Talking on Facebook leads us to interesting FAIRtax supporters. One of these supporters is a cattle rancher in Wyoming named Jeb Hanson. Jeb is the FAIRtax-er who introduced Marissa Selvig to the FAIRtax. Marissa, a candidate for Wyoming’s at large Congressional seat, then became the first candidate in the country to sign the FAIRtax Candidate Pledge for the 2022 election cycle. We wrote about Marissa in the May 10, 2021, issue of Grassroots Corner.
Jeb first heard about the FAIRtax at a Wyoming Farm Bureau Convention in 2003, but his desire to get rid of the income tax goes back farther than that. Jeb recalls seeing his dad wear a button that said “Repeal the income tax”.
Jeb sees the FAIRtax as much more than just a mechanism to fund the federal government, noting that it will affect so many other issues like jobs, economic growth, the tax evasion problem and the solvency of Social Security and Medicare.
The Wyoming Farm Bureau reaffirmed its support of the FAIRtax at its last state convention, making the FAIRtax the most reaffirmed resolution of all. Reaffirmations are important because they prevent FAIRtax amnesia. The next Wyoming Farm Bureau convention will be in mid-November. Jeb tells us to stay tuned, as his county and district farm bureaus have already voted to reaffirm the FAIRtax.
Jeb is a tireless advocate for the FAIRtax. Whenever someone announces for office, Jeb sends them information on the FAIRtax. He does not always get a response, but sometimes the response is both swift and positive. Marissa Selvig and her husband reached out to Jeb within mere hours after he contacted them.
Jeb is currently working on Congressional candidate Harriet Hageman, the candidate Trump has endorsed to unseat Liz Cheney. Jeb actually has known Harriet and some of her relatives for a few years now. He describes Harriet’s personality as “all business” and say she’s a great debater.
She seems interested in the FAIRtax but is not ready to go “full bore” in support of it. Jeb notes that Harriet does think that the 16th Amendment to the Constitution (that provided for an income tax without “capitation”) was one of the worst things that ever happened. If we can get Harriet to join Marissa Selvig in signing the pledge, we would have a powerful team in Wyoming.
Jeb recalls that a few years ago, a candidate for the US House tried to take bits and pieces of the FAIRtax and turn them into his own idea for tax reform. He apparently didn’t realize just how much work and research went into developing the FAIRtax plan as a whole. He did not get elected.
Jeb was born onto a ranch and, with his siblings, grew up on three different ranches, including one in South Dakota. Jeb’s ranch today is in Eastern Wyoming, close to the town of Lusk and also close to the point where Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska come together. Jeb is closely watching tax developments in Nebraska because Nebraska’s taxes on farmland are high, and he fears those high tax rates could spill over into Wyoming. He is hopeful that state level FAIRtax initiatives in Nebraska (LB 133 and LR 11CA) will take hold and possibly ease the pressure on Wyoming.
Jeb has about 200-300 head of cattle, depending on the time of year. These cattle graze on about 6,000 acres of land, including land he leases. Jeb considers himself a small rancher. A large ranch, by comparison, might be 25,000 acres housing 600-700 head of cattle.
Jeb’s is a breeder operation. He buys cows and bulls to produce calves. He sells his calves to feeders, who feed and raise the stock. In turn, the feeders sell their cattle to meat packers. There are only four principal players in the meat packing business, and two of them are foreign-owed.
Compared to the meat packers, feeders and breeders are much more numerous, but much smaller operations. They are pretty much forced to accept whatever price the meat packers offer for their livestock. Many of the feeders and breeders operate on fairly thin margins. When their costs go up significantly—like when their taxes are raised—many don’t survive.
Jeb notes “When feeders get clobbered, that gets back to me.” Larger operators can generally weather the blow because working at a higher volume means they can work on a smaller margin.
Jeb is so passionate about the FAIRtax because he believes it will help him in a number of ways. First, eliminating the business-to-business taxes under the FAIRtax would leave him with more disposable income. Next, the economic growth that the FAIRtax would bring would put more money in everybody’s pocket. When end consumers of beef products have more money to spend, the entire beef industry benefits.
Jeb has two grown daughters and a stepson. The daughters and the boyfriend of one of them occasionally come back home to help Jeb on the ranch.
Do you know someone like Jeb Hansen? If so, I would love to hear from you.
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