Favorite

Boozman's unfair tax 

Both Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Rep. John Boozman illustrated the wisdom of my advice a while back about how they should comport themselves in their race for the Senate, which was that Lincoln try to tell people what Boozman stood for and that he take the Fifth Amendment and stay home.

Voters know little more about Boozman than that he is a Republican and he is not Lincoln, which is enough to get him elected easily if he doesn't screw up too badly, as his brother did in the same race in 1998 and as he himself is prone to do.

Boozman took the advice last week and said he wasn't going to appear with Lincoln any more than the three times he had agreed to, which was too many. The week before he had demonstrated why that is smart. Lincoln made a good stab at illuminating Boozman's philosophy, if it can be called that, and at giving people a peek at what he might do if he is their senator. She observed that he was a sponsor in the House of Representatives of the so-called Fair Tax, the 15-year-old plan to shift a huge part of the tax burden in the United States from corporations and the rich to the middle class.

Confronted with his undeniable sponsorship of the foolish bill, Boozman said he merely sponsored it, which didn't necessarily mean he wanted it to become law. He thought it was unfair that he should be blamed for something he sponsored when it was not yet a law. Boozman's most famous supporter and the most famous backer of the Fair Tax is former Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose daughter is Boozman's campaign manager.

You will remember Huckabee's explanation in 2008 of why he liked the Fair Tax so much. Instead of companies like BP and Goldman Sachs having to pay taxes on their profits, America's pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers would collect a hefty sales tax from their clients and remit it to the government to help pay for Social Security and Medicare. It was a perfect illustration of how realistic the big sales tax plan is. Is there a crack dealer in America who would collect and remit a sales tax on his consignment?

The Fair Tax is not a pointless sideshow. It reveals as well as anything a senator's real constituency — to whom he or she thinks the government owes its greatest obligation, the privileged or the rest of us. Lincoln's own record on that is not stellar but she can at least say it is better than Boozman's. She has not favored giving Wall Street a share of Social Security or insurance companies a pipeline into the Medicare trust fund.

Boozman's bill would repeal corporate and individual income taxes, taxes on giant inheritances, payroll taxes and self-employment taxes and replace them with a 30 to 35 percent national sales tax on every commodity or service that anyone buys. Thirty percent is a conservative estimate because it assumes that the tax would not create a massive black market or cause tax evasion on a giant scale. If those things happened the tax rate would have to be adjusted upward until it produced the same amount of federal revenues that all the abolished taxes now produce.

The Boozman bill specifies a sales tax rate of "only" 23 percent but it cleverly describes the tax rate as being on the "tax-inclusive" price of a commodity or service. That is not how anyone looks at the sales tax, although Lincoln knows so little about the proposal that she refers to it as a 23 percent tax.

The authors came up with a way to write the legislation to make the tax rate look as low as possible, though 23 percent looks pretty horrible. They calculated that it would take 23 percent of retail commerce in 1995 to pay all the government's bills that year and give everyone regular checks to compensate them for the amount of taxes they would be paying on poverty-level living expenses. If you calculate it the way we calculate Arkansas's 6 percent state sales tax — a percentage of the retail pre-tax price — it would be 30 percent. Independent analysis puts the real tax rate at 34 percent, and that assumes the tax could be collected universally. The federal government would depend on state revenue departments to collect the taxes and remit them to Washington.

As the authors claim, a national sales tax would have some economic advantages over the current crazy quilt of taxes. But fairness is not one of them, unless you are a corporation or make more than $500,000 a year.

That's what Congressman Boozman would try to do if he's in the rarefied company of 100. If it's not, he ought to explain what he meant by sponsoring the bill and supporting the Social Security and Medicare privatization schemes. If it was just to curry favor with the big interests, Senator Lincoln at least could be philosophical about it. She's done more than a little of that herself.

Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Ernest Dumas

  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • China in charge

    Let's turn to foreign affairs to see how we might calm the flood of anxieties over the coming Donald Trump presidency.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Religion as excuse upends Constitution

    Tirades over religious liberty since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide have awakened the ghost of James Madison, the author of the constitutional doctrine on the matter, and it isn't happy that his effort to protect religious inquiry in America is being corrupted.
    • Jul 9, 2015
  • Guns, God and gays

    Many more mass shootings like the one last week in Roseburg, Ore., will stain the future and no law will pass that might reduce the carnage. That is not a prediction but a fact of life that is immune even to Hillary Clinton.
    • Oct 8, 2015
  • AEC dumps ALEC

    No matter which side of the battle over global warming you're on, that was blockbuster news last week. No, not the signing of the climate-change treaty that commits all of Earth's 195 nations to lowering their greenhouse-gas emissions and slowing the heating of the planet, but American Electric Power's announcement that it would no longer underwrite efforts to block renewable energy or federal smokestack controls in the United States.
    • Dec 17, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Latest in Ernest Dumas

  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Fake economics

    Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • China in charge

    Let's turn to foreign affairs to see how we might calm the flood of anxieties over the coming Donald Trump presidency.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Stay the course

    I am frustrated and angry with those who claim the only chance of future success is for the Democratic Party, especially in the South and Midwest, to abandon speaking directly to women and people of color and the LGBT community and instead focus on the economy and other "more comfortable" topics in order to win back some of the center.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Reality TV prez

    • Oh, calm down, Mr. L. and Mr. G. Stop having hissy fits. Instead of behaving…

    • on December 8, 2016
  • Re: Arkansas Democrats' rocky road forward

    • As we saw with the raise in the minimum wage and medical marijuana, there are…

    • on December 8, 2016
  • Re: Arkansas Democrats' rocky road forward

    • Ozark,

      What are the Arkansans marching and rallying about? Is this an anti-Trump rally?

    • on December 8, 2016
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation