Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science at Emory University, said:
No, because it’s a totally irresponsible position. Every objective study of this has shown that the actual tax rate would have to be much higher than advertised to make up for the revenue that would be lost — so high that it would almost certainly lead to high levels of cheating and tax evasion requiring the sort of intrusive enforcement that fair-tax advocates say they despise. And the end result would almost certainly be a marked shift in the tax burden from the wealthiest Americans to the middle class. It’s bad tax policy and bad politics.
John Feehery, Pundits Blog contributor, said:
They should push for comprehensive tax, spending and government reform, including corporate tax simplification to create jobs and economic growth.
Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said:
Absolutely. It will be great fun to have the Republicans running on a platform of imposing big tax increases
on middle-income people in order to finance tax cuts on the Goldman Sachs boys. I would rather see a serious
political debate, but what the hell, why not have a little fun with our elections?
Dick Morris, Pundits Blog contributor, said:
No, because the fair tax, or the VAT, will just be added on top of the income tax and will not be a replacement. This is the ultimate Democratic agenda, to overlay high income taxes with high VAT taxes, just like in Europe. Advocating a fair tax will play into their hands.
Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:
No, the GOP should not push the so-called Fair Tax: Americans have had it up to here with taxes, fair, unfair, or whatever. Let the Democrats push taxes, of any and all sorts: the Republicans should confine themselves to opposing spending, which is the real problem, and leave the invention of new taxes to the current regime. It's all about branding -- regardless of the policy implications of a "fair tax," you don't want to confuse voters, who have now identified the GOP as the party that doesn't want to confiscate their hard-earned money.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said:
I would urge candidates to call for moving to a single rate tax that taxes income one time at one rate.
That could be a flat rate income tax or a flat rate sales tax. Since the debate at present is how many more taxes Obama, Reid and Pelosi will throw on the backs of taxpayers there is no pressing need to design the perfect tax reform. Taxpayers, all Americans are on defense against the greed of Washington overspending politicians.
One danger of the Fair Tax is that Democrats have in the past misrepresented the issue. When now-Senator DeMint of South Carolina endorsed abolishing the income tax, amending the US Constitution to ensure that no income tax could ever be reestablished and only then allow the creation of a FAIR tax/sales tax his Democrat opponent ran a million dollars in ads suggesting that DeMint was proposing a sales tax on top of the present tax structure. Didn’t work, but it did confuse voters for several weeks.
How popular is the idea of a single rate tax. Well, I am originally from Massachusetts. Ted KennedyMassachusetts. Democrat Massachusetts. Liberal Massachusetts. In Massachusetts we have a single rate income tax by constitutional requirement. Five times the liberal big spenders in the legislature have tried to get citizens to vote to allow a progressive, graduated income tax to replace the flat tax. Five times the good citizens of Massachusetts have voted no to moving away from a flat tax.
Would voters like a flat tax? In Massachusetts they refuse to move away from it to a progressive, graduated tax. Liberals have a rather weak idea of what Americans want in this case as in others.
Hal Lewis, professor of physics at UC Santa Barbara, said:
When I first came to California the top federal income tax rate was 91%, while the top state income tax rate was 11%. It takes no mathematical genius to see a problem there. Apologists for the system pointed out that the state tax was a deductible on the federal form, so the effective average tax should never be over 100%, though it could in some years. While this kind of confiscatory approach to high incomes is not unusual (there are European countries that flirt with it) the real effect is that the very rich put more effort into tax avoidance (legal) and tax evasion (illegal) than into earnings as the stakes go up. There is always less income to the government from high tax rates than the cheerleaders promise. The money simply isn't there to be taken.
Nobody can be against fair taxation; the words simply mean different things to different people. I know some very rich people who have actually earned their wealth through hard work and intellectual achievement, and I don't begrudge them the rewards they have earned. I know others, even richer, who have gotten their wealth through non-productive activities, like divorce settlements or clever scams, and stripping them of their unearned wealth would be a public service, though the tax laws are not the way to do it.
Is it "fair" for Bill Gates to pay more for maintenance of the roads than I do? Probably not. Is it fair for him to make a bigger contribution to national defense? Probably yes, since we are defending more of his property than of mine. Is a progressive income tax fair at all, basing a person's taxes entirely on the depth of his pockets? Robin Hood robbed the rich to give to the poor, and is a hero; should we make that legal for everyone, instead of only the government?