The Fair Tax and the Presidential Race

Posted by Dave W. | Sunday, February 17, 2008 | , 0 comments |

If elected President, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee would try to eliminate the IRS by implementing the “Fair Tax”, a national retail sales tax that has a number of supporters. Neil Boortz, who co-wrote the New York Times best seller, “The Fair Tax Book”, with Congressman John Linder, has made this a grass roots campaign, but Huckabee has brought it to the nation’s consciousness. If you don’t know what the “Fair Tax” is, this article from CNN Money gives a good summary of it. You can also go to for information. I have read “The Fair Tax Book” and personally support the concept. You have to be an accountant to understand the current tax code and I’m sure there are accountants that don’t completely understand it. I think our current system isn’t working and while the Fair Tax act isn’t perfect, it is much more simple than what we have now.

Here are some pros and cons as I see them: There are potential issues with tax evasion by retailers and potential lost revenues due to retail theft by cashiers. In addition, adoption of the Fair Tax could potentially hurt the economy as items like new cars and new construction would be taxed, but resales of these items wouldn’t. As such, this would encourage many to “buy used”. However, one thing I see as being a huge plus is that not only would foreign travelers and illegal immigrants be taxed on items, but members of the underground economy (drug dealers, prostitutes, bookies, etc.) that exist now would be taxed, providing billions of dollars to the tax base that don’t go there now. In addition, companies that are going overseas due to the cost of doing business here would come back when corporate income taxes are eliminated.

While Huckabee is all but mathematically eliminated from presidential contention, it is rumored that he may be John McCain’s running mate; as such his “Fair Tax” proposal would hopefully survive (or maybe he can plant a seed in Obama’s ear). We went to war with England over unfair taxation over 200 years ago. I’m sure the forefathers that fought for our nation’s independence would concur, it is clear that our current system is broken and needs to be fixed.