August 17, 2004

The PR Campaign Has Started

Blake of The Nashville Files points out that Bush is backing off his comments concerning Hastert's proposal to abolish the federalized protection racket extortion scheme income tax.

Let's fisk the hit piece on the idea of a fair tax shall we?

"Administration officials on Wednesday denied that President Bush is considering a national sales tax, a day after the Republican incumbent created a stir by calling such a tax 'an interesting idea that we ought to explore seriously."

So either Bush did back off his statement or he never meant it in the first place. Not a good sign, but then again it may not be the whole story.

"Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry seized on Bush's comments — made while the president was campaigning in Florida Tuesday — and suggested such a plan would create a new tax on working families.
'Families already squeezed by rising health care costs, gas costs and college costs would have to carry a whole new tax burden,' Kerry said in a statement."

I don't really market this as a family blog, but I do attempt to show some restraint. Kerry makes it difficult. Damn difficult.

Yes, it would create a new tax - but while abolishing the old one. Didn't the stupid bastard ever think that maybe family's that are squeezed by economic conditions caused in large part by idiots like him in government might appreciate not having part of their friggin paycheck stolen from them before they receive it? & maybe if they weren't getting jacked before they got their damn paycheck then the healthcare & education costs (which wouldn't contain the hidden taxes they do currently) wouldn't be so burdensome.

Anyone know the French for "idiot"? Apparently we know the Massachusetts word for it - Kerry.

"The flap was prompted by an exchange between Bush and a supporter who asked during a town-hall meeting in Niceville, Fla., about Bush's position on legislation for a national sales tax.
'He's talking about getting rid of the current tax system and replacing it with a national sales tax,' Bush told his audience. 'It's an interesting idea. You know, I'm not exactly sure how big the national sales tax is going to have to be, but it's the kind of interesting idea that we ought to explore seriously."

That's what seems to be the full quote by Bush concerning Hastert's suggestions. It seems like a casual remark but it would have to have been something that Bush had considered previously. In fact when I first heard about the Fairtax proposal on the Micheal Medved show I do believe either Mr. Medved or his guest had claimed that the Bush administration had reacted favorably to their pitch of the idea. (As an aside, Mr. Medved doesn't have a blog like some other radio talk show hosts but he links to a fan blog bearing his name from his homepage.)

So it seems likely that Bush is familiar with the idea of replacing the governmental protection racket income tax with a national sales tax. The question is whether or not he supports it.

"Conservatives have pushed for the administration to do more to overhaul the tax code, with some calling for either a so-called 'flat' income tax or some variation of a federal sales tax."

Note the scare quotes. I'm no fan of a flat tax - mainly because it's still an income tax with all the associated problems, but it's obvious that the idea of a flat tax or any other system than the progressive rape of the working people income tax is abhorrent to the left. (Yes, I would include the media as the left.)

Although I must point out that a distinguishment was accurately made between conservatives & the Bush administration.

"Bush and his senior aides have suggested that overhauling the tax code would be a second-term priority if the president is re-elected. And Bush said at the Florida meeting: 'We're working to simplify the tax code."

Course simplifying the tax code could mean replacing it or attempting to tweak it. & as complex as it is it wouldn't take much to make it simpler that it is right now.

"But neither Bush nor his aides have been specific on what tax-code changes were under review, and never before suggested anything as radical as replacing the income tax with a federal sales tax."

Radical? Radical to replace a system that's flawed & destructive? Radical to do away with a scam tax that's only been around 90 some odd years out of 215 years of our current government? Radical to replace a constitutionally questionable tax with a constitutionally permitted tax?

"The president has always believed in lower taxes and a simpler, fairer tax code,' White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. But, he added, 'There's nothing more to announce at this time."

In other words Bush doesn't want to talk about it right now. This may mean a few different things which I'll get to in a minute.

"Later, two administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Bush was not considering a national sales tax."

Hmmm. The trouble with anonymous sources is they could be telling the truth or they could be lying. With no accountability there's just no way to be sure.

"Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters in a conference call arranged by the Bush-Cheney campaign that he favored looking at 'well-thought-out alternate tax structures' and that his tax-writing panel planned to do so.
'We have one of the more regressive tax structures in the world today that basically is a 19th century concept,' he said.
But, he added, 'We should get that revenue from people in the least destructive way possible."

It does seem that with or without Bush people are talking about it, which is a good sign. Bush has a lot of political power, but not enough to stop or start something without Congress going along with it. It is encouraging to see the phrase "...revenue from people in the least destructive way possible..." since it seems to point to a realization that the current method is destructive.

"House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., in a just published book, called for replacing the current income tax system with either a national sales tax, a value added tax or a 'flat' income tax. But he also said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that he didn't expect the Bush campaign to go along.
'I think that's a piece they don't want to bite off in the campaign. They have other things they want to talk about,' Hastert said."

Again, note the scare quotes around flat.

Hastert may be correct in that Bush doesn't want his campaign to be involved with the debate over replacing the current system of armed robbery by federal thugs in suits taxation. But if that's the reason for Bush distancing himself form the subject then I'd opine that Bush is a bigger fool than I thought.

"Kerry campaign officials discounted claims Bush wasn't really considering such a tax and suggested the question to Bush might have been planted.
'Questions like that are not out of the blue,' said Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, noting that only supporters of Bush had been invited to Tuesday's session."

I'm surprised Kerry didn't mention that Vast Right wing Conspiracy. Of course the next time Kerry is asked a question I hope his staff points out that questions are never spontaneous & he planted the person posing said question. I wonder if there's a chapter in Hugh Hewitt's book (If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It) on conspiracy theory strategy to dismiss the opponent's views? To be fair though Republicans aren't much better than the Dems in general, it's just they vary on tactics. That's why I probably wouldn't agree with Mr. Hewitt's conclusion even if I did purchase the book - but Mr. Hewitt seems thoughtful, if partisan & that's why I mentioned the book. Well that & hoping that if he trackbacks his links he'll read part of this & maybe mention the subject (not necessarily the post or the blog) on his show. The more honest discussion there is about scrapping the income tax & replacing it with a Fairtax the better.

"Said White House spokesman Trent Duffy: 'The president is always open to good ideas to make the tax code more simple and more fair. He (the president) was answering a specific question from a person who obviously feels very strongly about one approach."

Again, either it means Bush has thought about it & is backing away for political reasons or that he never thought about it but wanted to make his audience at the time thought he had considered it. It'd have been better for Bush if he'd have just made a stand one way or the other.

"In April 1993, President Clinton suggested he was weighing — but had not decided upon — proposing a national sales tax to help finance his health care program, noting that many business leaders supported such a tax.
Gene Sperling, one of Clinton's top economic advisers and now an adviser to Kerry, said he did not remember discussions over such a tax."

The difference is that constitutionally illiterate bastard Clinton (if he did in fact consider it) was thinking about adding a national sales tax to the income tax, not replacing the income tax with one.

"But, Sperling said, 'Any way you cut it, a proposal like this will amount to a historic tax increase on middle-income families."

Hell no. I cannot let someone get away with a lie of that magnitude without wondering if his immediate lineage was exclusively homosapien.

I point you to this earlier post of mine for a partial refutation of the BS that Sperling attempts to pass off as fact.

Here's what I mentioned I'd get into earlier:

Bush is no conservative. Despite the talk of him being for smaller government, he's not. However he isn't a complete idiot & if he sees the political winds blowing in a direction he's not absolutely opposed to going then he'll change course.

What i think happened is Bush heard about the Fairtax proposal & reacted positively. Not necessarily getting all fired up about it but thinking it might be worth considering. I assume he briefly chatted about it with his cabinet & got a mixed reaction so he put the idea on the back burner. Someone asked him about it (or a similar plan) & Bush wanted to demonstrate that he was sympathetic to the idea. Afterwards his people had a little chat with him & recommended he back off his statement. He did so & two of his people anonymously said Bush wasn't thinking about it, but mainly because they were against the idea.

I don't think Bush wants to get into this during his campaign, which I think is a big mistake. If Bush were to come out in favor of replacing the progressive sales tax & eliminating the IRSS as we know it he'd see more voter turn out than he would otherwise. Many republicans & conservatives who are pissed off at his actions domestically would actively campaign for him. & those that are undecided? Do you honestly think they'll vote for a guy who wants to rescind a tax cut or a guy who wants to eliminate the IRSS?

Of course getting H&R Block pissed off isn't a good thing, but I think it'd be offset by the people who would vote simply to get out of the progressive income tax system. Provided of course you spend time explaining why you back the idea.

Bush either doesn't genuinely care for the idea or he thinks that it'd be a bad idea to get into it during the campaign. Personally I'd opt for the latter explanation but the former wouldn't be a shock.

It is interesting that the slightest mention of doing away with the overly burdensome & inarguably immoral progressive income tax causes the press to leap on the subject with all the tact of a hyena in heat. If talk of replacing the progressive income tax keeps up, expect an exponential increase in the quantity & viciousness of the mainstream presses coverage of it.

Posted by Publicola at August 17, 2004 05:15 AM
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