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From a Fair Tax to Life on the Road

Jonathan Weisman takes a look at former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's tax policy. He writes:

To former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, supporting a national retail sales tax is more than a policy proposal. It has provided much-needed muscle for his campaign, filling rallies and events with fervent supporters hoping to replace the entire income and payroll tax system.

There's one problem: A national sales tax won't work, at least not according to tax experts and economists of all political stripes. Even President Bush's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform dedicated a chapter of its 2005 final report to dismissing such proposals.

"After careful evaluation, the Panel decided to reject a complete replacement of the federal income tax system with a retail sales tax," the panel said. It concluded that such a move would shift the tax burden from the rich to the poor or create the largest entitlement program in history to mitigate that new burden.

Anne E. Kornblut and Shailagh Murray examine how the Democrats are reacting to Benazir Bhutto's assassination, while Juliet Eilperin looks at the G.O.P. reaction from Rudy Giuliani and John McCain.

Peter Slevin watched Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigning in the small town of Carroll, Iowa, and looks at reactions to their closing messages. He found:

The reactions of the listeners often echoed the talking points of rival campaigns and the pundits' pronouncements. For every listener who described Obama as overly idealistic, one described Clinton as too heavily packaged. One would say she sounded prepared, another would say his aura of authenticity trumped her record.

Dana Milbank looks at Clinton's sloganeering, finding that "The slogan proliferation is, in a sense, a microcosm of the Clinton campaign: a show of overwhelming firepower, massive and organized, with nothing left to chance, but also a bit scripted and contrived, with a tendency for its many messages to get muddled."

And, In Style, Ellen McCarthy profiles the chaotic on-the-road lives of top campaign staffers and the impact on their families.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 28, 2007; 9:47 AM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Today at The Post  
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Being STUNG by the AMT for our 2007 taxes, I am all for the FAIR TAX! Our income is middleclass. We live paycheck to paycheck squirling little away(401k) just in case we have to stop working, we are in our 50's, could get sick...Feel very vulnerable with the current tax system.

Posted by: mary54mi | January 6, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Wiseman's statements about the FairTax are totally false. A majority of economists have proven and are in favor of a consumption tax replacign the current system. Also, the President's advisory committee (as mentioned earlier) never considered the FairTax because they knew it would work and that would take away their power to control the money. Mr. Wiseman needs to retract his statements and apologize for intentionally misleading his readers and the public in general. It's easy to just make statements, Mr. Wiseman; they won't substitute for actual discourse. When you're ready to actually debate the issue instead of making statements without any factual basis or merit, I'm ready to listen.

Posted by: illumineer | December 31, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

We need to eliminate the punitive Income Tax and replace it with a National Sales Tax which includes a prebate to pay the tax on necessities thereby untaxing the working poor. The current Income Tax system benefits the rich because they can take advantage of the many loopholes and credits, the common man cannot. Only 30% of the population pays income tax today. With the FairTax 100% will pay their fair share when they make a purchase at their local store. This includes the people who owe income tax but do not file, criminals, illegal aliens, and 50 million visitors to America. I am tired of Congress changing the tax code to benefit lobbyists and manipulate citizens behavior. I am tired of having to re-figure out every year how to fill out IRS forms. I am tired of being scared that the IRS will audit me because I did not fill out the forms properly because nobody can interpret their rules. I'm tired of struggling to improve only to find that I owe more taxes because my income increased. Taxing income is regressive and punishes success.

Posted by: vanderbh | December 31, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I imagine all of the lobbyists are uptight about the Fair Tax Plan. They would be the first casualties. No wonder they post all of the narrow-minded critisims of the Fair Tax. I used to say "READ THE BOOK", and I thought the reason they are against the Fair Tax is the fear of the Fair Tax. I have a new thought, I believe they HAVE read the book, and are trying their best to disqualify it's validity. If I were a tax expert or an income tax preparer, I certainly would be against a new tax system. There have been many stories about the income "tax", and the need for change. The Fair Tax is the best plan that has been proposed since taxes were first implemented. It is so simple, and so postive. We will have some casualities, but ANY change in ANY field is going to leave someone behind. Let's get the Fair Tax passed.

Posted by: amerigom | December 31, 2007 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Go Huckabee! Go FairTax! Both are a great step forward for all Americans and the American economy!

Posted by: RANSOM11 | December 29, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the President's Panel given a "blind" tax proposal that closely resembles the status quo income tax, and conclude "it will never work".

It's really simple. The ONLY taxpayers are citizens (not businesses) which is the first fact difficult for many to understand and accept. Then, we can tax income, consumption, or a combination of both. Taxing income is just stupid. So if we only tax consumption, I would like to believe the great minds of this country (many of whom helped create the Fair Tax) can figure out how to start (simple answer, pass the Fair Tax as is), and here's an original thought - WE CAN MODIFY IF NECESSARY AS WE EXPERIENCE THE FAIR TAX. Probably in 80 years the Fair Tax would be unrecognizable from it's origins, but SO WHAT? We could just start over again...

The "it won't work" and "it will never pass", and the "it burdens the poor..." people are simply so narrow minded that they'd rather stick with the status quo, which EVERYONE admits is broken, than be part of the solution, a better solution...

Posted by: Jeff588 | December 29, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jonathan,
The President's Panel NEVER examined the fairtax, was headed by biased tax lobbyists, added multiple tax exemptions to a sales tax, and have still not disclosed their U.S. Treasury calculations to the public! Harvard, MIT, Boston U., and Rice U. ALL have studies in favor of the fairtax. Do a bit more research.

Posted by: FairMark | December 29, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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