Ron Paul on Tax Reform
Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President
PERRY: Seven percent flat tax.
SANTORUM: Two rates, 10 and 28 percent.
ROMNEY: I would like 25 percent.
GINGRICH: I would like to see it be a flat tax at 15 percent and I would like to see us reduce government to meet the revenue, not raise revenue to meet the government.
PAUL: Well, we should have the lowest tax that we've ever had, and up until 1913 it was 0%. What's so bad about that? I think the question is generally misleading, because anytime you spend money, it's a tax. You might tax, you might borrow, you might inflate. The vicious tax, that's attacking the American people, the retired people today, is the inflation tax, the devaluation of the currency, the standard of living is going down, and you need to address that. And that's why I want to make the inflation tax zero, as well.
Q: So your answer is zero?
A: Eventually they go into the private sector. Then don't all leave immediately when the plan goes into effect. But what my plan does is it addresses taxes in a little different way. We are talking about the tax code. But that's the consequence, that's the symptom. The disease is spending. Every time you spend, spending is a tax. We tax the people, we borrow, and then we print the money and the prices go up, and that is a tax. So you have to address the subject of spending. That is the tax. That is the reason I go after the spending. I propose in the first year cut $1 trillion out of the budget in 5 departments. Now the other thing is that you must do if you want to get the economy going and going again is you have to get rid of price-fixing. And the most significant price-fixing that goes on, that gave us the bubble and destroyed the economy, is the price-fixing of the Federal Reserve.
PAUL: Not quite. I'm a taxpayer there. My taxes have gone up. Our taxes have doubled since he's been in office. Our spending has gone up double. Our debt has gone up nearly triple. So, no. And 170,000 of the jobs were government jobs. [Perry claimed job growth due to tax cuts] but how do you pay for a tax cut? I think that's the wrong principle, because when you give people their money back, it's their money. You don't have to pay for it. That means that the government owns all of our money if you look that way. So we have to cut the spending, and a good way to start, there's a little embassy we built over in Baghdad that cost us a billion dollars. It's bigger than the Vatican. That's what's bankrupting this country, and that's the easy place to cut. That's where we should be cutting.
Our disastrous tax code has contributed substantially to the need for the underground economy. This need will surely grow as the economy further deteriorates. In economic terms, all this activity is beneficial in the underground, despite politicians' cries that the government is being cheated out of hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue. If the market quits functioning, the underground economy will expand exponentially. In some other countries the underground market is responsible for keeping the economy afloat.
Narrator: Who among [the Republican candidates for president] has never supported a tax increase? Never supported an unbalanced budget? Never supported wasteful government spending?
Narrator: Congressman Ron Paul: The taxpayer’s best friend.
Narrator: We need to keep him fighting for our country. [Attributed on-screen to Ronald Reagan, pictured standing with Rep. Paul]
A: Well, a government program is too vague. What kind of a government program? If it’s appropriating money and trying to stimulate that way and spend more money, no, that would be the wrong thing to do. But a government program of a reduced tax burden, yes, that would be. I believe we’re in a recession. Over-stimulation in an economy by artificially low interest rates by the Federal Reserve is the source of the recession.
A: That’s a good idea. I like that idea.
Q: What would happen to all those lost revenues? How would we fund our government?
A: We have to cut spending. You can’t get rid of the income tax if you don’t get rid of some spending. But, you know, if you got rid of the income tax today you’d have about as much revenue as we had 10 years ago, and the size of government wasn’t all that bad 10 years ago. There’re sources of revenues other than the income tax. You have tariff, excise taxes, user fees, highway fees. So, so there’s still a lot of money. But the real problem is spending. But, you know, we lived a long time in this country without an income tax. Up until 1913 we didn’t have it.
Q: But if you eliminate the income tax, do you know how much lost revenue that would be?
A: A lot.
Q: Over a trillion dollars.
A: That’s good.
A: I have never voted for a tax increase; never will. But the tax issue is only one-half of it. You can easily pledge not to raise taxes, but you have to cut spending.
Paul told Leno that the abolition of the income tax would leave the federal government with roughly the revenues it was able to gather in 2000, before the overseas adventures of the Bush years.
This seemed too good to be true, and it was. Without the revenues from individual income tax, the federal budget would shrink to the size it was in the early 1990s, not the year 2000. The discretionary share of the federal budget would dwindle to zero. All remaining federal revenues would be earmarked for mandatory entitlement spending such as social security--which Paul has said he would not touch--and interest on debt.
The Paul campaign responds, “Policy wonks can go back and forth arguing over budget specifics. Dr. Paul’s point is that we can eliminate the income tax & fund a level of government from the recent past. Whether that year is 1995, 1997 or 2000 is irrelevant.”
Immediately. You can only do that if you change our ideas about what the role of government ought to be. If you think that government has to take care of us, from cradle to grave, & if you think our government should police the world and spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a foreign policy that we cannot manage, you can’t get rid of the IRS. But if you want to lower taxes and stop causing all the inflation, you have to change policy.
A: I would get rid of the inflation tax. It’s a tax that nobody talks about. We live way beyond our means. We print money for it. The value of the money goes down, and poor people pay higher prices. That is a tax. That’s a transfer of wealth from the poor and the middle class to Wall Street. Wall Street’s doing quite well, but the inflation tax is eating away at the middle class of this country. We need to get rid of the inflation tax with sound money.
Madison would be apoplectic if he had been forced to witness the writing of the 2,000-page 1986 Tax “Simplification” Act, which no one fully understands. A decade will be required to decipher the thousands of pages of yet-to-be-written regulations. The chaos is not accidental: the taxing authorities can role any way they wish with those they choose to imprison as long as the tax code is incomprehensible. When our government officials call it “simplification,” we can be confident that it is exactly the opposite.
Money of real value, gold or silver, was clearly intended by the Founding Fathers.
If for no other reason, inflation should be rejected on the basis of morality. Inflation is taxation by deceit. Government deceives the people as to the tax burden, and who is bearing it. The working and middle classes are gradually impoverished, while the poor are ground further down.
Wealth is transferred to the rich, from the hardworking and thrifty to the conniving & foxy. Monetary and economic decisions are increasingly taken from individuals and transferred to politicians, bureaucrats, and central bankers. To enforce the transfer, government officials accumulate power through legislation and regulation.
A: Well, I know. That’s why I don’t want it.
Q: So you have nothing?
A: I want to cut spending. I want to use the Constitution as our guide, and you wouldn’t need the income tax.
The AMT sets a minimum tax rate of 26% or 28% on some taxpayers so that they cannot use certain types of deductions to lower their tax. By contrast, the rate for a corporation is 20%. Affected taxpayers are those who have what are known as "tax preference items". These include long-term capital gains, accelerated depreciation, & percentage depletion.
Because the AMT is not indexed to inflation, an increasing number of upper-middle-income taxpayers have been finding themselves subject to this tax. In 2006, an IRS report highlighted the AMT as the single most serious problem with the tax code.
For 2007, the AMT Exemption was not fully phased until [income reaches] $415,000 for joint returns. Within the $150,000 to $415,000 range, AMT liability typically increases as income increases above $150,000.
OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This vote extends the AMT exemption, and hence avoids the AMT affecting more upper-middle-income people. This vote has no permanent effect on the AMT, although voting YES implies that one would support the same permanent AMT change.
The bill would allow more individuals to receive immediate $300 refunds, and lower the capital gains tax rate from 20% to 18%.
Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to phaseout the estate and gift taxes over a 10-year period.
Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes—every vote that significantly affects taxes, spending, debt, and regulatory burdens on consumers and taxpayers. NTU assigned weights to the votes, reflecting the importance of each vote’s effect. NTU has no partisan axe to grind. All Members of Congress are treated the same regardless of political affiliation. Our only constituency is the overburdened American taxpayer. Grades are given impartially, based on the Taxpayer Score. The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and regulation and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a Member of Congress voted to lessen or limit the burden on taxpayers. The Taxpayer Score can range between zero and 100. We do not expect anyone to score a 100, nor has any legislator ever scored a perfect 100 in the multi-year history of the comprehensive NTU scoring system. A high score does not mean that the Member of Congress was opposed to all spending or all programs. High-scoring Members have indicated that they would vote for many programs if the amount of spending were lower. A Member who wants to increase spending on some programs can achieve a high score if he or she votes for offsetting cuts in other programs. A zero score would indicate that the Member of Congress approved every spending proposal and opposed every pro-taxpayer reform.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CTJ scores as follows:
Citizens for Tax Justice, founded in 1979, is not-for-profit public interest research and advocacy organization focusing on federal, state and local tax policies and their impact upon our nation. CTJ's mission is to give ordinary people a greater voice in the development of tax laws. Against the armies of special interest lobbyists for corporations and the wealthy, CTJ fights for:
Politicians often run for office saying they won't raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing.
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. While ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate's constituents, who are entitled to know where candidates stand before sending them to the capitol. Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge.
Since its rollout with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts.
[The ATR, Americans for Tax Reform, run by conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist, ask legislators to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in each election cycle. Their self-description:]
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. Since its rollout in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts. Today the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is offered to every candidate for state office and to all incumbents. More than 1,100 state officeholders, from state representative to governor, have signed the Pledge.
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers of my district and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
Opponents' Opinion (from wikipedia.com):In Nov. 2011, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) claimed that Congressional Republicans "are being led like puppets by Grover Norquist. They're giving speeches that we should compromise on our deficit, but never do they compromise on Grover Norquist. He is their leader." Since Norquist's pledge binds signatories to opposing deficit reduction agreements that include any element of increased tax revenue, some Republican deficit hawks now retired from office have stated that Norquist has become an obstacle to deficit reduction. Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, has been particularly critical, describing Norquist's position as "no taxes, under any situation, even if your country goes to hell."
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