- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Let’s talk FairTax talk

In the Jan. 30 editorial “Taxes and candidates,” there were inferences to fact that are not backed by the facts. Mike Huckabee’s statements about the FairTax in the editorial are backed by the facts. Reading the FairTax Act and some of the $23 million in research on the FairTax could have prevented your errors.

The editorial debates whether the FairTax rate is 30 percent or 23 percent. To compare the FairTax to the income tax that it would replace, we would have to say a person at a 20 percent income tax rate would really be at a 26 percent rate because he would be buying things with after-tax dollars. Under the FairTax, we would be buying things with pretax dollars, as we would be receiving all of our earnings (no income and payroll taxes). As explained on the FairTax Web site, to compare the FairTax to the income tax it would replace, the FairTax rate should be presented as 23 percent.

The article also says the middle class would be harmed by the FairTax. A 2006 Boston University study concluded that the FairTax benefits all income groups. Of 42 household types, all have lower average remaining lifetime tax rates under the FairTax than they would experience under the current tax system, with those at lower spending levels benefiting most.

Economists differ, but most agree that income taxes depress the economy, consumption (sales) taxes grow the economy, and when you penalize productive behavior, you get less of it.

The author states that the FairTax would invite massive fraud at the collection point, but isn’t that what we have today with all the under-the-table and illegal transactions and the hidden economy of illegal aliens? Under the FairTax, the drug dealer on the corner will be paying his taxes when he spends his money. Illegal aliens also will pay taxes as they consume; however, only legal households will receive the monthly “prebate” check each month to offset expenditures up to the poverty level. Studies point to much improved compliance under the FairTax.

The FairTax is so simple that some fear the public will understand it. It is so visible that some fear the public will learn its true tax burden. The FairTax stops the deception of hiding “business taxes” in prices that today result in the exportation of our companies and jobs rather than our products, as this deception places American business and labor at a 20 percent competitive disadvantage.

When the ruse of “business” taxes is eliminated, people will see, on every sales receipt, their true tax burden for the first time in generations.

ROGER BUCHHOLTZ

Director

Michigan FairTax

Kalamazoo, Mich.

For the record

The Washington Times’ readers deserved better than uncritical repetition of anonymous charges against the Army leadership and Judge Advocate General Corps in the Jan. 25 Inside the Ring column (“Army failure”).

The accusations that they broke their oath to uphold the law by failing to discipline those responsible for the Abu Ghraib scandal are false, and they indiscriminately insult hundreds of deployed JAGs who uphold the laws of war on the battlefield at the risk, and sometimes the cost, of their lives.

In response to Abu Ghraib, the Army and Department of Defense thoroughly investigated all claims of detainee abuse and prosecuted and punished those responsible in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice. As a result, 12 soldiers, ranging from private to lieutenant colonel, were court-martialed.

Four other soldiers, including a senior commander, received nonjudicial punishment, and 14 other soldiers were reprimanded for their misconduct. In all, 10 officers were punished for misconduct specifically related to Abu Ghraib, including former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who received memorandums of admonishment and reprimand and was relieved of command.

As Army general counsel, I have observed our judge advocates, from the judge advocate general on down, both here and in Iraq. They are the finest lawyers and patriots whom I have come across in 25 years in law and 20 years in government. Like your readers, they, too, deserved better from The Times.

BENEDICT COHEN

General counsel of the Army

Pentagon

Washington

Only the experienced need apply

Magie Dominic’s Tuesday letter, “If not Hillary, who?” concludes: “If not Mrs. Clinton, who? If not now, when?” Being the wife of an ex-president just doesn’t seem adequate.

Neither Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton nor Sen. Barack Obama has had anything close to relevant experience. Being a lawyer and a member of the Senate for a few years hardly qualifies one for a midlevel corporate management position, let alone the presidency, and while Sen. John McCain has clearly served his country, his background for the top job isn’t much broader.

DENIS ABLES

Vienna, Va.

Humans and endangered species

The article “Political battle pits polar bears vs. oil drilling” (Nation, Jan. 24) is an example of how, for decades, the Endangered Species Act has been used to victimize property owners and take away their land, their assets and their livelihoods. In the name of preserving every variant of animal life, the Endangered Species Act has enabled the violation of individual rights in every corner of the country, rights that our government was instituted to protect, not trample.

At the expense of human life and human progress, the Endangered Species Act has been used to prevent the construction of dams, irrigation projects, power plants, housing complexes, highways and many other essential forms of human development.

No law that places the well-being of animals above the well-being of humans should stand.

DAVID HOLCBERG

Ayn Rand Institute

Irvine, Calif.

Dealing with Kosovo

The Jan. 31 analysis and recommendations by John Bolton, Lawrence Eagleburger and Peter Rodman (“Warning light on Kosovo,” Commentary) offer indeed a rare, clear, rational and realistic assessment of the Kosovo dilemma. One can only hope that these warnings will be taken most seriously by the administration. But will they?

In dealing with the crisis in the Balkans for the past 15 years, this and previous administrations have implemented a profoundly flawed strategy based on double standards and devoid of a longterm view of the larger national interest of the United States. The current problem with the Serbian province Kosovo is a result of these policies, which are still implemented to a large measure by the same officials who have been involved with this flawed strategy since the 1990s. This is why I am skeptical that the urgent and wise call by three past foreign-policy officials and experts for reassessment of America’s Kosovo policy will not be heeded.

The commentary very skillfully and correctly presented the crux of the problem and its potential consequences for the United States and the European Union. It is particularly encouraging also to note their concern with our ongoing policy of frequently demeaning and unnecessarily provoking the Russian Federation, the policy they obviously and rightly question.

MICHAEL DJORDJEVICH

San Rafael, Calif.

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