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Alan Keyes on Tax Reform

American Independent nominee for President; 2004 Republican challenger for IL Senate


Repeal the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments

We consider the federal income tax to be destructive of our liberty, privacy, and prosperity. Therefore, we are working to bring about its complete elimination and the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. We recommend that the current system be replaced by an equitable, simple, noninvasive, visible, efficient tax, one that does not destroy or even infringe upon our economic privacy and liberty.

We also call for the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment. Its enactment greatly reduced the power of our state legislatures and state governments--which are much closer to the people--and damaged our system of federalism.

Source: America‘s Independent Party 2008 Platform & Constitution , Aug 20, 2008

FairTax turns off spigot that funds political ambitions

Q: Does our country’s financial situation creates a security risk?

A: I think it’s obviously a national security problem, but you have to understand what national security is. The Constitution defines it as securing the blessings of liberty. It has to do with the freedom of our people. If you want to secure the blessings of liberty for the American people, you cut off the spigot that funds the political ambition of our leaders by abolishing the income tax and restoring control of 100% of their income to the American worker. That means you replace it with a FairTax system that puts the American people in control of their money. By doing that, you will encourage the politicians to stop spending to fund their little political cliques and only limit their spending to what actually produces results for the American people.

Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican debate , Dec 12, 2007

Income tax is a failed socialist experiment

Tyrannical taxation, and excessive government spending and borrowing, are not only threats to our economy--they erode the resource base of our freedom and our moral responsibility.

The income tax is a 20th-century socialist experiment that has failed. Before the income tax was imposed on us just 85 years ago, government had no claim to our income. Only sales, excise, and tariff taxes were allowed. We need to return to the Constitution of economic liberty that our Founders intended to be a permanent bulwark of our political liberty.

The income tax in effect makes us vassals of the government--the politicians decide how much income we can keep. No mere “reform” of this slave tax, such as flattening the rate, can correct its fundamental denial of control over our own money.

Only the abolition of the income tax will restore the basic American principle that our income is both our own money and our own private business--not the government’s.

Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.alankeyes.com, “Issues” , Oct 1, 2007

Replace income tax with a national sales tax

Replacing the income tax with a national sales tax would rejuvenate independence and responsibility in our citizens. True economic liberty and moral revival go hand in hand.

A national sales tax would also put the American citizen back in control of fiscal policy. The best way to curtail government spending is to cut taxes, because they can’t spend what they don’t get. With a sales tax, we could deny funds to a spendthrift government--and give ourselves a tax cut--whenever we make the private choice to alter our spending and saving habits.

But we must also take away the government’s credit card. With limits on both tax revenue and borrowing, the Federal government would finally be forced to get serious about spending cuts. That’s why a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, with barriers to both borrowing and spending, is the best way to secure budget discipline.

Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.alankeyes.com, “Issues” , Oct 1, 2007

Income tax exemptions for descendants of black slaves

For a certain length of time - a generation or two - [the Roman Empire] exempted the damaged city from taxation. One possible plan for reparations might be to exempt African-Americans of slave heritage from paying federal income tax since slavery resulted from “an egregious failure on the part of the federal establishment.”
Source: AgapePress.org, “Keyes’ Reparations Reversal” , Sep 1, 2004

Income tax is a failed socialist experiment

The income tax is a twentieth-century socialist experiment that has failed. Before the income tax was imposed on us just 80 years ago, government had no claim to our income. Only sales, excise, and tariff taxes were allowed.

No mere “reform”, such as flattening the rate, can correct its fundamental denial of control over our own money. Only abolition of the income tax will restore the basic American principle that our income is both our own money and our own private business not the government’s.

Replacing the income tax with a national sales tax would rejuvenate independence and responsibility in our citizens. It would also put the American citizen back in control of fiscal policy. The best way to curtail government spending is to cut taxes, because they can’t spend what they don’t get. With a sales tax, we could deny funds to a spendthrift government--and give ourselves a tax cut--whenever we make the private choice to alter our spending and saving habits.

Source: Organizational website, RenewAmerica.us, “On The Issues” , Aug 3, 2004

Sales tax is more progressive than income tax

[Under my national sales tax proposal], poor folks wouldn’t have to pay taxes, because the proposal would include a market basket of goods and services in all the basic areas of necessity of life that would be exempt from taxation.

Right now, people say we have a progressive income tax, that the rich people pay more. But in reality the working stiffs of America end up bearing the brunt of taxation. Most of the money collected in the income tax comes from brackets $50,000 & below, from working people My proposal gives them back control of their money. Until they decide how to spend it, the government doesn’t get to tax it, and if they spend it on the basic necessities of life, people who are poor wouldn’t have to pay taxes.

Other people who are maybe saving for the down payment on their house would be able to give themselves tax cuts just by controlling the pattern of their consumption. So, it puts everyone-poor and working people-back in control of their own economic life.

Source: Organizational website, RenewAmerica.us, “On The Issues” , Aug 3, 2004

Abolish the income tax and spend money responsibly

Q: What would you do about taxes?
A: If you need a tax cut today, all you’ll need to do is change your habits of consumption. You’ll be back in control of your own destiny. That is the tax approach that I recommend. Radically different from what they’re all talking about. They want to remain the gate keepers of your money. I want to put you back in charge of that money. Abolish the income tax.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa , Jan 16, 2000

Sales tax gives control back to people

Q: Doesn’t a sales tax disproportionately hit the poor over the wealthy? A: The present tax system, which allows you to escape taxation if you’re wealthy enough to pay accountants and lawyers, is what disproportionately hits the poor and the working middle class people of this country. Under my system you don’t pay taxes until you decide how to spend your own money. Yes, that’s going to mean some sacrifices. But it puts the question of how you develop your wealth base back under your control.
Source: Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate , Dec 7, 1999

Wrong to pay income taxes before basic necessities

Under the current tax system, before you have put bread in the mouths of your children, before you put a roof over the head of those children, before you put a stitch of clothes on their backs today, you pay the government. We’re worse off than serfs. Serfs used to pay their masters after they were fed and clothed. We have to pay our master before we’re fed and clothed. I think, I think it’s a travesty. And I think it’s time we ended it.
Source: Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate , Dec 7, 1999

Forbes’ plan leaves IRS, and an invasive tax, intact

KEYES [To Forbes]: I’m slightly confused because it seems to me that what you propose is not that we strike off the chains of tax slavery, but that we equalize it. In this case, we will still have to have an agency - I guess we could call it the happy faced enforcer of equal tax surplus. But it would still be there, enforcing an invasive tax that would require that people tell the government what the government wants to know. How do you abolish the IRS if you don’t get rid of the income tax?

FORBES: Whatever tax you have, whether it’s the flat tax or national sales tax, you are going to have a collection agency to make sure the money comes in. The virtue of the flat tax is that you can do it on a single page since it’s simple. You don’t need a hundred and ten thousand agents to do it. You just need a handful to take in the paper, make sure the checks are attached, that they clear and the job is done.

Source: (cross-ref. to Forbes) Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate , Dec 7, 1999

Forbes’ plan still requires people to beg for tax cuts

KEYES [To Forbes]: I think part of the problem is that folks would still be subject, under your plan, to an income tax. When they wanted a tax cut, they’d still have to beg their politicians. When under a sales tax system, they’d give themselves a tax cut by changing their pattern of consumption. If we really want to give people control of their money, shouldn’t we just abolish the income tax?

FORBES: I think if you abolish it for lower-income Americans, yes, that’s what I’d do. As for the national sales tax, either a flat tax or national sales tax would be much better that what we have today. But there are challenges for a national sales tax. Depending on what you choose to exempt, the rate can be 20% to 35%. So a kid comes and cuts your lawn, you owe a 35% tax. You buy a new house, 35% tax. And also, you better make sure you repeal the 16th Amendment, which enables the income tax, or you’re going to have both an income tax and a sales tax.

Source: (cross-ref. to Forbes) Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate , Dec 7, 1999

Replace income tax with tariffs & duties

We have to revamp the entire tax system. It’s not enough to lessen the load that people have and keep them running down the track with that sack on their back. We need to take the sack off your back! We need to get rid of the socialist income tax in this country and return to the original Constitution, the Constitution that funded the federal government with tariffs, duties and excise taxes, and that left to the people the decision of what they would do with every dollar they earn.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999

Income tax is Marxist control of entire economy

The income tax is a form of taxation that was advocated by Marx & Lenin because it cedes, in principle, to the government control of every dollar that is earned in the economy. Question: If I give you a percentage of my income and you get to determine the percentage, how much of my money do you control? Answer: All of it! This country was not founded with an income tax. The Founders [didn’t want] government dipping into our pocket to spend our money before we get a chance to say anything about it.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999

Against flat tax -- a distraction for abolishing income tax.

The signs are growing that strong sentiment exists in America to abolish the income tax. Despite the attempts of some to distract and diffuse this sentiment - including the proposal merely to flatten the income tax without eliminating it - there appears to be a broad willingness in the country to consider the entire question of the income tax in principle.
Source: www.keyes2000.org/issues/abolish.html 1/6/99 , Jan 6, 1999

Excise taxes allow citizens to control tax rate themselves

The income tax should be replaced with an excise tax. We will control our own tax burden by controlling the amount and pattern of our consumption. If we decide that we want to save it or invest it, we won’t be taxed. An excise tax system would mean that each citizen would decide what his tax burden was going to be, as the result of decisions to purchase taxed items in the open market. This is what the Founders intended: ordinary citizens in the driver’s seat of the economic patterns of their own lives.
Source: HUMAN EVENTS: The National Conservative Weekly, front page , Apr 17, 1998

“Soak the rich” schemes have socialist objectives

These days politicians talk as if the money belongs to the government unless we can prove otherwise. That’s the real logic behind the demagogic “soak the rich” tax proposals. If people [with] higher incomes have no just claim to their money, on what grounds can the rest of us lay claim to what we make? The idea of a basic individual right to property that the government must respect is tossed aside in favor of a socialist understanding of property as a collective good that the government distributes according to its whim.

The “soak the rich” tax proposals are therefore a politically shrewd way of getting the mass of our people to buy into socialist logic without having to declare socialist objectives. By following this approach, the day will come when our paychecks won’t record our net pay; they’ll record our government allowance. In words, it’s a small difference, but in fact it’s the difference between economic slavery and economic freedom.

Source: Our Character, Our Future, p. 73-4 , May 2, 1996

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Page last updated: Mar 13, 2014