Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

February 14, 2013

COMMENTARY: Why real, true tax reform is needed

First in a series of commentaries in support of the Fair Tax Bill.

By PAUL LIVINGSTON

We all know taxes are but what does tax reform mean? It means removing abuses, eliminating bad practices and change for the better.

According to the Wikipedia encyclopedia, “‘No taxation without representation’ is a  slogan originating during the 1750s and 1760s that summarized a primary grievance of the British colonists in the  Thirteen Colonies, which was one of the major causes of the American Revolution.”

Today our taxes are determined by elected representatives of the people but it seems as though those elected representatives do not conduct the nation’s taxation affairs (or its spending affairs) with the best interests of their constituents in mind. 

The matter of taxation was a huge concern as our constitution was being written. In particular, our constitution was written to prevent the tax system of tyrants, the direct taxation of income. Our present form of taxation, the income tax, was expressly forbidden by the constitution. Article I, Section 9, Paragraph 4: “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein directed to be taken.”

Perhaps unknowingly, the wisdom of our Founding Fathers was overridden with the passage of the 16th Amendment on Feb. 13, 1913. According to Americans for Fair Taxation, “That 16th Amendment was simply worded, the tax return consisted of only one page, and the entire tax code itself consisted of only 14 pages.” At the ripe old age of 100, this cute baby in bath water has grown beyond 74,000 pages to become an ugly monster in sewer water. The most recent case in point was the fiscal cliff drama on stage in Washington, D.C. 

The federal tax code drives jobs, companies and capital out of our country. High business taxes have driven up the prices of USA-produced goods and services to the point they may no longer be competitive in the world markets. The exportation of our high taxes no longer works in today’s markets and we, the final consumer, pay over 22 cents per dollar in hidden taxes on goods and services produced in this country. 

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