Fair Tax Act of 2023

While I will not hold my breath, I am thrilled to see the introduction of H.R.25 – FairTax Act of 2023 in the House of Representatives by Rep. Carter Earl L. “Buddy” (R-GA-1) on January 9.

“This bill imposes a national sales tax on the use or consumption in the United States of taxable property or services in lieu of the current income taxes, payroll taxes, and estate and gift taxes. The rate of the sales tax will be 23% in 2025, with adjustments to the rate in subsequent years. There are exemptions from the tax for used and intangible property; for property or services purchased for business, export, or investment purposes; and for state government functions.

Under the bill, family members who are lawful U.S. residents receive a monthly sales tax rebate (Family Consumption Allowance) based upon criteria related to family size and poverty guidelines.” “Fair Tax Act of 2023”

I have written a great deal about taxation, a necessary feature of government spending, and how to make it fair and economically neutral (minimal distortion of the allocation of resources in our economy). Income taxation—especially corporate income taxation—fail these tests. A universal consumption tax passes them. It is especially suitable for our globalized world where companies produce and sell in many countries. “Tax reform and the press”   “The corporate income tax”

But the issue of fairness is somewhat in the eyes of the beholder. I have also supported a Universal Basic Income (UBI), in place of our many safety net transfers including Social Security. “Our social safety net”  Not only does a UBI better fit American’s strong commitment to individual liberty and choice, but when combined with a flat consumption tax it produces a progressive impact on income that satisfies my notion of fairness. “Replacing social security with a universal basic income”

As I understand the new (actually a return to the old) and improved House rules, after consideration by the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill will be debated on the floor of the full House. This is a giant step in a very good direction.  

Restoring Regular Order to Congress

In my “Hopes for the New Year” blog last week I listed among my hopes: “Restore Congressional Leadership. Enforce the War Powers Act. Restore regular order and cross aisle cooperation to address real problems. “Our dysfunctional Congress”

The promises made by Kevin McCarthy to gain the required majority support for his Speakership of the House, largely deliver my wish. They weaken the power of the overly powerful Speaker and increased the power of your and my Congressman or Congresswoman. Each appropriation will be properly and separately considered (first by the relevant committee) rather than the all in one rush package no one has time to read in the final minutes before the government must shut down. The issues and proposed remedies were presented a few days ago by Bruce Fein “Deliverance from the Republican House”

OK guys, please get on with addressing the issues and needs of the country that depend on law. The term “guys” here is a standard reference to both men and women. It reminds me of the many meetings we had in 2000 in Istanbul with the new head of the new Turkish Banking Supervision body created to manage Turkey’s exchange rate and banking crises. We (our IMF team) met with him and his team daily and often well into the night and he often referred to us as “girls” or in his better moods “ladies.”