Friday, April 14, 2006

Those blankety blank taxes!

Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) has got the right idea. In his Texas Straight Talk for April 10th, Paul addresses the "real enemy of tax reform": the spending culture in Washington, DC:
[W]e will never have tax reform in this country until Congress changes its spending habits. The reform rhetoric, regardless of which party it comes from, never changes the reality that federal spending grows every year. Congress spent $2.4 trillion in the last Bush budget; the new budget proposes to spend $2.7 trillion. The same unconstitutional agencies are funded, the same unwise programs are perpetuated, but at higher levels than last year. The previous budget serves merely as a baseline; the only question in any given year is how much spending will increase. Once created, no spending program is ever eliminated. The cycle goes on and on, with different administrations and different people in Congress.

But could America exist without an income tax? The idea seems radical, yet in truth America did just fine without a federal income tax for the first 126 years of her history. Prior to 1913, the government operated with revenues raised through tariffs, excise taxes, and property taxes, without ever touching a worker's paycheck. Even today, individual income taxes account for only approximately one-third of federal revenue. Eliminating one-third of the proposed 2007 budget would still leave federal spending at roughly $1.8 trillion-- a sum greater than the budget just 6 years ago in 2000! Does anyone seriously believe we could not find ways to cut spending back to 2000 levels? Perhaps the idea of an America without an income tax is not so radical after all. It’s something to think about this week as we approach April 15th.

Paul is essentially alone in the House of Representatives. He was the author of my all-time favorite bill, HR 1364, The Cost of Government Awareness Act of 2001. That bill abolished payroll withholding, but replaced it with something far more insidious: each taxpayer would have been required to write a monthly check to the federal government for income taxes that would normally have been withheld. "Insidious" in that, in very short order, people would clamor for changes in the tax laws. Writing an income tax check to the government hurts a lot worse than having it withheld by the company you work for.

This brilliant legislation died in the Ways and Means Committee. I mourned.

Rep. Paul keeps up the good fight. He continually introduces legislation to scale back IRS regulations. He also introduced House Joint Resolution 14:
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to abolishing personal income, estate, and gift taxes and prohibiting the United States Government from engaging in business in competition with its citizens.

Paul's list of sponsored legislation is inspiring stuff. Go to Paul's Legislative Information page and click on the button for Sponsored legislation in the 109th Congress. Where there's life there's hope, as they say.

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