HAPPY HALLOWEEN

On Halloween one is likely to find the internet crowded with lists and themed articles dedicated to the scary and the macabre. One does not have to look too hard at our current tax code to see that we are daily surrounded by the horrifying overreach of government. These are examples of a structure too complex to be monitored by the American public, and it is in this complexity the true horror of our system lies.

One area of our tax system that threatens to flatten us like the Blob is merely the simple cost of compliance. Many estimates show the cost of compliance for all Americans at over $350 billion a year. That is a raise from the approximate $265 billion in the early 2000’s. The Tax Foundation estimates that by 2015 the cost will jump even higher to $483 billion. That is hundreds of billions of dollars a year ripped from individuals and corporations that easily could stimulate the economy without the direction of Congress. Compare that with the cost of the new jobs plan coming from the White House at $447 billion. Just by repealing the current code we could stimulate the economy by more than the current asked for stimulus without adding a penny to the national debt. The FairTax removes this oppressive burden instantly and allows individual and corporations to focus their concerns on building and growing not compiling and complying.

Another alarming aspect of our current system is the way that corporate taxes send jobs fleeing overseas. The idea currently inhabiting our political discussion is that our corporations and wealthiest investors are not paying their fair share. Those interested in continuing this notion of class warfare insist that those at the top should pay more. We currently have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. This has only served to send 406,000 jobs overseas in the last year alone; which is up from 204,000 three years ago. All of these facts can be found in, The Changing Nature of Corporate Global Restructuring: The Impact of Production Shifts on Jobs in the U.S., China and Around the Globe, a government commission studying job movement over the past four years. This also leaves an untold amount of money offshore, not touching U.S. soil strictly because of a penalizing tax on profits. This is another example of money stripped out of our economy based solely on the punitive nature of our tax structure. The only way to remedy this particular problem is to repeal the corporate tax entirely. The FairTax does this right off the bat.

A third fearsome feature of our current arrangement is the IRS itself. With over 1,120 different forms alone this altar to complexity and opacity proves to be far too difficult to understand for even the savviest taxpayer. Sitting like a spider at the center of this web of complication the IRS has its own court system dealing specifically with tax issues. This has led to a number of odd rulings
and little known deductions like the following: pet food, free beer, clarinet lessons and costs associated with quitting smoking. In a system this bizarre it is more than difficult to see where the line is and especially what the point of a tax collection system is when there are a plethora of ridiculous deductions and exceptions. Our court system uses a basis in English Common Law. It ensures that justice can be predictable and constant no matter what jurisdiction you are in or judge you stand in front of. Our laws are uniform and apply equally to all. Why is it that our tax code is the direct opposite of this? Far from being predictable or equal we must wade into the code at least once a year and find the many changes and exceptions that may or may not apply to us. The only predictable feature of the tax code is that you will be surprised at what you find. And most of the time not pleasantly surprised. Again the FairTax lives up to its name by instituting a flat sales tax on all new goods and services treating everyone equally under the law be they legal citizen, illegal alien or tourist. And most importantly the FairTax sees the elimination of the IRS and no longer treats April 15 as if it were Friday the
13th.

Lastly and most horrifically is the negative effect of the tax code on our freedom of speech and religion. At first that may sound like a stretch however consider that the IRS has a direct say in what may be allowed from our pulpits on Sundays or any other day of the week. First to underline the egregious display of governmental control we must understand the role of the church in America
before the IRS. The Protestant churches of the day intertwined the ideas of liberty and salvation. Sermons written by John Witherspoon linked the American Revolution directly to teachings in the Bible. This served to fan the embers of discontent into the fires of rebellion that freed this country. It is no secretas to why religious language permeates not only our founding documents but also much of the writing of the Founding Fathers. Religious teaching at that time was directly influential on the political matter of revolution; in fact many of the sermons given were responsible for swelling the ranks of a new Continental Army. Now let us flash forward to today. A church had the audacity in 2004 to have a guest speaker that spoke critically of the Iraq war. In 2007 another church did not allow a civil union of a homosexual couple on the ground it owned because it disagreed with the practice. Both of these institutions had their tax exempt status revoked. Neither supported or detracted from a specific candidate or party. As both of the above examples show, this is not a conservative/liberal issue. It is a power issue, where the government has placed itself above the church and in the position of allowing or disallowing speech. While it is true that these instances are not common, it is troubling to think that our government has the power to dictate what passes as appropriate discussion in our churches. It does not really matter how many churches have been affected by this rule. If a man is holding a hammer over your head and he changes your attitude or behavior he does not need to swing the hammer, he has already won. This oversight is exactly the same. The government stands poised to swing down the hammer of punishment on any church that is deems as practicing inappropriately politically active speech. By removing the church from the political debate one also removes a moral footing from the debate. I believe the rise of moral relativism can be directly tied to the silence of the church. The devious side of the tax code is not widely discussed or acknowledged and seems like something straight out of The Omen. The FairTax frees us of these restrictions and gets the government out from behind the pulpit allowing our clergy the liberty they deserve.

There is a silver bullet and garlic necklace to the draining vampiric fangs of the
current tax code. It is called the FairTax.

Happy Halloween!

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