- The Washington Times - Friday, April 30, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat, a life-long opponent of the value-added tax (VAT), crafted a carefully thought-out theory that, if put into effect, would allow the government to obtain nearly a trillion dollars of additional revenue per year without imposing a consumption tax on the middle class (“Obama hints of openness to VAT,” Politics, April 22).

Let us hope the Obama administration dusts off Moynihan’s theory before this VAT nonsense goes any further, but unfortunately, that looks unlikely. President Obama has created a commission, co-chaired by Erskine B. Bowles and Alan K. Simpson, to look into ways of changing the tax system to gain new revenue. Two outstanding economists, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, formerly employed by Time magazine for many years, also have considered ways of simplifying the tax structure while raising new revenue, but without going to the extreme of imposing the VAT. Message to Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson: Why don’t you contact Mr. Barlett and Mr. Steele and ask them to serve in the research department of your commission?

The concept of a VAT indeed should be considered - for about 10 seconds. Then it should be thrown into the garbage can of history along with socialism and fascism as another terrible, ruinous idea.

CLIFTON WELLMAN

New York

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