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Sunday, April 02, 2006

What About Me?

What About Me?
By Bill Rollyson

When discussing the FairTax with most Americans, this is the underlying question many of them have. In most cases, the answer is that the FairTax is better for them than the current system.

But another question should be asked first. “What about me” in comparison to what? Usually the question is asked in relation to their current circumstances. Unfortunately, these current circumstances are based on twin fantasies of continued economic prosperity and freedom under the current system. As Bill Gross, well known bond fund manager of the PIMCO funds observed, “250 million Americans sitting around thinking up ways for the rest of the world tosupport us is not my idea of a real world outcome.” Or as Kent Conrad, a Democratic senator from North Dakota, points out, "We're not preparing for what we all know is to come,” We’re all sleepwalking through this period."

“I just came from a panel with Alice Rivlin of Brookings and Bob Bixby from the Concord Coalition and we couldn’t stop agreeing on the long term budget danger”, stated Brian Riedl, chief budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation in February 2006 (as reported in the Boston Globe).

And so it is. Whether from the left or the right, there is broad agreement we are on a path that is unsustainable. As David Walker at GAO stated in November 2005, “"We face a demographic tsunami" that "will never recede.” And more recently, “Our current course doesn't just threatenour future economy and quality of life, but also our long-term national security.

”So first, let’s understand, the FairTax should be compared to the reality of the current path we are on, not the fantasy that lays on the surface. Think you have some special break under the current tax system? Unless you are a global company, it won’t last. Even if you can move globally, you leave family, friends, and fellow co-workers behind to face the consequences of our selfishness.

So I want to focus on issues other than those initially brought up by the “what about me” crowd. The FairTax has five qualities that every freedom loving American should embrace.

Change in Direction: I mention this one first because it is answers the issues raised above. The FairTax ends the myth of corporate taxation and makes American companies competitive in world markets.

As John F. Kennedy once said, “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie –deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

The FairTax increases savings, and production and makes America the tax haven of the world. It increases opportunity for Americans. It funds promised benefits with a much broader and more stable base. It stops our drive off the cliff of economic insanity.

Under any income tax system, your entire financial life must pass through a government filter before you have any control. Even if you falsely believe the current system or a flat income tax system would leave you paying no taxes, you must still report your income sources and expenditures to government. Under the FairTax, all your personal earnings from whatever source run through your control first. You decide what runs through the government filter by your own buying choices. Which is more consistent with a free society?

Visibility: Instead of a maze of illusion that leaves over 40% of Americans thinking government is free, the cost of Government will be equally visible to all under the bright lights of the retailregister.

Equality: The FairTax ends the division of Americans through the tax code. The prebate makes it progressive. Combined with the end of payroll taxes, it is even more progressive than the current system. Yet it treats all Americans equally. The prebate is the same for everyone regardless of income. It is based only on family size. The tax rate on consumption and the items subject to it are the same for everyone.

Accountability: Our current tax system leads to a largely unaccountable political system, regardless which political party is in power. Because it allows politicians to hide the cost of government from a very large percentage of voters and divide the rest into subgroups, there is greater motivation to enlarge government than to control it. The FairTax changes this. It unites Americans in holding government accountable.

The FairTax enhances our economic viability. It passes down a continued legacy of freedom to future generations of Americans.

Inaction will lead to higher interest rates, lower wages, shrinking pensions, slower economic growth, a lesser standard of living, higher taxes in the future for today's younger generation, less savings, more consumption, plunging stock and bond prices, recession, confiscation of assets to pay off debt, and instability.

While the problems above are recognized across party lines, solutions come in three packages. 1)A more socialistic society. The Government takes greater control of wealth and assets to pay off debt and spreads remaining resources among the people, 2) increased future taxes and lower future benefits for all Americans across the board, or 3) an immediate change in our policies that encourages US economic growth, personal savings and investment – this is what the FairTax does.

What about me? As John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address on January 20th, 1961, “And so, my fellow Americans; ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Forty-Five years later, what we must do for the country and future generations should be clear.

Visit and educate yourself. Then join with us in passing the FairTax. In the end, you’re likely to find it was also the best thing you could do for yourself.

By Bill Rollyson


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