To Sticky Ideas
We asked for reader feedback to The Grassroots Corners for January 31, February 21, and May 12, 2020. Those articles featured the first three parts in a series on how to make The FAIRtax message “sticky”. The series reviews Heath book, “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Take Hold, and Others Come Unstuck” (Arrow Books, 2007).
To our pleasure, we received great feedback.
According to the Heath brothers, the first principle of making an idea sticky is to make it simple. “Simple” here means finding the core message, or the essence, of The FAIRtax and expressing it succinctly.
Ruth R. of Florida offers this idea:
“The FAIRtax allows you to keep all your earnings and only incur tax (22%) when you buy things. The IRS disappears and April 15 becomes just another regular day".
Jim S. came up with several suggestions:
“Make work pay again” “Tax spending, not jobs” “Keep all of your paycheck”
This one is a little more aggressive:
“Taxing work is stupid. The FAIRtax is a smart tax”
Here’s one for social justice warriors: “The FAIRtax is tax justice”
… and for revolutionaries: “Liberate workers, pass The FAIRtax”
…and a dig at the Establishment: “Invented by economists, not lobbyists”
Paul L of Jacksonville, Florida takes his idea straight from the front of The FAIRtax palm card:
“The FAIRtax is nonpartisan legislation to replace the federal income/payroll tax system with a progressive national retail sales/consumption tax system”
Let me know how you vote on these ideas. You may only vote for one idea. According to the Heath Brothers, only one can express the core message. If you have to choose two, you don’t have a core message.
We received reader feedback on the third principle: a message must be concrete. I pointed out concreteness is one of the hardest principles in FAIRtax messaging. Taxes are inherently not concrete, they are abstract.
Ted D of Washington State showed original insight on this principle. Ted wrote:
“… [D]on't describe the wind, describe what the wind does. … So don't talk about The FAIRtax, talk about what it does/fixes”
Going into specifics, Ted wrote:
“COVID-exposed the issue manufacturing needs to move back here from China"
“Student debt: How much easier it’s to pay back a loan balance under The FAIRtax: e.g. make up a hypothetical student with an average student loan balance and average income and explain how many years it takes to pay back the loan under the income tax vs. under The FAIRtax. So your concrete point is something like, 'you can pay off your student debt 6 years sooner under The FAIRtax"
“$15 minimum wage: Make some reasonable assumptions so you can say something like, ‘Passing The FAIRtax is the same as raising the minimum wage to $13.75 (or whatever the number is) per hour (but without the negative effect on businesses of actually raising the minimum wage)”
How about this one?
“… how it saves Social Security”
There will be three more articles in the “Make it Stick” series to cover the remaining principles of making an idea “sticky”. In the meantime, what are your “sticky” proposals to address the first three principles: Simple, Unexpected, & Concrete?
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Yours In Liberty!
AFFT Grassroots Coordinator & Secretary