they are currently buying. Economists say that tax is as high as 22%. With the Fair Tax, prices would be reduced because taxes would not be charged to the retailer, only the end user – you, the purchaser. So, that item that now costs $100 would be reduced to about $78. A national retail tax of 22% would be about $17 and you would pay $95.00. You would save $5. Not a big savings, but it’s a savings!

You would also have your entire paycheck, minus state income tax and any deductions you have that are not Federal taxes. I have about $350 taken from each paycheck. That means I would have an additional $350 each and every paycheck to spend as I see fit. I doubt that I would bury $350 in a coffee can in the backyard!

I honestly just don’t understand why the NRF isn’t behind this 1000%. More money in the pocket means money spent in the stores. The stores will benefit, the store employees will benefit, and the taxpayers will benefit by a national retail sales tax.


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