Since dismissing the idea of the fair tax on my program on Monday, I have received about 100 e-mails denouncing me for my ignorance and demanding that I “read the book!” I of course believe in tax simplification and lower taxes as the key to economic growth, but a plan that begins with abolishing the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable deduction will not pass the Congress any time soon, and I am uninterested in crusades based on great leaps into the dark with only the flimsiest chance of success.
The “Fair Tax firsters” redouble their efforts and cite Fred Thompson to me as a champion of their cause. If that’s the case, please account for this story as well as the ambiguity his letter cited in this press release.
Tax reform and tax simplification are excellent causes, and the economy would benefit from both, but utopian schemes that call for results the political system will never deliver impede rather than advance those goals. Perhaps in the New Hampshire debate in September one question will be “Do you support abolishing the income tax, including the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable deduction, and substituting a 23% sales tax in its place?” Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson will all answer “no.”