Why is the FAIRtax slow to catch on? One might look to three other inventions that are also technically superior, more efficient, and more logical. These inventions gave way in markets to products that are the opposite but which nonetheless become the standard. Over one hundred years ago, the top two automobiles vying to become a fixture in everyone’s garage were the Stanley Steamer and internal combustion models. The Stanley Steamer ran on water, created virtually no pollution, and was so well made that many of them are still on the road today. Boiler-powered locomotives had been in existence for almost a century by then, and most of the bugs had been ironed out. The engines generated massive torque at all speeds, so transmissions were unnecessary. But by the 1920s the Stanley Steamer gave way to the internal combustion engine.
The modern keyboard has the letters “QWERTY” across the top row. This system was adopted in 1873 to fix a problem with nineteenth-century typewriters that no longer exists. It can take a beginner ages to get up to speed with QWERTY. The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard is better suited to increase typing speed, but everyone has learned to use QWERTY, and most of us have become so good at it that we type without having to look at the individual keys. To get used to a different layout would be like learning a different language, such as Esperanto.
Esperanto was to be a second language that would allow people who speak different native languages to still communicate. Esperanto has 16 regular and exception-free rules of grammar and a regular phonetic spelling. Yet Esperanto has only two million speakers in the world. Which language is spoken by 1.5 billion people and is the most widely used? English – with its irregular spelling and arcane rules of grammar! At the airport in Zürich, Switzerland, English is everywhere. One must venture far before finding one’s first word of printed German.
The FAIRtax is clearly a superior method of taxation to everything else. Without question, the country would benefit from replacing today’s illogical and arcane income-based system with a system that is transparent, efficient, growth-friendly neutral, unintrusive and fair. Yet today’s politicians fall into the tax equivalent of QWERTY, English, and the internal combustion engine. Politicians are given to inertia.
The FAIRtax can overcome inertia. The FAIRtax is like another technically superior system that actually did catch on, the metric system of measurement. The metric system is clearly more logical and interrelated. This system was recently adopted by English-speaking Canada. If the metric system can happen in Canada, the FAIRtax can happen in the United States. It can happen if we up our ground game and educate the public. With the FAIRtax after all: “Once you understand it, you’ll demand it!”
James M. Bennett
Jim Bennett has been a Deputy Attorney General working for the State of New Jersey for the past 18 years. However, this article does not reflect any position of the State of New Jersey, its departments or agencies. Jim is here on his own time using his own resources.
Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Lafayette College and a Juris Doctor from New York Law School. Jim also took graduate law courses in International Law here at the NYU Law School before leaving for overseas.
Jim’s career started in Mannheim, Germany with the US Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Jim then took a position at Gerling-Konzern, an insurance conglomerate in Cologne Germany, and was transferred to New York where he became a Vice President. Jim later became a Vice President at the Colonia Insurance Group in New York. Jim is fluent in German.
Jim started a private law practice in Summit, New Jersey in 1990 before taking his current position.
Jim was a FairTax advocate before ever hearing about the FairTax, having decided that consumption taxes were the best option. Jim heard about the Fair Tax on the radio and decided immediately to dedicate himself to the cause. He now is the Regional Director for the Northeastern States for Americans for Fair Taxation, where he serves as a volunteer. Jim is also a member of the national board and corporate Secretary of Americans For Fair Taxation.