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The Simply. Tax. Us. blog is written by dedicated FAIRtax activist Donald Koop in an effort to explain, encourage, and energize people who may be unfamiliar with the FAIRtax. Be sure to check back regularly for great original content! All opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Americans for Fair Taxation, its members, or the AFFT Board of Directors.

 

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Top tags: tax reform  FAIRtax  Consumption tax  consumption-based tax  FAIRtax USA  reform  Tax cut 

We’ve got to change! (Part I)

Posted By Donald Koop, Monday, May 14, 2018

The times, they are a’ changin’.  And, if we intend to get the FAIRtax passed into law, so must we.

Created, and $upported, by a group of civic-minded Texans in the ‘90s, the FairTax was first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999 as H.R. 25.  The bill was sent to apparent permanent residency in a file drawer of the Ways&Means Committee.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Heady days were soon to follow!  Fellow Texan George W. Bush was elected in 2000 along with a Republican House and 49 Senators.  His re-election in 2004 brought an all-Republican Congress.  Support for the FairTax and its volunteers grew continuously.

With calls for tax reform growing, what could be a more obvious choice than the consumption-based FairTax?  An attitude settled in that, with the Bush administration, how could H.R. 25 not be passed into law?  There was a feeling that we should just get out of the way and let the inevitable happen.  Supporters chanted, “simplicity, fairness, convenience, relief for the long-suffering taxpayer.”  Politicians heard, “giving power back to the people.”  Nothing happened.

Fast forward to 2017 when the Trump administration brought real effort at reforming the tax code.  What spelled reform more than the FAIRtax, the lingering H.R. 25?  However, I think it’s safe to say, in the heavy discussions about reform, the words “consumption-based” or “FAIRtax” never passed through the lips of anyone, especially those who expected to progress in the “Club.”

More soon!

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.

Tags:  Consumption tax  consumption-based tax  FAIRtax  FAIRtax USA  tax reform 

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Rob Woodall’s misplaced optimism

Posted By Donald Koop, Monday, May 7, 2018

We interrupt this program…..

Recently Rep. Rob Woodall (GA-07), lead sponsor of H.R. 25, published, in FAIRtax USA, an assessment of the effect of the FAIRtax movement on last November’s tax “reform.”  In “The FairTax Continues to Shape Tax Reform in America, and with Every Step We Move Closer to Making It a Reality,” he speaks optimistically about what changes were influenced by “principles embodied in the FairTax.” 

I have a different take on Woodall’s outlook.  I greatly appreciate his work to advance the FAIRtax concepts, as I did that of his predecessor, John Linder.  He has a tough job to do in a caustic environment that occasionally throws him a crumb, as in consumption tax “hearings” a couple of years ago.

If his essay had come after four or five years of hard work, I might feel better.  After almost twenty years, the gains that might be attributable to FAIRtax principles seem like small potatoes: simplicity, transparency, acceptance that consumers – rather than businesses themselves – really pay the taxes.

Simplicity is not a word I would associate with the tax cut that is still horribly complex.  Neither is transparency, as tax writers are still working to iron out things that tax implementers can’t figure out.  Sophisticated taxpayers are anxious to squeeze through loopholes they’ve already discovered.  Reductions in business taxes likely had more to do with the effect, on competition, of being among the highest corporate tax regions on the planet than with pity on consumers.

We have so far to go to enact a consumption-based tax that getting excited over what we “accomplished” this time isn’t my reaction.  I see Rob’s piece more like a coach’s call to keep up the good work and we’ll win, where we need to be exhorted to be more “aggressive!”

As to Kevin Brady, I would ask why he retracted his co-sponsorship of H.R. 25 just when it needed his support the most.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.

Tags:  FAIRtax  Tax cut 

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ICYMI: A review of my previous nine posts

Posted By Donald Koop, Wednesday, April 25, 2018

·        They (Members of Congress) beat us because we didn’t have power to deploy that would dissuade them.  In fact, though, they left a big opportunity for us to fill: only the dishonest or the unthinking would call their result “reform.”  They still tax income, they didn’t reduce corp. rates as much as we would, and they left all the knobs in place for future Congresses to return to what we just left….or worse.

·        The tax code is still not simple, not fair, not durable, not financially-sensible, and not secure.  It’s the tax on income, stupid. 

·        The brand new rejiggering itself needs reform.  It does what is good for Congress rather than what is good for the country and its taxpayers.

·        A consumption tax is the only way to go!  The only consumption proposal currently on the table is the FAIRtax bill, HR 25, a well-researched approach that Congress has chosen to ignore for twenty years.

·        We need to convince MCs to enact a consumption tax by giving taxpayers something to get excited about and to demand.  Something like: Shop>>>>Pay Your Taxes!

·        Since we’ve got MCs outnumbered millions-to-one, we should be able to make them see things our way if only we can get organized.  This platform is where we can do that if we are serious. This is how we put our “ones” together!

·        Imagine putting “boots on the ground” before the district offices of the “powerful” MCs that control what is done in the way of tax legislation!

In my next blog I’ll start explaining how we should build the interconnectivity of our “ones” into a force to be reckoned with.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.

Tags:  consumption tax  FAIRtax  tax reform 

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Job “One”: Bringing our supporters together!

Posted By Donald Koop, Wednesday, April 11, 2018

In the aftermath of last year’s tax “reform,” Americans for Fair Taxation (AFFT), designers of the FAIRtax version of a consumption tax, determined that a new method was required to promote it.  The goal is to bring promotion of the tax plan and recruitment/connection of supporters together under one entity.

This FAIRtax USA platform is the attempt to fill that need. AFFT has amassed a list of supporters and their contact information which, over the years, has become of unknown value. Development of the platform is combined with a renewed effort to validate the database information.

Long-time supporters need to be newly- and better-motivated as we strive to replace the “reform,” that was basically a tax cut, with real reform: a consumption-based tax. 

Equally important is the need to recruit and organize large numbers of newly-committed supporters.  They need to be contacted, if feasible, and urged to join FAIRtax USA.  In addition, we all have friends, families, colleagues, and acquaintances who are sick of having to deal with income-based taxes.

Currently, FAIRtax USA is a relatively empty platform.  Filling it up is the job for all of us: One. By. One.  Only then can we go about creating “boots on the ground” in sufficient numbers in as many congressional districts as possible.

In my next blog I’ll highlight the key points I have made in the prior nine posts.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.

Tags:  consumption tax  consumption-based tax  FAIRtax  FAIRtax USA  tax reform 

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How do we put our “ones” together?

Posted By Donald Koop, Wednesday, April 4, 2018

 

As a growing bunch of individuals trying to convince Congress to replace the income tax with a consumption tax, we need to bring ourselves (“ones”) together.

The only way to put our “ones” together is to be able to communicate directly with every one of them.  We need to know where they live so we can organize them within their congressional districts. 

Americans for Fair Taxation (AFFT), the originator of the only federal consumption-based tax proposal, FAIRtax (HR 25), has organized this online community, “FAIRtax USA”.  Its purpose is to bring together, and provide a means of communication for, every FAIRtax supporter possible. 

FAIRtax USA appears to be our best hope for a truly connected group of “ones” to create a formidable force for passage of a consumption tax in our lifetimes.  This is how we put our “ones” together!

Imagine being able to have a slew of “ones,” residing in House Ways&Means Chairman Brady’s district, appear outside his District Office with a demand that he bring up a consumption tax bill?  Let them remind him he formerly co-sponsored HR 25 until it was no longer “useful” or “necessary” to do so.

More about putting our “ones” together in my next blog.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.


 

Tags:  consumption tax  FAIRtax  FAIRtax USA  tax reform 

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We need to put our “ones” together!

Posted By Donald Koop, Monday, March 26, 2018

Congress showed no inclination to change the 100-year-old tax code other than how they have always done it: raise this, lower that, punish these, reward those, respond to the lobbyists, ignore the taxpayers.  Most taxpayers don’t have political power because they’re not organized.  They go about their busy lives relying on Congress to take care of things.

Individual Members of Congress are not motivated to change how we’ve always done it; it’s a lot of work and they’re too busy preparing for re-election every two years.

Re-election, the jugular of politics, drives MCs to respond to special interests bearing money, the mother’s milk of politics.  The special interests, however, each have the same number of votes as each of us.  One.

We need to put our “ones” together, make some time in our busy lives, and show a united front to MCs who need our votes but are not inclined to do things our way.

With few exceptions, MCs are forced to vote for what’s served up to them by “leadership.”  No consumption tax bill, no vote on one.  We must show “leadership” that if the FAIRtax isn’t brought to a vote as part of real reform, their caucus will be in a world of hurt.

More about putting our “ones” together in my next blog.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.

Tags:  consumption tax  FAIRtax  FAIRtax USA  tax reform 

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How do we convince Congress to pass real reform?

Posted By Donald Koop, Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Congress made a major mistake by not even considering a consumption-based tax plan in 2017.  Those of us who supported that change failed to create enough support among voters to pressure the tax-writers to do what is right.

 

Replacing the recent “reform” will be more difficult now because of the momentum it enjoys.  Although it’s just a major tax cut surrounded by window dressing, many would resist “doing it all over again” so soon.  On the other hand, it’s not yet embedded in everything we do.

 

We’ve got to quickly give taxpayers something to get excited about: a tax system they would barely have to think about.  Imagine, shopping and paying your taxes at the same time!  Once that sets in the rest is a matter of numbers.  Shop>>>>Pay Your Taxes!

 

There are 535 Members of Congress.  There are tens of millions of taxpayers.  Those are pretty good odds to get what we want if we can get our act together, get the word out, and make sure Congress hears us.

We need to unite, in a coordinated way, such that our desire for a consumption-based tax cannot be ignored.  I’ll say more about that in my next blog.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.

Tags:  consumption-based tax  reform 

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What meets the requirements of real reform?

Posted By Donald Koop, Thursday, March 15, 2018

Now that I’ve specified a consumption tax as meeting the desirable characteristics of real tax reform, it’s time to suggest how to meet that goal.

Of all the candidates’ proposals in 2016, only one met the goals I outlined: the FAIRtax by Gov. Huckabee.  Neither he nor his proposal got very far among the cacophony of deductions, exemptions, short-term, long-term, capital gains, brackets, child tax credit, carried interest, earned tax credit, corporate taxes, pass-through taxes, and on and on.

The “reform” in 2017 stemmed from that cacophony. 

Explaining why the simple FAIRtax should replace it can be complicated. I prefer to make a case for a consumption tax (as exemplified by the FAIRtax) rather than calling for the FAIRtax (a consumption tax).

Making the case for us, Congress and its critics are wrestling with aspects of the “reform” that make it decidedly un-simple, un-fair, un-durable, and fiscally un-responsible:

·        farmers who sell grain to a co-operative pay lower taxes than those who sell it elsewhere,

·        it’s not clear what kinds of pass-through income sources qualify for a lower rate,

·        there is a slew of tax breaks for the favored few.

Such aspects will keep on coming. Paraphrasing a slogan often used to describe what’s wrong with something, “It’s the taxing of income, stupid!”

In my next blog I’ll suggest how we should bring about the replacement.

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.

Tags:  Consumption tax  FAIRtax  reform 

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What would be real reform?

Posted By Donald Koop, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Real reform would be something that is simple, fair, durable, fiscally-responsible, and safe: A consumption tax!

It's as simple as can be.  Many of us do it all the time at the state and local level.  Buy the item, pay for it plus the tax, and be done with it.

It's fair because there are no winners and losers.  All pay the same rate anonymously.  Some claim this should not be the case and there are ways to moderate the tax rate to assist lower income families.

It's durable because it would greatly reduce one of the primary sources of bills filed in Congress: those aimed at modifying the tax code in some way.  These changes are often to satisfy the desires of lobbyists to advantage their clients.

It's fiscally-responsible because it costs relatively little to collect it.  A giant IRS is not required.

It's safe because there are no pre-payments (“withholding”), nor returns with payments and SS numbers, nor refunds of over-payments, all available to be stolen.  And no calls threatening fines for “non-payment.”

Now you know the “what;” in my next blog I describe “how.”

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.

Tags:  Consumption-based tax  Tax reform 

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Why replace the "reform?"

Posted By Donald Koop, Friday, March 2, 2018

Why replace a “brand new” income tax code?

Because it isn’t reform; it’s tinkering.  Congress pretty much adjusted all of the variables that have been built into the tax code over the decades.  The big one, corporate tax rates, went down this time.  So did personal tax rates, as usual in different amounts for different income levels.  Exemptions went up; deductions went down.  That’s how to “reform” a century-old tax code!

The so-called “reform” forced upon us was primarily a tax cut.  That’s good.  But an income tax isn’t the only format where taxes can be cut. 

Corporate taxes were cut to 21%.  That’s good.  People pay those taxes anyway, so it should have been reduced to 0%. 

A lot of complications were removed.  That’s good.  But a lot of complications remain.  Changes are still being made to counteract unintended outcomes, to make winners out of unintended losers and vice-versa.  The work of re-complicating it is already underway.

Unlike the recent result, we should have a system that is simple, fair, durable, fiscally responsible, and safe.  The “new” code is none of these.

In my next post I’ll suggest what should be the replacement.

 

The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Americans for Fair Taxation.

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