Some believe more and bigger government is better; others believe too much government is oppressive, stifling individual initiative.

Regardless of the size of government, we would do well to remember that human nature does not change.  

Our Founding Fathers wisely designed the U.S. Constitution so it could be amended if necessary but not frivolously.

The Bill of Rights was demanded by the people who had just fought a war against an overreaching government and by the states that didn’t trust a strong central government.

They understood that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

The Bill of Rights was intended as a written guarantee (enumeration) of pre-existing rights our forefathers saw as God-given: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are the amendments that lay out individual freedoms that shall not be infringed upon. 

In 1913 an amendment was adopted that started to restrict our freedoms, allowing the federal government to levy taxes upon our income. From this amendment the Internal Revenue Service was birthed; an agency that has exceeded its authority and worked with other government agencies to target individuals based upon their political beliefs.

It has become one of the most feared agencies in our national government — feared as it uses it power for political purposes, binding and intimidating political opponents of the administration.

Before 1913 the U.S. Government was largely financed through consumption taxes (e.g., alcohol). Then came prohibition, the source of this revenue evaporated and income taxes became the primary revenue source.

As politicians started to take home more and more “bacon” (pork) the need to increase income taxes grew. Government was no longer being used to protect us (e.g., national defense) but to gain power to keep politicians in office.

Through income tax, withholding the amount of taxation was “hidden” from those paying the taxes. When people know how much they are being taxed, they have a vested interest in how their money is spent! In addition, not everybody pays income taxes. 

We believe the time has come to consider another form of taxation and to rid ourselves of income taxes and the IRS altogether. It may make sense to consider a consumption tax, or national sales tax, on the ultimate consumer.

Doing this eliminates multiple taxes on the same goods, services and money (e.g., paying a “death tax” on money already earned and taxed).

The Flat Tax doesn’t address many of our issues because it is still an income-based tax, doesn’t repeal the 16th Amendment, nor does it eliminate the IRS.

Instead we encourage you to take a look at the “Fair Tax” (House Resolution 25). This tax would eliminate the need for the IRS and income-based taxes.

Instead items would be taxed when the ultimate consumer purchases the product or service. We already have a system in place to collect these taxes: the corner grocery store, sporting goods store, car dealership, etc.

The Fair Tax only affects consumption and has “pre-bates” where the government pays taxpayers money monthly equal to the amount a person at the poverty level would pay in a national sales tax, thus helping those who are less fortunate.

In addition, the Fair Tax would apply to everyone and couldn’t be avoided by those who are “off the grid.” Worth considering?

Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing a series of columns on timely issues for today. They both ran in the 14th Congressional District primary.

(15) comments

Ron Shelby

The underlying problem with a sales tax only structure is that spending patterns do not remain flat throughout life. Spending patterns increase significantly from ones 20s to about 50 and then decline. That means the greatest tax burden is being placed on those just getting started and beginning to raise children. At a time of greatest financial commitment they are alo disproportionately carrying the greatest burden. Longer term it means they will be able to save even less early in life towards retirement, the time at which they really need to save and invest so that they'd be less off a financial burden to society later. This definely has many problems.

Matt Coulson

Aren't those people already carrying the tax burden, just in another format?

Carlos Ponce

And why, Ron Shelby, do "[s]pending patterns increase significantly from ones 20s to about 50 and then decline"? I say lack of prudent spending habits. I see young people spending themselves into debt by catching the "got to" disease. Got to have that new fancy car, got to have a fancy home, got to have all the latest tech, got to give kids all the latest in everything, etc. They used to call it "keeping up with the Jones". I say plan a family when you can afford one, budget keeping an emergency fund handy. And where is there a law saying you have to pay for your children's post-high school education? They are considered adult at 18. there are millions in scholarships available through high school counseling offices that no one ever applies for. And whatever happened to working your way through college? I have noticed kids who college is paid on the backs of their parents and all they do is party. And college isn't for everybody.

Kevin Lang

I see what you're saying carlosrponce. Young people should not incur college debt. When they land that first job, they should sleep on the street outside their office, running through sprinklers to take their showers. At least until they've collected enough paychecks to save up for a rental apartment next door to work, and don't move into the suburbs until they can afford a car. Getting a place to live and having a car to get around are such overrated expenses.

As for children, there is a saying that if you wait until you're fully prepared for kids before you have them, we'd be extinct in just a few generations.

Getting that first place, setting it up, and acquiring that first car are all expenses that most people start incurring before the first paycheck hits the bank. Sure, many people, young and old, would do better to maintain lower financial profiles. On the other hand, our corporate and government leaders generally don't do a good job of setting good examples along those lines.

Chris Gimenez

Those on the left do such a bang-up job of exaggerating their basis for always crying about getting more tax revenue. The fact is that those who go to college shouldn't incur college loans unless they are going to be completely responsible for paying them off. When the taxpayers are on the hook for paying college loans for anyone other than there own children then it becomes another entitlement that will neither be appreciated nor earned and won't result in a more educated society.

As for the ridiculousness about our younger generation struggling to buy diapers and food and shelter, that's another left-wing smokescreen. We're paying for that stuff for way too many people who have no business bringing children into this world.

Carlos Ponce

kevjlang, too bad common sense is not passed out with degrees at universities these days. Upon graduation from SHSU in 1979 I had zero debt. Learn to budget your time and your resources. "To Everything, There is a season And a time to every purpose, under Heaven."

Kevin Lang

bvresident and carlosrponce, one, I'm not making a single statement in favor of more tax revenue. If we all agree that revenue is sufficient as is, then we need to agree on what we're going to give up in order to pay the debts we incurred.

As for incurring debt, there is no set formula for the right way to get yourself from 16 to 30 or 40. Just like many successful businesses begin by leveraging a bunch of debt while they develop their great ideas and start pulling in revenues, so too are many successful businessmen born from taking in great debts to invest in the education that will lead them down their path of success. Incurring debt, in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. For consumers, home loans historically have made sense because the rate of appreciation of the real estate is frequently greater than the interest rate on savings and greater than the interest rate on the loan. Car loans can come down to a matter of the opportunity cost of the money.

Of course, there are people, companies, and countries, that overleverage themselves with debt. I've been close to that myself as I, sans silver spoon, had to navigate my way through college and early career to discover my own mix of what's important, what's not important, what can't wait, and what must wait. I rang up my share of debts, and I paid them off. No other person's blood, sweat, and tears were used to do so. No government assistance, no special provisions from the financial institutions, or anything else. I dug myself into the hole, and I dug myself out. Today, I have a greater appreciation for the responsible uses of debt, and how easy it can be to use credit irresponsibly.

For our country, it's certainly debatable as to whether we're overleveraged. What's not debatable is that we need to develop a plan for paying it back. Since those dollars weren't just pulled out of thin air, the dollars to pay it back won't come out of thin air, either. They are going to come off of some peoples' backs. I fully expect that some of it will come off of my back. Maybe I don't like half of what those dollars bought, but I don't feel that's a sufficient reason to not meet my obligation. Whether that ethic is liberal or conservative matters little to me. I think it's my responsibility to help clean up the mess, and I'm fully aware that I might have to settle for a Corolla or two instead of the Ferrari and Lamborghini I was planning on. Since most of this mess was created by our generation, I think it's only fair that our generation at least do some of the heavy lifting to clean it up. I don't know the fair way to divvy it up, but if we're as smart as we think we are, we probably need to start figuring that out.

Carlos Ponce

" I rang up my share of debts, and I paid them off. No other person's blood, sweat, and tears were used to do so."
A good lesson to pass on to your progeny. Too bad too many "me-lennials" don't quite get it. They want it all and they want it NOW. And they are not willing to put in the hard work it takes to become successful.

Kevin Lang

Nothing unique about millenials. The millenials have neither invented nor perfected any form of human behavior. Maybe we focus more on it today, but I don't think it's anything our predecessor generations didn't have to deal with, too. If it's more of a problem today, it's because we didn't do anything to correct it in prior generations.

Carlos Ponce

Oh yes, the "Me" - linneals are those blame everyone else but themselves for their lack of prosperity and success. They whine about inheriting the "worse economy ever" for the lack of job availability. They sound just like President BO.
By the way, the worse economy was inherited by President Calvin Coolidge. His turn around led to "The Roaring Twenties". He cut the budget in half and eliminated the nation's debt. We need another "Silent Cal".

Kevin Lang

Defeatism has been around for centuries. Psychiatrists and psychologists have tried to deal with the phenomenon for as long as there have been psychiatrists and psychologists. For those people that feel they've been left out of the economy and opportunity, I don't know how much of that is purely their fault, and how much of it is due to our nation not adjusting to the changes in the world economy. Although I think I'd do OK if I was coming out of high school today, I'd be less than honest if I said I'd love to do it and set the example. At this point, the example I'd like to set is to retire young enough to open up opportunities for others to experience the same success as I've had.

Norman Pappous

Yes Ron but there are problems on all sides. If you tax the elderly more then you are taxing them for services they will not likely be around to see the full life of - no pun intended. The elderly don't spend as much because they are "empty-nesters" without children to support. If you tax them more through another method, then they are then going to run through their nest-egg faster without the means to generate income in their latest stages of life. There are issues everywhere with each means of taxation. I maintain the best method is the most transparent and easiest to collect. That is a national sales tax... Although I would give the first $xx,000 of spending to each person for free.

Pam Nicolini

"Got to" have diapers, "got to" have child care, "got to" have food and shelter for your kids. Yes, carlosrponce, I see where you're going with that. [smile]

Carlos Ponce

They call it "planning" and "budgeting". The necessities of life are one thing. Getting your children the latest X-Box, I-Pad, stylish clothes are another. "Look for the bare necessities, The simple bare necessities, Forget about your worries and your strife, I mean the bare necessities Old Mother Nature's recipes That brings the bare necessities of life."

Jim Forsythe

Reply to carlosrponce posted at 8:15 am on Tue, Mar 18, 2014.
“Coolidge inherited a nation in the midst of an unprecedented economic boom and handed it over just before it fell into the Great Depression. He succeeded in his primary goals of balancing the national budget and reducing the deficit, but he failed to supervise the giddy rise of the stock market. He also refused to address the needs of millions of American poor, and instituted a strict, discriminatory immigration policy. "America," he said, "must be kept American."
While signs of financial crisis were evident by the late 1920s, Coolidge did nothing to avert the eminent catastrophe. Instead, he abruptly declined to run for a second full term, leaving his successor Herbert Hoover to navigate the most dismal economic straits in U.S. history”
“On poverty, Hoover said that "Given the chance to go forward with the policies of the last eight years, we shall soon with the help of God, be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this nation", and promised, "We in America today are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land," but within months, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 occurred, and the world's economy spiraled downward into the Great Depression.”
Which one of the Presidents were responsible for the Great Depression? If this happen today, fingers would be pointed where, at the President. Have things changed that much? President Coolidge declined to run for second term, why?

Did he foresee the things to come!

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