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Published February 07, 2013 in News by Sharon Harris
Arguing for REPEAL on the 100th Anniversary of the Income Tax
February 3, 2013 marked a black day in U.S. history. It was the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 16th Amendment, which enabled the creation of the U.S. federal income tax.
One hundred years later, more and more Americans are asking: Can the income tax be repealed -- and replaced with… nothing?
The answer is: yes! Ron Paul interjected it into the national debate during his presidential campaign. Now it's up to us to take up the mantle.
In recognition of this unpleasant anniversary, we're reposting a 4-part series by Advocates President Sharon Harris on how to argue effectively for ending the income tax.
Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part One
Ending the personal income tax would be a great blessing for America.
However, to most Americans -- even those who hate the income tax -- the idea currently seems unrealistic and breathtakingly radical.
Can we persuade others to accept this idea -- and eventually propel it into the mainstream political discussion? Libertarians are already doing this with many issues, including drug relegalization, ending the Federal Reserve, privatization, and many more.
I believe we can and should add ending the personal income tax to that list. Here are some ways to present the idea as sensible, desirable, and realistic.
ONE: Use the popularity of Ron Paul. If you're discussing this issue with a Ron Paul admirer (and there are millions of them), then the battle is already at least half won. Just tell the person that Paul has long supported ending the personal income tax, and several times he has introduced legislation, the Liberty Amendment, to do this, most recently on April 30, 2009.
(Here are Paul's comments on introducing the Liberty Amendment. And here is the wording of the Liberty Amendment.)
In fact, even if your listener isn't a Ron Paul fan, the mere fact that legislation has been introduced in Congress to end the personal income tax will make the idea seem more real, more possible.
TWO: If appropriate, explain your position with dramatic language along these lines: "I want to end the income tax -- and replace it with... nothing." This makes it clear that you're calling for bold change, not just a reshuffling of the status quo. This is powerful and provocative phrasing. The "nothing" at the end surprises your listener -- and makes him eager to hear what you'll say next.
THREE: The natural question you'll be asked is: "But how will we fund the government without the income tax? How can we fund essential services?"
Happily, there's a great and persuasive answer. On November 20, 2008 Ron Paul said in a New York Times interview:
"About 45 percent of all federal revenue comes from the personal income tax. That means that about 55 percent -- over half of all revenue -- comes from other sources, like excise taxes, fees, and corporate taxes.
"We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990s. We don't need to 'replace' the income tax at all."
That is remarkable and eye-opening: to think that we could adapt a budget from roughly ten years ago (or, more precisely, cut spending back to the still extremely high levels of just ten years ago) -- and no longer be plagued by the personal income tax.
FOUR: Having made this striking point, you can de-radicalize the issue by adding: "So perhaps this idea isn't so radical after all."
FIVE: Strengthen your case further by adding something along these lines: "By the way, in the late 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president, I don't remember many people complaining that government wasn't big enough, or complaining we had too little government."
Ask your listener if he would be willing to reduce the federal government to the size it was in the last years of the Clinton administration -- if it meant we could abolish outright the personal income tax.
Many people will respond by saying that we need more reduction than that! Congratulations -- you've just turned a radical-sounding idea into something that doesn't sound radical enough!
Next issue I'll share further ways to persuade your audience that this bold libertarian proposal is realistic and desirable.