The fair thing to do is wait for Hugh Hewitt’s book to come out and give it a read. That’s the fair thing to do. But Hugh has already put himself on record regarding the Fair Tax, so let’s respond to those items directly.
At Hugh Hewitt’s store, promoting his new book, The Fair Tax Fantasy, he says the following:
“Put simply, the imposition of a massive new sales tax –at least 30 percent but probably much higher– on every product consumed in the United States and accompanied by the simultaneous repeal of the federal income tax code is a risky and deeply dangerous attempt to sell simplicity to a tax weary public.”
So right out of the gate, Hugh is using a partial truth to promote his book. Every state In the U.S. but a small handful already have a sales tax in existence. Probably a fair average of the state’s sales tax would be 5-6% but maybe higher.
The Fair Tax is not a “massive new sales tax of at least 30 percent.” It is an increase of 23% to whatever sales tax is present in a given state. You’ll find a certain percentage will read Hugh’s statement and believe a “massive new sales of at least 30 percent” is being added to the existing sales tax. Hugh’s statement of “at least 30 percent but probably much higher” is one of those partial truths that reels one in, is not quite fully honest and is a bit of a scare tactic.
Moving on, in Hugh’s words:
“Back in December 2007, I wrote a bit about why the Fair Tax would never happen:
“I’m intrigued by the theory of a national sales tax, or a consumption tax, or some variations of these. But supporters of the Fair Tax seem to find the enormous, radical, epoch-shaking change part of its appeal instead of a potential liability.
“If and when Congress considers scrapping the entire tax code and replacing it with the Fair Tax, the scene in Washington is going to look like one of those giant battle scenes from Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, or, say, the Imaginationland episodes of South Park.
“One one side of Capitol Hill, you’re going to have a plucky band of stout-hearted policy warriors, led by perhaps the President backing the idea and some members of Congress. They’ll be joined by longtime advocates like Neal Boortz and John Linder. Herman Cain. Maybe Sean Hannity. Maybe Mike Gravel sitting alone, muttering to himself.
“And on the other side of the hill, sharpening their battle axes will be . . . oh, just about all of Washington. Every lobbyist who has ever labored to get a tax break written into the tax code. Every special interest who has ever succeeded in getting a tax break written into the tax code. Every homeowner worried about losing the home mortgage deduction, along with every real estate agent, home builder, and construction worker. Every charity of every stripe, ready to push orphans and puppies in front of the camera, claiming they’re doomed without the charitable deduction. Every accountant and tax preparer. And every member of Congress who refused to give up their most powerful policy tool, their ability to influence the federal tax code. And just think, all they would need would be 40 votes to filibuster the proposal to death.
“So the political fight to pass the Fair Tax would [be] the Bloodbath To End All Bloodbaths, with the odds stacked very heavily against the reformers. Maybe some people find struggling for decades against the toughest of odds for a dream derided as crazy by skeptics to be inspiring, an ideal that gets the blood pumping.
“But I’d prefer a candidate who had a plan B for tax reform that could be passed with, say, simple majorities in the House and Senate.”
Okay, let’s address Hugh’s concerns:
Hugh is concerned that there would be a “giant battle” in Washington.
Hugh is concerned about “every lobbyist” and “every “special interest.”
Hugh is concerned about “every member in Congress who refused to give up their most powerful policy tool, their ability to influence the federal tax code.”
And Hugh is concerned about the “odds being stacked very heavily against the reformers.”
And last but not least, Hugh prefers a candidate who can can get a tax reform passed.
Jeez, Hugh, you have quite a few concerns there. One simple concern has really evaded you. You do see it but it’s real impact has evaded you:
The American people in EVER-GROWING NUMBERS are completely fed up with ALL of the various taxes that hit us before we consume.
We’re totally fed up with the 60,000 or more pages of IRS regulations that no one really understands. The complexity of the code is beyond staggering, Hugh, and we’re fed up.
We’re fed up with IRS intrusions in our life.
We’re fed up with record-keeping that takes up BILLIONS OF MAN HOURS both on a personal and business basis. You know, I’m probably understating that: I think I should have said TRILLIONS OF MAN HOURS.
We’re fed up with an underground economy paying next to nothing in taxes. That will change dramatically with the Fair Tax.
We’re fed up with corporations going overseas where they get a better tax rate. You have any problem with those corporations flooding back home, Hugh, when they find there is NO CORPORATE INCOME TAX?
We’re fed up with foreign companies having a better deal selling their products here.
We’re fed up with trillions of dollars leaving the U.S. economy to be sheltered off-shore. Any problem with those trillions of dollars pouring back into U.S. banks and into the U.S. economy, Hugh?
We do not want a “flat tax” Hugh. Yes, that’s one you probably support because it does represent a change (from the depraved tax scene we currently have) and a flat tax is a much easier tax to roll through a Congress. But a flat tax is not the solution. It’s not even close to a legitimate compromise.
I get it, Hugh, the flat tax is a battle that can be won.
One small problem, Hugh:
Us common folk, Hugh, want an elimination of the corporate income tax, the personal income tax, all forms of payroll taxes, self-employment tax, capital gains tax, the estate tax, the gift tax. All of it GONE, Hugh, is what we want.
And we are getting more and more educated as to why we want it.
And Hugh, us ordinary folk out here are beginning to realize we can get this done.
Tough job, Hugh? Yes, but you know the saying: ‘somebody’s gotta do it.’ And if it ain’t gonna be a particular leader on the airwaves, then we’ll just get it done without you.
I could go on. And I should. But my fingers are tiring on the keyboard. And frankly, there are many others who understand the Fair Tax better than I do.
I do know, without any doubts or reservations, the implementation of the Fair Tax will be THE SINGLE MOST POWERFUL STEP TO TURNING OUR ECONOMY AROUND. And it will stay turned around.
After the U.S. economy demonstrates a truly STABLE robustness it has not seen in years (not built on tech or housing bubbles or susceptible to greedy, corrupt people in Congress or on Wall Street) — after the world observes what happens here, other countries will follow suit. They will have to. And this entire global economy will have a stability it desperately needs. And it’ll be based on simplicity and fairness. It will take the power out of the hands of the politicians, lobbyists, special interest groups, bureaucrats, oh you know the list.
But most importantly, Hugh, you have missed that we don’t care about what’s “easy” for Congress to do here. We don’t care about the lobbyists and the special interest groups. We don’t care about how tough a battle it’s going to be. We don’t need to be a “Hugh Hewitt realist” on this issue. We want what’s really, really right for this country and we don’t care how long and hard and difficult it may be to pull it off.
Simply speaking, Hugh, we’d like to take back our country and we’ll start right here with the Fair Tax. You have really missed how deep this issue is, how important it is and how deeply committed millions of people are to making it happen. That will only grow.
Okay, so let me give you my 3 possible reasons Hugh wrote a book trashing the Fair Tax:
- Ego. Books are very important commodities to folks like Hugh. Coming out with a book that opposes one of the, if not THE most important grass roots movement in this country has got to be a heady move for Hugh. Very heady indeed. He knows what’s coming (in terms of those who will oppose his book) and that’s gotta be an enormous rush for the lad.
- Ratings push. Potentially thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of critics of Hugh’s new book will flock to his radio show and attempt to duke it out with him. What a boon for ratings that will be.
- Benign duplicity. Hugh may have written the book to intensify the controversy only so he could come out later saying “I’ve argued and debated and I now see the wisdom of the Fair Tax. It has my full support!” This of course would lend a hand to the cause of the Fair Tax. I won’t hold my breath on this one, but it is possible that Hugh really believes in the Fair Tax and wants to put the spotlight on it, knowing that controversy is a well-used media tool to achieve hidden agendas. Like I said, I’m not holding my breath on this.
Oh, you did mention a concern for accountants, Hugh. Well every one that I’ve spoken to is EXCITED to see the Fair Tax implemented. They look forward to spending their time helping people and businesses make more money using the tools of finance and accounting instead of SO BLOODY MUCH TIME spent figuring out how not to pay taxes!
I love your show, Hugh, but you’re in the way on this one.