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Time for TEA and a Fair Tax

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Teatime, anyone? I hope you've joined one of the thousands of TEA (Taxed Enough Already) parties or FairTax rallies, which are happening across the country April 15 to protest outrageous government spending, the deepening of our national debt, and the subsequent taxes. This is a nonpartisan time to rally around like-minded citizens and declare that we're tired of the same old political rhetoric and that we want a better way.

I personally encourage all people to voice to their representatives that we need to return to a taxation system similar to the one established by our Founding Fathers. They did not penalize productivity through taxes the way we do today. They had no Internal Revenue Service. They believed in minimal taxation. They did not pay income taxes, which were prohibited by the Constitution. They did not pay export taxes, which also were prohibited by the Constitution. But they did tax imports. The Founders believed in free trade within our own borders and a system of tariffs on imported goods.

That's a system that makes sense to me. It is a system designed to preserve individual liberty and encourage productivity (through no income taxes and no discouragement of domestic production through export taxes) while choosing to keep taxes as painless as possible (through taxes on foreign imports). And it doesn't require an IRS to run it.

The Founders would have been horrified at the bloated federal bureaucracy we have now and the maze of taxes we have to navigate: income taxes, employment taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, corporate taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes, gas taxes, etc. It was excessive taxation like this that drove the Founders to rebel in the first place.

All of the Founders were opposed to domestic taxes. They regarded high taxes and aggressive tax collectors as tyrannical and always to be guarded against. Patrick Henry warned: "Excisemen may come in multitudes, for the limitation of their numbers no man knows. They may, unless the general government be restrained by a bill of rights or some similar restriction, go into your cellars and rooms and search, ransack and measure everything you eat, drink and wear." (A prophetic statement?)

The IRS wasn't started until nearly 100 years after the Revolutionary War, in 1862 as the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Its creation coincided with the creation of the income tax, which it was designed to collect. Both were the work of President Abraham Lincoln and Congress, who saw them as necessary to pay for Civil War expenses.

It is interesting to note, however, that the income tax law expired 10 years later, was revived in 1894, and then was ruled by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in 1895. Yet in 1913, it became law through the 16th Amendment. Ever since then, the income tax has deprived families of their rightful earnings, restricted our liberties, and deprived our economy of money that could have been invested in productive enterprises.

Today the IRS is the No. 1 enemy of your pocketbook. Who doesn't fear an IRS audit? It's the only federal agency that considers you guilty until proven innocent. It can't be overhauled or even reformed (Congress' attempts have failed).

The best answer is to abolish the IRS, sweep away the present tax code, and implement FairTax's plan, which lives up to its name. As Mike Huckabee says, "Wouldn't it be nice if April 15 were just another sunny spring day?" (Mike himself will be hosting a FairTax rally in Columbia, S.C.)

FairTax's plan would do away with all taxes and would put in their place a single consumptive (fair) tax, which right now is the closest practical proposal to the taxation system favored by the Founders. With the fair tax, the harder you worked and the more money you made the better off you and our economy would be. You would pay taxes only when you bought something, which means that you could control how much you'd be taxed and that you never would be penalized for working hard.

It's time we had a system through which people didn't have to figure out ways to cheat in order to save their money. Again, as Huckabee says: "The fair tax is a completely transparent tax system. It doesn't increase taxes. It's revenue-neutral. But here's what it will do: It will bring business back to the United States that is leaving our shores because our tax laws make it impossible for an American-based business to compete. … The fair tax was designed by economists from Harvard and Stanford and some of the leading think tanks across the country."

There are also trillions of dollars hiding in offshore accounts. With the fair tax, the people with their money offshore could bring it back to invest here, which would give a huge boost to our economy. It's the biggest stimulation package there is. As the FairTax Web site says, "Think of it as the World's Biggest Economic Jumper Cables."

If the Founding Fathers were here today, I believe they would support the fair tax. As James Madison said, "Taxes on consumption are always least burdensome because they are least felt and are borne, too, by those who are both willing and able to pay them; that of all taxes on consumption, those on foreign commerce are most compatible with the genius and policy of free states."

We don't need more tax reform. We need a tax revolution! And FairTax's plan would provide it. If we all jumped on the bandwagon and demanded our representatives implement such a taxation system, we could restore our nation economically and make the financially impossible become possible again.

Friends, we must keep fighting. Join your nearest TEA party or FairTax rally, and bring your cell phone, too, so that you can call Congress and the president to share why you've gathered together. (The phone number for representatives and senators is 202-224-3121, and the president's is 202-456-1414.)

If you haven't found the nearest location for a TEA party or FairTax rally, go to TeaPartyDay.com or FairTax.org. Invite your friends, too. And don't forget to bring copies of this article or another one that explains the fair tax so others can be educated, as well. Why wait? Forward it now to everyone you know, and let's get the party rolling!

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