Skip to comments.Fair Tax - Straightening Out Some Confusion
Posted on 09/15/2005 7:03:21 AM PDT by groanup
THE FAIRTAX --- STRAIGHTENING OUT SOME CONFUSION
When Congressman Linder and I were busy researching and writing The FairTax Book we knew full well that it would one day become the focal point for those opposed to this tax reform idea. We tried, therefore, to make sure that our numbers and claims were correct and consistent with the research that went into the drafting of HR 25.
On review, and after reading the critiques of opponents to the FairTax plan, we have concluded that there is one element of the FairTax that could have been present with more clarity in the book; the concept of embedded taxes and keeping 100% of your paycheck. Those who have much to lose if the FairTax were to become law will focus on these areas in an attempt to undermine support, so let's put their objections and distortions to rest by addressing those matters here and now.
We explained in the book that the FairTax plan was revenue neutral. By this we meant revenue neutral for everyone ... the government, businesses and individuals. You can't put more money in the pockets of one without taking money out of the pockets of another. The harsh reality is that politicians would not support the FairTax if it meant less revenue for the federal government; business leaders would not support the FairTax if it meant a decrease in corporate earnings and profits, and the people would most certainly not support the FairTax if it meant a decrease in their income. Taking an snapshot view of our economy, an increase in income in one of these sectors would necessarily mean a decrease in another. This is why the FairTax was designed to be absolutely revenue neutral leaving everyone pretty much where they are in terms of income or revenue. To put it more bluntly, there is no free lunch in the FairTax plan. There is no "something-for-nothing."
This brings us to the question of embedded taxes in the cost of consumer goods and services, and your paychecks.
As explained in The FairTax Book, there are taxes embedded in everything we buy. Every entity which provides a product or service in the design, production, marketing, distribution and sale of every consumer good or service will incur some tax liability as they perform their particular function. This tax liability will be incorporated into whatever these individuals or business entitles charge for their services, and will all passed through to become a part of the final cost of the product or service.
Now here's what we didn't explain well in the book.
Every employee of any company involved in American commerce is also a provider of a service, and, as such, the employee incurs a tax liability as a result of his or her work. This tax liability is incorporated into what the employee charges the employer for their services, and is eventually incorporated into the final retail cost of the employer's product or service. Each employee is essentially a separate business entity providing a product, be it physical or mental labor, to the employer.
The extensive research behind HR 25, The FairTax Bill, shows that the average embedded taxes in every consumer product or service is about 22%. In some industries, such as leather goods, the embedded tax is smaller. In other industries, such as homebuilding and construction, the embedded tax is higher, but it averages out to somewhere between 22 and 23%. With the passage of The FairTax Bill, those embedded taxes disappear. These embedded taxes include the combined tax burdens of all entities involved in bringing those goods or services to market, and that includes you, the employee, and the taxes you incur as a result of your employment.
We write in The FairTax Book that the competitive pressures of the marketplace will force prices down when embedded taxes disappear from the cost of retail goods and services, and we cite 22% as the average amount of those embedded taxes. Does this 22% include the income and payroll taxes that are paid by employees? Yes, it does. So ... what does this mean to your paycheck after the FairTax becomes law?
When the FairTax is implemented, and when business and personal income and payroll taxes disappear, your employer is going to have to make a decision. He will either take some or the entire amount he had been withholding for federal income and payroll taxes and add it to your weekly check, or he will readjust your pay figures so that your entire paycheck will be equal to what you used to call "take home pay" before the FairTax. The employer may also decide to do a little of both. Either way, you can see that the amount of money you actually receive as pay the amount you can put into your bank account will not decrease, and may actually increase.
On a larger scale real wages will rise to the extent to which the nation's employers decide to return the embedded costs of their employee's income and payroll taxes to the employee. Likewise, the cost of the products or services produced by the employer will be reduced to the extent to which that employer retains all or a portion of those income and payroll taxes together with the other taxes on capital and labor eliminated by the FairTax. Once again, a zero-sum, revenue neutral game.
Now, let's elaborate on the "keep 100% of your paycheck" line that appears in The FairTax Book. It is certainly true that after the FairTax becomes law there will be no more withholding from your paycheck for any federal taxes. What you earn is what you get. This is not to say that your gross pay will equal what it was before the FairTax. This will depend on what your employer does when the embedded costs represented by the tax burden you have passed on to your employer disappear. One thing is certain: You will suffer no decrease in real or net earnings --- the amount of each paycheck you deposit into your bank account every other week. The "keep 100% of your paycheck" concept can more easily be applied to those who either change jobs or come into the labor force after the implementation of the FairTax. A new worker will negotiate a wage with an employer knowing that the amount negotiated will be the amount that worker receives every two weeks ... no deductions. Likewise, when you change employers you, too, will negotiate a wage that will not be subject to withholding, and you will get 100% of your wages in each paycheck.
Some of you reading this amplification of the principle's of the FairTax may have come to a rather interesting and accurate conclusion. The reality is that in America we're already operating our federal government off a consumption tax. A convoluted and impossible to understand consumption tax, but consumption tax nonetheless. We say this because ultimately all taxes paid by businesses or individuals eventually make their way through our economic system until they are embedded in the cost of some consumer item or service. In other words, taxes, like that other stuff you've heard about, roll down hill. At the bottom of that hill we find the retail sale and you, the ultimate consumer.
As we said in the book, and as we repeat here, the FairTax is not a "something for nothing" scheme. It was designed to be and, in fact, is revenue neutral. Having said that; the non-government economists who studied the FairTax play are nearly unanimous in their agreement that the implementation of the FairTax will lead to unprecedented economic growth in the United States. We will see economic growth in our economy of such magnitude that it will, sooner rather than later, lift all boats ---- including yours.
Please delete if a dupe
Ouch. Boortz is finally admitting what I've been saying all along. Gross pay under the so-called Fair tax is likely to go down. (The employer will base his decision on what to do on what the Federal Reserve does with the money supply.)
I wonder how Fair Tax proponents will react to this startling confession.
If I'm losing the amount that used to be withheld, which would take care of my tax liability normally, then get the same take-home, but with a big sales tax that I now have to pay, my effective pay has been slashed big time. In essence, you're still paying both taxes (and no chance for any refund on the lost 'withholding').
The fair tax will never fly because it is a massive tax cut on high wage earners, speculators, and investors, which, to be revenue neutral, means it must be a massive tax increase on wage earners.
If you forego taxing interest, dividends, and capital gains, the money must be made up for somewhere, and the only somewhere is the full consumption of wages by low-end and middle workers, since high end wage earners rarely consume anything close to all of what they earn.
If we assume that the "average American" spends his entire paycheck on goods and services and also assume that "the fair tax" will increase the cost of what he buys by 22%, then the "average American" will need a pay-raise of 22% just to stay even.
How likely is THAT??
From a macro-economics stand point, I must disagree with you. Unless the "high end wage earners" are stuffing dollars under their mattress, they like the low-end earners, are consuming every penny they get. All money is spent one way or another. It can be spent at retail, or it can be invested (i.e. passed to some third party) and then spent. One way or another, it is all spent.
Does anyone think corporations will not keep the money for themselves?
I'm a big FT supporter but I think Boortz is dancing with a hyena here.Boortz is a laughing hyena...he's laughing at all you fools who bought into this phoney scam...How many books did you buy? How much money have you given the phoney cause? How many people have you ridiculed when they tried to tell you the truth?
Some high wage earners spend it all, some don't.
The real issue is folks with very large incomes, most of which are produced via investment portfolios.
These folks are currently taxed, albeit at low rates, on their dividend income and capital gains, and at ordinary rates for interest income.
But, lots of these folks don't spend anywhere near what they actually receive in currently-taxable income. They pay their taxes and re-invest a lot of the dough.
These folks will see their overall tax burden fall dramatically.
Putting money into money accounts, bonds, stocks, REIT's, hedge funds, mutual funds, options, futures contracts, swaps, foreign exchange contracts, etc. is not "consumption" by any stretch of the imagination, since all these items are cash or cash equivalents. Nor do these activities produce spending of themselves.
Since a single living in an apartment has fewer deductions and therefore more tax withheld than a married person with a big mortgage, will it be up to the employer to decide who gets his pay cut more? (Sorry Joe, your pay cut is 30% while John's is only 10%. But if you get married I'll give you a 10% raise) What if I'm paying estimated taxes anyway, so I take the maximum number of withholding deductions at my main job? Does that mean I'll end up with a bigger gross after the sales tax than if I set up my taxes to get a big tax refund in April? Or is it more likely that the employers will just give the entire gross to the employees? Especially consider than many employees are under legal contracts for specific wages and there is nothing in the FairTax about voiding those contracts.
I'm glad that Boortz has finally admitted that you can't get both your current gross pay and have net prices including the sales tax stay the same. I've had some people get nasty with me here when I said the employer's embedded tax is only around 9% and there was no way that could jump to 23% based on just inefficiencies in tax collection.
Personally I would prefer a sales tax to the current income tax system. I just never believed that it would be painless and that my net purchasing power would be higher after the tax than before it.
or he will readjust your pay figures so that your entire paycheck will be equal to what you used to call "take home pay" before the FairTaxExcept what you used to call "take home pay" was called that not because you got to take it home but because taxes were paid...
After the Fairtax, your employer rips you off for your withholding, then the Fairtax rips you off when you spend what's left.
Gee, that doesn't sound anything like all the Fairtax promises I've been hearing, or what "the book" says.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA...what a bunch of fools...
After being called a Liar and a Marxists 100 times in the last week by the fair taxers, Boortz comes clean with the truth.
I think it only stands to reason. I don't see it as an "ouch" at all, but simply making sense. Take-home pay stays the same. That's fine with me.
The Fair Tax has an obvious long term benefit: The cumulative costs of current taxation to our economy are monumental. Elimination of that, if the Fair Tax accomplishes nothing else, will produce a long term benefit to the economy. I think that's very clear.
Fair Tax is good. The status quo is bad.
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