Recently I received an email from a friend of mine who is involved in a group called FairTax.org. Simply put, this organization wishes to replace income tax with a sales tax because it is more efficient, moral, and would have a profoundly positive impact on the economy. It would eliminate tax on wealth creation, wipe out tax avoidance, and have everyone contributing to the government budget, regardless of their citizenship. Obviously I generally support this organization’s objectives. However, I worry about it’s future in light of the following post from a Fair Tax message board representing the leadership of the organization:
“Rep. Charles Rangel, the new Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has recently made media appearances where he has stated that under his leadership Congress will develop a tax policy that is “fair.”
While not advocating the “Fair Tax,” he has said it is important that our federal tax system be fair. As we all know, our reform proposal meets his definition and can appeal to the vast majority of taxpayers who know the income tax system is beyond mere “tinkering.”
Here is our chance to powerfully make our views known to the new chairman of the tax writing Ways and Means Committee and to offer an important Democratic House leader the chance to fundamentally reform federal tax policy.”
This is a nice sentiment, but here is the fundamental problem. Liberal Democrats have a completely different definition of “fairness” than the rest of the population. It is as different as a parent might sort out fairness compared to a referee in a sporting event.
Mom and dad tries hard to be fair, but invariably the little one will get more slack than the older one, or the parent might remember how one got something the other didn’t receive and they will make up for it now. Fundamentally, most parents won’t allow one child to have disproportionately more than another child. They would want to make things more “equal”, not only in action, but results. Referees, on the other hand, could care less if a score is 110 to nothing, but whether each side was treated in a completely fair fashion in action. They are only looking for equal treatment, not results. Fair tax is looking for equal treatment, Rangel is looking for equal results. The two entities are essentially speaking different languages.
People like Charles Rangel essentially see government as the strong parent and we are the children. Those of us who have been successful, watch out.
I appreciate the efforts of groups like Fair Tax to frame the issue, which is what the post above is trying to do. But a better result would come if groups like Fair Tax committed resources educating potential supporters of the differences between conservatives and liberals when it comes to “fairness” and develop appropriate strategies that reflect such understanding. Other wise this organization and its members will face nothing other than frustration.