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Fred Thompson on Tax Reform

Former Republican Senator (TN)


Progressive tax redistributes wealth without helping economy

While serving in the US Senate, Fred Thompson was a consistent proponent for lower taxes and a more simplified tax system. He hasn't changed his mind.

Thompson says, "We need to reject taxes that punish rather than reward success. Those who say they want a "more progressive" tax system should be asked one question: Are you really interested in tax rates that benefit the economy and raise revenue--or are you interested in redistributing income for political reasons?"

Source: The Fred Factor, by Steve Gill, p.166-169 Jun 3, 2007

Taxes burden production; keep rates as low as possible

Taxes are necessary. But they don't make the country any better off. At best they simply move money from the private sector to the government. But taxes are also a burden on production, because they discourage people from investing & taking risks. Some economists have calculated that today each additional $1 collected by the government, by raising income-tax rates, makes the private sector as much as $2 worse off. To me this means one simple thing: tax rates should be as low as possible.
Source: Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner, Orange County CA May 4, 2007

Tax cuts stimulate the economy

There is reason to smile this tax season. The results of the experiment that began when Congress passed a series of tax-rate cuts in 2001 & 2003 are in. Supporters of those cuts said they would stimulate the economy. Opponents predicted ever-increasing budget deficits and national bankruptcy unless tax rates were increased, especially on the wealthy.

In fact, Treasury statistics show that tax revenues have soared and the budget deficit has been shrinking faster than even the optimists projected. Since the first tax cuts were passed, when I was in the Senate, the budget deficit has been cut in half.

Critics claimed that across-the-board tax cuts were some sort of gift to the rich but, on the contrary, the wealthy are paying a greater percentage of the national bill than ever before. The richest 1% of Americans now pays 35% of all income taxes. The top 10% pay more taxes than the bottom 60%. Because of lower rates, money is being invested in our economy instead of being sheltered from the taxman

Source: Fred Thompson editorial in The Wall Street Journal Apr 14, 2007

Voted NO on reducing marriage penalty instead of cutting top tax rates.

Vote to expand the standard deduction and 15% income tax bracket for couples. The elimination of the "marriage penalty" tax would be offset by reducing the marginal tax rate reductions for the top two rate bracket
Reference: Bill HR 1836 ; vote number 2001-112 on May 17, 2001

Voted NO on increasing tax deductions for college tuition.

Vote to increase the tax deduction for college tuition costs from $5,000 to $12,000 and increase the tax credit on student loan interest from $500 to $1,000. The expense would be offset by limiting the cut in the top estate tax rate to 53%.
Reference: Bill HR 1836 ; vote number 2001-114 on May 17, 2001

Voted YES on eliminating the 'marriage penalty'.

Vote on a bill that would reduce taxes on married couples by increasing their standard deduction to twice that of single taxpayers and raise the income limits on both the 15 percent and 28 percent tax brackets for married couples to twice that of singles
Reference: Bill HR.4810 ; vote number 2000-215 on Jul 18, 2000

Voted YES on across-the-board spending cut.

The Nickles (R-OK) Amdendment would express the sense of the Senate that Congress should adopt an across-the-board cut in all discretionary funding, to prevent the plundering of the Social Security Trust Fund
Status: Amdt. Agreed to Y)54; N)46
Reference: Nickles Amdt #1889; Bill S. 1650 ; vote number 1999-313 on Oct 6, 1999

Voted YES on requiring super-majority for raising taxes.

Senator Kyl (R-AZ) offered an amendment to the 1999 budget resolution to express the sense of the Senate on support for a Constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority to pass tax increases.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)50; N)48; NV)2
Reference: Kyl Amdt #2221; Bill S Con Res 86 ; vote number 1998-71 on Apr 2, 1998

Other candidates on Tax Reform: Fred Thompson on other issues:
TN Gubernatorial:
Phil Bredesen
TN Senatorial:
Bill Frist
Bo Heyward
Bob Corker
Chris Lugo
Ed Bryant
Harold Ford
Lamar Alexander
Van Hilleary

2004 Presidential:
Pres.George W. Bush
Sen.John Kerry
Ralph Nader

2008 possibilities:

Sen.Hillary Clinton
Sen.John Edwards
Sen.Russ Feingold
Rudy Giuliani
V.P.Al Gore
Sen.Barack Obama
Sen.John McCain


2006 Senate retirements:
Jon Corzine(D,NJ)
Mark Dayton(DFL,MN)
Bill Frist(R,TN)
Jim Jeffords(I,VT)
Paul Sarbanes(D,MD)
2006 Senate Races:
(AZ)Kyl v.Pederson
(CA)Feinstein v.Mountjoy
(CT)Lieberman v.Lamont v.Schlesinger
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