There’s one message from the 2010 elections that many so-called policy makers, political elites and analysts did not hear. Namely, the American people are not as uninformed and stupid as they think we are.
President Obama’s Debt Commission and the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force have both floated their ideas for reducing our nation’s runaway national debt. As CNNMoney.com reports, both sets of ideas echo each other in broad strokes. And both sets of ideas could confuse and confound the leaves off a tree.
These ideas are a long way from becoming law, but they are generating, as intended, much discussion about the merits of each idea.
The worst idea is a proposed national sales tax, which is a disguised VAT (value added tax) on top of everything we already pay in federal taxes.
Here are three of the biggest reasons the national retail sales tax is the worst idea on the table.
First, we have a spending problem in Washington, D.C., not a revenue problem. The Commission claims their goal is to reduce the deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. The task force says its plan would save $6 trillion by 2020. It’s sort of like dueling promises that would never happen, because when has a proposed cut in Washington D.C. ever produced the intended savings over 10 years? Never!
Even worse is reason number two: In every country that has established a VAT with the promise of reducing its national debt, the VAT has eventually gone up or expanded on top of the existing tax structure. After discovering many of the tax grenades in the recently passed health care deform bill, which is already driving costs up and access down, it would be real easy for an overzealous bureaucrat to insert the language in the legislation “national retail and wholesale” tax.
For the liberal naysayers who say that would not happen, you lose! Just look at the Social Security system, Medicare and Medicaid. Over the years since their inception, taxes have gone up, benefits have gone down and they are still on a path of insolvency.
Both the Commission and the Task Force say very little about how costs would be contained, because that’s the real, big, bodacious problem. Even if their plans could achieve their stated goals over the next 10 years, the current administration and Congress have increased spending nearly $4 trillion in the last two years. And the only hope that it will slow down is the new change of control in the House of Representatives.
Giving the administration and Congress another tool to tax us and confuse us is like giving an alcoholic a key to the liquor store with no supervision, only to discover that he locks the door after he is safely inside.
A national retail sales tax on top of all the confusing and unfair taxes we have today is insane! It gives the out-of-control bureaucrats and politicians in denial one more tool to lie, deceive, manipulate and destroy this country.
The third reason the national retail sales tax on top of all the taxes we already pay is a bad idea, is that there is already proposed legislation that replaces all of the federal taxes we pay. It replaces all current revenue. It supercharges our national economic growth, and puts the power of taxation back into the hands of the people who spend their money.
It’s called the Fair Tax. It’s as easy to understand as ABC!
That’s the problem. It’s fair. It is simple and understandable. But the politicians and bureaucrats do not want to give people more control of their own money. That’s why even though the legislation has been introduced in every session of Congress since 1999, it has not advanced.
People are not stupid. Maybe they will hear us in 2012.
Herman Cain is a former CEO, a radio talk show host on AM 750 and 95.5 FM WSB in Atlanta, and a FOX News contributor.