In this book, Boortz and Linder discuss the abolishment of the income tax. Under this system, wages would not be taxed at all. As an alternative to raise revenue for the government, they propose a national sales tax. The goal is revenue neutral so that same amount of revenue would be collected to run the government.
This would allow the individual to choose when they paid tax. So those who save and invest money rather than spending all of it, would come out much better.
The proposed sales tax rate would be around 23%. While this may sound high, one should keep in mind that no tax would have been withheld from his or her paycheck. For example, say that the average household income for America which is approximately $40,000 a year were not taxed. This would mean the Joneses get to take home all $40,000 of that hard earned income. As it stands today, they are probably only taking home around $32,000 assuming a 20% income tax rate and not considering state, Social Security, or Medicare taxes.
As a component of the national sales tax, they propose that a certain poverty level determination of say $10,000 which would be considered the bare minimum for a person to survive on and each person would receive a “prebate” of $2,300 per year paid in monthly installments. This would significantly help those on the low end of the income spectrum and actually result in additional money to spend on essentials such as food, clothing, and housing. It would also avoid the potential disparities which could occur with a food exemption if the wealthy purchased steak and lobster or other such expensive food items.
Additionally, it would take many of the inefficiencies out of the current system in that each time there is a touch on producing a good or service, income tax is charged. For example, when you buy a loaf of bread, the business who produced the seeds, the farmer who grew the wheat, the mill, the bakery, the trucking company, and the grocery store all pay income tax on their portion of the bread production. By taking the income tax away, the loaf of bread would subsequently be much cheaper (estimated around 25%) from the reduction of built in income tax for a product. (This assumes that businesses will not pay income tax. There would be many rules set up to prevent people setting up “businesses” to evade taxes.)
The Fair Tax also has the benefit of helping prevent tax evasion. Under the current system, there are millions upon millions of dollars of unreported income every year which are not taxed. This could occur in anything from illegal trades such as selling drugs on the street to the legal trades of wait staff or any industry in which cash is used to pay for goods or services but not reported. Every time these dollars were spent by the individuals, however, they would be taxed so this revenue which is currently lost would be collected.
It would additionally get rid of the estimated $265 billion spent annually to comply with the tax code. This is not to mention the 100s of thousands of hours that would be freed up to engage in more productive and enjoyable pursuits.
Economists estimate that in the first year of its implementation the economy would grow by 10.5%. Foreign companies would also have incentive to build factories in the U.S. to take advantage of the eliminated inherent cost included as mentioned in the bread example.
I think that this is a really great idea and hope that it is implemented one day. To learn more about it and see if your congressperson supports it or not, go to FairTax.org.