Flat Tax, National Sales Tax Not the Answer

Herman Cain may be a decent man and he might make a slightly better President than Obama — which is saying almost nothing. But his idea that we can rescue the American budget and economy via a flat tax and/or a national sales tax is futile.

Why? Because the nature of our taxation system is not the problem. America’s problem is an ideological one. Ideologically, both parties act and speak as if the bulk of money created by American citizens — especially “the wealthy” — belongs to “the people,” i.e. the government. As long as this sick and unfair assumption exists, it doesn’t matter whether they utilize a national sales tax, an income tax, a corporate tax, a “windfall profits” tax or any other kind of tax in order to enslave the productive. It’s all the same, both in principle and in practice.

People cheer Herman Cain for at least offering something specific, concrete and objective. But so what? Just because something is specific and objective doesn’t make it right. Hitler offered (and implemented) a lot of specifics. No, Herman Cain is no Adolf Hitler. But the fact that he’s specific doesn’t automatically mean he’s addressing the real problem.

It’s actually sad that no other Republican candidate is offering anything specific. This is less a tribute to Cain than a comment on just how bad these candidates are. The perpetual and default front runner, who is still most likely to get the nomination and remains the one most likely to unseat Obama — Mitt Romney — has absolutely nothing to offer. Romney may be the most hollow man in all of American political history. All we know is his record, and his record as a Republican in Massachusetts is more liberal than Democrats in many other states. We already know what President Romney will be like: President Obama with an “R” beside his name.

A different form of taxation would undoubtedly be a good idea, especially a form of taxation that is coherent, logical and objective. But we all know that absent ideological revolution in the heartsĀ and the minds of the people, government is still going to keep doing all of the things it currently does — and more. Does anyone seriously believe that Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan will actually replace the income tax and all the corporate taxes as we know them? The Democrats would never allow it, and neither would most Republicans once push came to shove. People would oppose a flat tax as well, especially when it comes time to eliminate the home mortgage deduction. Productive, money-making people are used to their little crumbs of freedom because government has long since convinced them that their money belongs to the government, not to them.

The crisis facing America and what’s left of the free world is not that we lack a flat tax, or a national value-added tax. The crisis is that we tax so much wealth creation and productivity in the first place. Many argue that a flat tax and a national sales tax would never pass. This is probably true, but it’s not the reason there’s a crisis. The reason there’s a crisis is that not one single conservative Republican these days proposes an across the board reduction in taxes for everyone. Neither political party wants to reduce taxes. Both of them just want to make it easier for government to take more money in taxes.

Quite frankly, we’re better off with the gridlock that currently exists in Washington D.C. between the Republican House of Representatives and President Obama. It’s not solving anything, but at least the government isn’t being allowed to do any further damage, either. If we’re really fortunate, the Supreme Court will overturn ObamaCare. None of this is even close to what’s needed, which is a complete U-turn reversal in the spending and regulatory policies of Democrats and Republicans for many decades.

Smaller government will only happen as a result of the idea that people should be free and responsible for their own lives, including their health care, their education and everything else government now subsidizes and controls. Unless this idea becomes popular, it doesn’t matter whether we (the productive ones who pay taxes) are paying for it at the grocery store, at the gas pump, or on April 15.