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Last EditedRP  Aug 10, 2004 06:09pm
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News DateMonday, August 9, 2004 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionHouse Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) created a flurry of excitement in Republican circles the other day when it was reported that he is proposing abolition of the Internal Revenue Service in a new book. This would be accomplished by eliminating all existing federal taxes and replacing them with a national retail sales tax.

When Congressís Joint Committee on Taxation scored the Linder proposal 4 years ago, it estimated that it would actually require a tax-inclusive rate of 36 percent, not 23 percent, to equal current federal revenues. Calculating the rate in a normal, tax-exclusive manner would mean a 57 percent rate.

Economist Bill Gale of the Brookings Institution notes that supporters of the sales tax assume that there will be no tax evasion under their proposal and that the size of government will not grow, even though they would send a large annual check to every American in order to offset the regressivity of the tax. Making realistic assumptions, Mr. Gale estimates that the tax-inclusive rate, comparable to Linderís proposed 23 percent rate, would actually have to be about 50 percent. A rate comparable to existing sales taxes would be close to 100 percent.

And let us not forget that state and local sales taxes would come on top of the federal sales tax, pushing the total rate even higher.
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