80 Economists Are Not Wrong
Professor David Kendall received his Ph.D. in Economics from North Carolina State University in 1981. He is currently a professor at the University of Virginia at Wise.
Professor Kendall determined that the income/payroll tax system was deeply flawed and needs to be replaced. He is an advocate of the FAIRtax being that replacement. The following message is from him.
The year was 2005, now almost seventeen years ago. President George Walker Bush had announced on January 7th the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. Finally, I thought, the time has come. Now was the time to do whatever I could — small though my voice was — to encourage the President and his new Advisory Panel to move boldly to support the FAIRtax.
But how? Write my member of Congress? Why bother. For months I had been trying to get a 30-minute appointment to meet with my member of Congress to explain and advocate for the FAIRtax. No appointment was possible, I was told repeatedly by his gatekeepers, but they would certainly convey my message to him, of course. The Congressman thanks you for your ideas, I was told.
I decided the best path open to me to make a difference, to strike while the iron was hot, was to write a letter to the President and his new Advisory Panel. Within a few days, I wrote “An Open Letter to the President, the Congress, and the American people Concerning Reform of the Federal Tax Code,” and set about the task of asking all the professional economists I could reach to endorse the letter. Eighty professional economists endorsed the letter, which anyone interested in ancient history can read at the link just above.
The FAIRtax.org, then known as Americans for Fair Taxation, printed the letter and mailed it to the President, every member of Congress, and every member of the President’s Advisory Panel on Tax reform. Did my letter make a difference? Not so much. The Advisory Panel did not endorse the FAIRtax or any other plan that proposed a national retail sales tax to replace the federal income tax. Was it worth the time and trouble to write the letter? Yes, if only because writing the letter was the right thing to do.
As I write today in reflection on that letter and my own support of the FAIRtax, I remain convinced that the FAIRtax offers the best and greatest hope for Americans to rid ourselves of the federal income tax. The FAIRtax is not perfect. Many sincere and thoughtful people have raised objections to it that we supporters of it should and must hear and contemplate. But I agree with Steve Hayes, who recently reminded me of one of my favorite adages, “we must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
Now in my elder years, I admit that I am less optimistic than I once was that Congress will ever pass the FAIRtax. But the ideas in the letter I wrote 17 years ago were important then, and they remain important today.
Friends and acquaintances sometimes ask me if I think the FAIRtax will ever become law in the United States. I tell them what I think; no, I do not. Of course, I hope I am wrong. Then they ask why I continue to advocate for the FAIRtax. Again, I tell them what I believe; because it is the right thing to do.
Each year, I continue to spend a full week in the 16-week public finance course I teach at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, to teach my students about the FAIRtax. I have them watch the YouTube video interested people can find here . A full week is a substantial share of sixteen weeks. But I think the FAIRtax is worth it, because it’s the right thing to do.
Today, powerful people are working to expand the reach and intrusion of the IRS into the lives of American taxpayers. The letter I wrote 17 years ago is at least as important now as it was in 2005. The peril we face is growing, not shrinking.
The road has been long. Rep John Linder first introduced the Fair Tax Act (H.R. 2525) on July 14, 1999, to the 106th United States Congress and a substantially similar bill has been reintroduced in each subsequent session of Congress. Will lightning someday strike?
Will the FAIRtax bill someday make its way out of the Ways and Means Committee and be voted up or down by members of Congress? Not if you and I give up, but maybe — if we continue doing the right thing.
Yes, Professor Kendall, the letter that you wrote and had signed by 80 professional economists in 2005 is even more timely now.
Rather than spending their time crafting legislation that is designed to correct the problems that they have identified, Congress has spent most of its time seeking to insert benefits in the income/payroll tax code that favor the ones who make the biggest contributions to them.
Congress has decided that it is really not in our best interests for us to see what they’re doing. They claim it would just confuse us. Of course, that kind of “reasoning” is based in their belief that only they know what’s best for us, and that we’re not really capable of understanding what is and what isn’t in our own best interests.
They also know that very few people even try to keep up with the myriad of proposed changes to the tax code, and that even fewer could actually understand their impact. That makes the tax code the perfect place for the Ruling Class and their minions to hide the sweetheart deals they make for their friends from the public.
It’s a simple fact that when well-connected special interests get tax breaks, the rest of us have to make up the difference. We really don’t have to understand anything else about the process to know that it’s a rotten deal for most of us.
As Professor Kendall points out, and both the economists and the people agree, the income/payroll tax has to go and the best replacement is the FAIRtax.
Since we still have elections, we have the ability to elect federal representatives who will replace the complex income/payroll tax system with the FAIRtax.
We just need to keep pointing out the insanity of the complex income tax and the benefits of the FAIRtax to everyone. Our friends and neighbors who we need to vote with us for a sane system of taxation just need to be informed.
WHAT CAN EACH OF US DO?
We can write letters and make calls to our elected representatives demanding that if the government really wants to eliminate the burden of filing income tax returns, they should enact the FAIRtax and do away with tax returns altogether.
The great 18th century Irish statesman Edmund Burke made a statement that applies in many ways,
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
If you want to prevent the IRS from being further weaponized to punish those of us who may object to the D.C. opinions and dictates of what is good for us, then help us PASS THE FAIRTAX!
The IRS will be gone and we will pay our taxes when we make purchases. WE and not D.C. Elites will decide how much federal tax we pay!
If you have friends who don’t know about the FAIRtax, send them to FAIRtax.org. Have them watch the white boards under “How It Works” and, if they agree, ask them to please join us.
Then contact your Members of Congress and the President and demand that Congress pass -the FAIRtax—the only fair tax.
Remember, 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.”
Is it hopeless? When confronted with a seemingly impossible problem, remember the statement attributed to the author George Bernard Shaw who wrote, You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?”
Isn’t it time for us to ask, “Why not?”
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