The possibility of abolishing the federal income tax and the Internal Revenue Service is igniting the passions of thousands of Americans, as the idea spreads like wildfire across the Internet and talk radio.
President Bush so far silent on abolishing income tax and IRS
“It’s ripped off the lid of the simmering anger at the current tax system,” said Genie Hayes, communications director for Americans for Fair Taxation, a Houston-based group which has been promoting the concept of a national sales tax for years.
Hayes says over two thousand people have joined her organization since Monday when online news sites including the Drudge Report and WorldNetDaily posted comments from U.S. House Speaker Denny Hastert saying the elimination of both the IRS and the income tax would be a priority of a second term for President Bush.
“It’s been an explosion ever since on our end,” Hayes said on Joseph Farah’s WorldNetDaily RadioActive program Wednesday. “We’ve been doing back-to-back radio – it’s been incredible, and the grass roots are so excited.”
She said she’s heard the issue discussed on national radio shows including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Neal Boortz, and her office is flooded with e-mails, many of which are copies of what citizens are sending to President Bush himself:
- “Mr. President, This being an election year, I was particularly surprised to read about your plans to eliminate the IRS. Your past tax cuts have been steps in the right direction, but do not address the real problem: the IRS. Please follow through with your plans, and help this country out from under the burden of the IRS.”
- “Being Libertarian I don’t often get excited or hopeful about politics. However, after hearing reports that the Fair Tax is gaining momentum I found some optimism creeping back into my perspective. Please make this a priority – the American people are ready for this; now is the time.”
- “Mr. President: I have an accounting degree and even I don’t file our family’s income tax returns. I am too afraid of making mistakes and getting hit with penalties and interest. I feel, as do many Americans, that the IRS is way out of control and operating to try to scare … and even harm … American families. A national retail sales tax would make tax remittance so easy for all Americans. We just pay as we go at the retail level. The rich would pay more in taxes because they would spend more. That should make the Democrats very happy! Plus, illegal immigrants will pay their fair share as they buy goods and services.”
- “We need a system that doesn’t hide the tax burden in the cost of goods and services; a system that will allow working people to take home their entire paychecks, with no deductions. We need a tax system that will eliminate post-April 15th anxiety over whether or not we will be one of the unlucky 34 million people who are assessed a civil penalty by the IRS each and every year or that receives the dreaded audit notices.”
- “I have voted Republican for the last 38 years. … I would like to vote for you in November, but I will vote for a Democrat if he supports a national sales tax.”
- “Please bring this issue up early and often, especially in the debates as I think it is a crucial thing for our economy.”
So far, President Bush has remained silent on abolishing the IRS and income tax during public campaign appearances, and the White House did not return calls from WND seeking comment.
When WorldNetDaily asked its readers Tuesday what they thought of Hastert’s claim the GOP would push for the abolition of the IRS, over 46 percent responded “It’s the perfect ace in the hole, and if Bush could guarantee its reality, then he’s a sure winner.”
The second-highest response, at 16 percent, indicated the GOP would use it to get Bush re-elected, but its future is anyone’s guess. Thirteen percent of participants chose “We’ve heard the same bogus promise before, and it just won’t happen.”
At least one other person running for president feels the idea is a trick on voters.
“How do you know it’s election time?” Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik mused. “The Republicans are babbling about eliminating the IRS again. Give me a break.”
Badnarik has also proposed eliminating the IRS, and is looking to repeal the 16th Amendment.
“If we don’t get rid of the authority for the income tax, it won’t go away. We’ll end up with Hastert’s national sales tax or value added tax or whatever … and the income tax, too,” he said.
In his new book, “Speaker: Lessons from Forty Years in Coaching and Politics,” Hastert calls for a national sales tax, a value added tax or flat tax to replace the current income tax system.
Along with regulatory reform and curbs on lawsuits, he writes, the switch could increase productivity, and “you could double the economy over the next 15 years. All of a sudden the problem of what future generations owe in Social Security and Medicare won’t seem so daunting any more.”
“People ask me if I’m really calling for the elimination of the IRS, and I say I think that’s a great thing to do for future generations,” he writes.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Hastert said he had talked in general terms with Bush about his proposals.
“I think he’s on board on the litigation issue and the regulation issue,” he said. As for the tax proposals, however, Hastert said, “I think that’s a piece they don’t want to bite off in the campaign. They have other things they want to talk about.”
It’s still unclear how serious the GOP is about pushing the idea during the remainder of this campaign.
“Whether the Republican Party would get behind that formally is a question for the delegates on the platform committee meeting in New York,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Scott Hogenson, who says the concept has been out there for a while.
Hayes is remaining optimistic.
“I really believe this going to happen,” she said. “I’ve been working on this five years. We’ve got thousands and thousands and thousands of grass-roots people that are not gonna back down and are not gonna give up.”
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