I am a part of a facebook group dedicated to the passage of HR 25. This group is very focused, organized, and unified in their effort. Or at least, they were prior to recent developments. For those that do not know, HR 25 is the Fair Tax Bill. I am for a switch to a consumption tax. It would be either my top preferred or second preferred option (I really like the flexibility given in the apportionment tax that puts the power to state governments). I am in the midst, still, of evaluating the actual bill. 

 

Recently, a few of the major supporters of this bill have announced their intention to stop promoting the bill for a time. The reason given is that the message needs to be simplified to have any impact on the electorate. I agree with this assessment. I have attempted to explain what I know about the Fairtax as it stands, and while it is simple in itself, it is complicated to explain to someone who does not have a basic understanding of different tax structures and they often get stuck on various changes that would happen compared to our current system. So the rallying cry that these leaders want to move to is simply “Repeal the 16th Amendment” which, consequently would be necessary in order to have any staying power to the fairtax itself. It is actually in HR 25 as a provision that if the 16th is not repealed in a specified amount of time the bill lapses. 

 

This makes sense. People are at an all time high of not trusting the I.R.S. in particular. To beat that drum might make some headway. However, the group is split and those opposed to this strain of thought are very virulent in their outright opposition. Mind you, the goal is not any different then it was previously. The tactics have changed, but that is all that has changed. 

 

Then you have politicians that are publicly Fairtax supporters who have been voicing support for a flat tax. These politicians have been called traitors by the group. Openly ridiculing and saying that they are political opportunists. These politicians still voice a preference for the fair tax. They are still working for the passage of the fairtax. 

 

The essence of the fair tax movement was the belief that the IRS was corrupt, and its existence a major obstacle to individual liberty. This is a belief that I, as well, have. I, however, believe the ridicule and lack of support for progress towards our goal is shortsighted. We have behaved this way on every major issue in the past century. It has not worked. 

 

On the other side of the coin, the progressive agenda has flourished. Why has it flourished? Because it started in the culture. It started with small steps. Saul Alinsky wrote in his book “Rules for Radicals” that you must “nudge before you can push”. Progressives have fought the war in culture. They have entrenched themselves in education, and in literature, music, movies. They slowly changed the outlook of the average American on nearly every issue you can think of. Why were they successful? They didn’t say “If we can’t have a living wage we will oppose all other changes to the minimum wage”. They didn’t say “If we can’t have full unionization we will oppose any bill to increase union representation in government and the private sector”. They didn’t say “If we can’t have confiscatory high taxes we will reject any tax increase”. They didn’t say “If we can’t regulate every area of American life we will oppose any new regulation”. 

 

They didn’t accomplish those things by demanding their way and only their way. They accomplished it by maintaining the goal (which they are close to realizing) and advancing their goals in any way possible. 

 

So, how does this apply to the fair tax movement? Easy. What are the biggest objections to a consumption tax? Mortgage deduction, regressive taxation, etc. What are the problems we have with the current system? Allows for gross governmental power. Is overly confiscatory. Compels more spending. So, thinking about the long game, does supporting a tax reform similar to Mitt Romney’s 3 tiered system with streamlining help advance the cause? Absolutely yes. Does supporting a 2 tiered system like the one advanced by Paul Ryan advance the cause? A little more then Romney’s did. Does supporting a flat tax like the one Gingrich supported? Yes, a little more then Ryan’s did. Does supporting 9/9/9 advance the cause? Yes. 

 

So when I see the demonization of politicians who are trying to move the ball down the court by the side that should be working with them it makes me cringe. It is like they fail to realize that the average politician supports the status quo. If we can significantly streamline the tax code in any way..I will help to push that through. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop there. This idea of “all or nothing is the best way” is not only misguided. I can prove historically that it does not work. Particularly when you do not deal with the culture first. 

 

In the end, a politician is good to me if he does work to progress us towards a better governance. Towards a ban on abortion. Toward states rights. There are so precious few politicians even trying to advance the ball, please don’t ridicule those out there attempting to actually make a difference. 

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