LOBBYISTS--A BIG OBSTACLE TO THE FAIRtax
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "Lobby" as "to conduct activities aimed at influencing public officials and especially members of a legislative body on legislation." It defines "Lobbyists" as "a group of persons engaged in lobbying especially as representatives of a particular interest group."
The most lobbyists and the most money are spent on pharmaceutical/health issues. According to work done by MapLight, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan research organization that tracks money in politics, the second largest lobbying effort is directed at tax policy. Maplight predicts that if tax reform begins to look like it might happen, these tax lobbyists will make the most money they have made in three decades.
And lobbyists already make huge amounts. According to a MapLight analysis of federal lobbying records, multinational corporations and interest groups have spent $14.4 billion during the last decade to influence lawmakers and officials. Open Secrets.org has listed the names of over 4,000 registered lobbyists who work on tax issues in the nation’s capital, but Maplight points out that spending is highly concentrated among large multinational conglomerates and trade organizations. Fifteen companies and organizations, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the American Association of Retired Persons, have spent more than $2.7 billion lobbying on tax issues since 2008.
Why do special interest groups spend money on lobbyists? Because it works. One study done by Kansas and Virginia researchers determined that corporations seeking benefits from a 2004 tax bill received a 22,000 percent rate of return on their investment--$220 for every $1 spent on lobbyists.
Here are some other relevant facts from Maplight over the past ten years for lobbying on tax issues:
- The top six lobbying firms have together collected more than $500 million in fees.
- Capitol Tax Partners received $108.9 million in fees and 11 of its 12 partners cite Capitol Hill experience on the firm’s website.
- Capitol Counsel received $69.6 million in fees and boast that over two-thirds of their 28 members cite congressional or other capital experience.
- Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, a law firm that claims to be the biggest lobbyist in the capital by revenue in 2014, received $93.2 million in lobbying fees that year.
- Williams & Jensen has received $83.5 million and boasts that almost all of its partners have high-level service with various administrations, Congressional and Senate leaders, and critical departments and agencies.
- Denver-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck has received $54 million.
- Big 4 accounting firm Ernst & Young has received $92.2 million.
- The Breaux Lott Leadership Group, led by former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and Senator John Breaux, has reported $39.6 million in lobbying fees.
- The Duberstein Group, founded by former Reagan White House Chief of Staff Kenneth Duberstein, has received $29.2 million.
- The Podesta Group, co-founded by Anthony Podesta and his brother, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, collected $32.3 million.
Of course, these numbers are only related to money earned on tax-related issues, but most of these firms represent clients in other areas and their total revenues are much higher.
Congress and Lobbyists
While many FAIRtax supporters are also lobbyists because we are seeking to get Congress and the President to pass the FAIRtax, we differ in significant ways from the "real" lobbyists. We don't get paid and most of us even pay our own expenses when lobbying. Also, when some of the Members meet with us, they are not expecting to receive contributions. When these Members meet the "real" lobbyists they have different expectations.
The Center For Responsive Politics has looked at the money donated to Members of Congress by lobbyists in 2016 and prepared the data below:
But There Is More
Maplight addresses the cost of retaining a seat in the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House.
- House members, on average, each raised $1,689,580, an average of $2,315 every day during the 2012 cycle.
- Senators, on average, each raised $10,476,451, an average of $14,351 every day during the 2012 cycle.
The lobbyists know all of the rules and their clients are delighted to pay for tickets to a "fundraiser" for a Member. The Member knows the source of the money and knows that it will not happen again if the Member takes the wrong position.
We see people who are elected to Congress with minimal assets but, by the time they retire, they have somehow accumulated substantial assets--all on a salary that they claim is too low. However, most Members of Congress, like all of us, are also looking for a career after they leave Congress.
They know that if the Member cooperates with the lobbyists from the big firms, he or she will be able to get a good job as a lobbyist after they leave Congress. According to Maplight, in the 1970's less than 5% of retiring Members became lobbyists, but now half of retiring Senators and a third of retiring House Members become lobbyists and make multiple times their former salaries.
Again, Jack Abramoff's words are illustrative, "I would say to the Member, 'When you're done working on the Hill, we'd very much like you to consider coming to work for us.' They moment I said that, we owned them. And what does that mean? Every request of our clients, everything that we want, they're gonna do."
My purpose in laying out the way that lobbyists operate is not to discourage anyone. My purpose is to further explain why the D.C. Elites have exerted such power over Congress. Someone making $100 million lobbying the income tax code is going to resist the FAIRtax. They know that when the FAIRtax is passed, they are going to lose an enormous amount of money. How are they going to pay for the expensive lifestyle the income tax code has provided them?
However, the lobbyists may have money and promises of riches to offer, but the Members all have to get enough votes to get re-elected. Even though it is certainly upsetting to many of the Members, they have to get our votes to continue in office.
This is the only reason that most of them listen to us. It isn't that they plan to do anything but if it keeps their voters in line and helps perpetuate their power, they will listen.
We need to start asking polite but uncomfortable questions like the ones laid out below. If the constituents keep asking at every town hall and in letters and emails and calls, then they will have to act. We have to make them feel the heat.
If we don't continue to tell the truth and demand a change, then this quote from George Orwell's 1984 may foretell our children's future:
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”
WHAT CAN EACH OF US DO
Call up the local or D.C. office of the House Member and two Senators and you can use the following script:
- I am sure that Representative ____ or Senator ____ is in favor of everyone obeying the income tax laws.
- After they assure you that their boss is not in favor of anyone breaking the law, ask if they are aware of the Cebula study showing $9 trillion of evaded income/payroll taxes over the next ten years.
- Since most will say they don’t believe their boss has seen the study, either drop off a copy or get an email address and send a copy to them for their boss.
- Say you are going to call back in a week and ask what the Representative or Senator is going to do to stop this evasion.
- In a week, call back and ask specifically what the Representative or Senator is going to do to enforce the law.
- They probably will say their boss believes that simplifying the income tax will handle the problem.
- Explain that when people evade income taxes, they are also evading the 15.3% payroll/Medicare tax and state income tax. So it is unlikely that they are going to pay 30% or 40% when they were paying 0% because they have already decided it is okay to cheat.
- Say that the only way to reduce evasion is to increase by tens or hundreds of thousands the number of comprehensive IRS audits done each year.
- Point out that Evaders do not self-identify by putting an “E” on their income tax return.
- 80% of the people likely to be audited are trying to comply, but they will be forced to endure these IRS audits as well.
- Ask if the Member is in favor of this?
- If they say no, then ask again how the Member proposes to stop people breaking the income tax laws.
- Then explain that the way to handle evasion without unleashing the IRS audits is the FAIRtax.
HELP BRING ABOUT REAL TAX REFORM AND STOP FUTURE IRS ABUSES
Because of the varied attacks on the Ryan/Brady income tax plan, the White House has announced that they need to start over to determine the best tax plan to propose.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
We may only have a limited time to stop the fake tax reform being promoted by some in Congress. If it passes, then the Elites will say that we need to wait before we consider any more changes. To stop this fake reform, we must be able to ensure that our message is clearly heard not only by Congress but also by President Trump. To do this we need your help.
By contributing (investing) $10.40 per month, you help provide a financial base to AFFT. If you can make larger contributions (investments), these will be used not for salaries, as we are all volunteers, but for the needed updates to our economic studies which will be vital in 2017.
Please go to this link to invest in AFFT and in your and your family’s future.
WHAT MAKES THE FAIRTAX FAIR?
FAIRTAX POWER RADIO EPISODE #71
After listening to this episode of FAIRtax Power Radio, try to decide what the best feature of the FAIRtax is. Is it that you get your entire paycheck? Or that your family comes first with the FAIRtax, not the federal government? Maybe it’s that your hard work and productivity are not penalized. Or maybe it’s the Prebate. This is a really tough choice since there are so many good results from passing the FAIRtax. The FAIRtax Guys lead the discussion to try to determine “What makes the FAIRtax fair?”
Last week we talked about pencils and embedded costs. The FAIRtax Guys used a 1958 essay about pencils to point out that every service and new product that you purchase has embedded costs due to the current tax code - even pencils. Businesses pay dearly to keep abreast of the ever-changing tax code and to pay the actual tax. Those costs, like any other cost of doing business, are rolled into the price of their product or service. The FAIRtax Guys discuss what will happen to the prices of pencils and everything else when the FAIRtax becomes law.
YOU CAN HELP spread the word about the FAIRtax and FAIRtax Power Radio. Telling your friends and relatives about our free weekly podcasts is a great way to help us garner more support. Help us keep America informed for it is the American people who must demand REAL tax reform in Congress.
You can listen to FTPR on any platform - Mac or PC, iPhone or Android. And it’s 100% free.
Listen on Spreaker, iTunes or iHeart Radio on your computer or smartphone. Spreaker, iTunes and iHeart all have free apps. But the easiest way to listen to FTPR on your smartphone is by downloading the free FTPR app. Just search for “FAIRtax Power Radio” in your app store, download the app and start listening. As stated earlier, we post a new episode every Friday morning. Please listen in and tell everyone you know about the FAIRtax Power Radio podcasts.
As stated earlier, we post a new episode every Friday morning. Please listen in and tell everyone you know about the FAIRtax Power Radio podcasts.
Learn more. Get involved. Make it happen!
GET YOUR SIGNED COPY OF AMERICA'S BIG SOLUTION
America’s Big Solution is an introduction to the FAIRtax written by Terry Tibbetts, author of A Spartan Game: The Life and Loss of Don Holleder, with help from Ron Maiellaro, President of the Florida FAIRtax Educational Association. For a limited time, you can purchase a print copy, signed by both Terry and Ron from the FAIRtax Logo Store. Go online now and get your copy before they sell out.
America’s Big Solution is meant for people of any age who would like an introduction to the FAIRtax and would prefer to read about it rather than search online for Tweets, Posts and Shares.
If the FAIRtax Logo Store has sold out of the signed copies, you can buy an electronic or print version of ABS as follows: AMERICA’S BIG SOLUTION is available for only $2.99 for the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes & Noble Nook and Apple iOS.
You can purchase a print copy at the same Amazon link above for $9.25. Regardless of whether you choose the electronic format or the print format, you’ll find AMERICA’S BIG SOLUTION will give someone the boost they need to begin their study of the FAIRtax and the suggested resources to learn more. Buy AMERICA’S BIG SOLUTION now!
Links to More Information
These links will help you promote and support the FAIRtax, make yourself familiar with the links below. We always do our best to keep our AFFT community up to date, and you can stay ahead of the curve using these convenient sites.
- The website of Americans for Fair Taxation
- The FAIRtax website at which you can get involved to help make it happen.
- The Facebook page for Americans for Fair Taxation
- The Facebook page for The FAIRtax Guys
- The Twitter page for Americans for Fair Taxation
- PopVox - Connecting people and lawmakers for more effective participation and better governing
- YouTube channel for AFFT
- Provides FAIRtax promotional materials with authorized AFFT logos.
- Do your shopping, save money and support the AFFT
- The Official FAIRtax Logo Store
The FAIRtax Logo Store
Supplying Educational/Promotional Items
AMERICA'S BIG SOLUTION BOOKLET
ENTER PROMO CODE FAIRTAX07 AT CHECKOUT TO RECEIVE A 20% DISCOUNT
ON YOUR ENTIRE ORDER PLUS FREE S/H DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST.
AMERICA’S BIG SOLUTION BOOKLET
America’s Big Solution (ABS) booklet is an simple introduction to the FAIRtax℠ written by Terry Tibbetts, author of A Spartan Game: The Life and Loss of Don Holleder, with help from Ron Maiellaro, President of the FFTEA. While supplies last, you can purchase a hard copy of this 23 page ABS booklet printed July 2017 and autographed by both Terry and Ron. They are both volunteers continuously educating the public on the merits of the FAIRtax℠ and this booklet is an extension of their efforts.
The purpose of this ABS booklet is to introduce voters to the FAIRtax℠ concept. It is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject but rather a few pages to “wet one’s appetite” to get involved.
Accordingly, your LOGO Store is pleased to offer NEW AUTOGRAPHED ABS booklets for only $10.00 each PLUS free shipping PLUS another 20% discount during the month of August.
SO, your cost is only $8.00 in August per autographed ABS booklet delivered to your home. Great deal !! Remember to enter the discount code “FAIRTAX07” at checkout to receive your 20% discount.
Ron also co-hosts a weekly FAIRtax℠ radio show with Bob Paxton called FAIRTAX POWER RADIO (FTPR). This is a weekly podcast which you can listen to on any platform – Mac or PC, IPhone or Android 100% free. This volunteer team posts a new episode every Friday morning. Listen on Spreaker.com, iTunes or iHeart Radio on your computer or smartphone. The easiest way to listen to FTPR on your smartphone is by downloading the free FTPR app. Just search for “FAIRtax Power Radio” in your app store, download the app and start listening.
When visiting the Store to purchase your autographed ABS booklet, please consider other FAIRtax℠ promotional items. And remember, you will receive a 20% discount on your complete order when inserting the discount code (FAIRTAX07) upon checkout and of course, S/H is free.
The FAIRtax℠: Once You Understand It, You’ll Demand It!
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