Georgia Republican Candidate: Abolish The IRS, And Have Fairies Administer The Flat Tax

Since finishing my Masters at the tail end of last month and moving back to Atlanta, I’ve gotten a little more dug into Georgia politics — which is on the cusp of particularly nail-biting election, as it looks like Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter may just pull it off. Carter in particular is a gifted politician, and despite coming from a presidential family was a former Peace Corps volunteer, married to a public school teacher, lives in fairly modest circumstances, and has no history of corruption — so basically everything Georgia’s Nixonesque governor Nathan Deal isn’t.

But despite Georgia’s increasingly likely Democratic tidal wave in November, there are a number of races where candidates are trying to out-do eachother in extremism. In my congressional district, where no Democrat will even be on the ballot in November (a real missed opportunity for me!), Bob Barr is trying to make a comeback by demanding that Georgia officials likely unconstitutionally bar the federal government from moving immigrant children into the state, and his opponent Barry Loudermilk is campaigning like this:

barryloudermilk

 

The classical “abolish the IRS” vehicle is the so-called “Fair Tax,” where you eliminate income taxes and replace them with a huge sales tax on most goods. It’s a pretty excellent way of slamming the middle class with an enormous tax hike while letting the rich, who have most of their wealth outside of regular spending, get off very, very well.

What’s more interesting here is that Loudermilk says that tax reform “can only be achieved by abolishing both the IRS and the current tax code” — as if anything else is simply subpar, the purview of RINOs. His mailer then instructs the reader that his replacement would be the “Flat Tax, Fair Tax, or Simple Tax.” I”m not sure what a “simple tax” would entail, but it does beg the question, who would be administering these replacement tax schemes? The first one he mentions, the flat tax, is an income tax that’s the same rate for everyone. Would fairies be in charge of putting it in place?

He also goes on to invoke the Tenth Amendment, the new trend among the far-right which, as my former colleague Ian Milhiser has documented, basically says most things the federal government does are unconstitutional.

What this long string of incoherent impractical recommendations adds up to is how you win a Republican primary in 2014. Folks like Barr and Loudermilk are hoping on a small turnout of the most ideologically extreme voters. There are a few antidotes to this, one of which would be for moderate Republicans to actually get out and vote (which is difficult, no one with money is pushing their causes despite any level of popularity, heck 58 percent of Republicans want to see a $9 minimum wage)  and to act as a counterweight in this primaries, flood open primaries (hello Mississippi), or beat them at the polls (also very difficult, with congressional districts being badly gerrymandered).

All of those are not easy solutions, but it might help if folks just stop repeating the myth that the Democrats and Republicans are equally extreme and polarized (okay, maybe on issues where they virtually agree, but not elsewhere). I don’t know of any mainstream, electable Democrats running on abolishing prisons and jailing bankers, or whatever the equivalent to all this would be.






41 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    He also goes on to invoke the Tenth Amendment, the new trend among the far-right

    Not new at all.

  2. 2
    MattF says:

    Also, for the record, the Texas Republican Party has a long history of advocating ‘the platform from an alternative space-time continuum’:

    http://www.newyorker.com/onlin.....tform.html

    I think this sort of looniness should be taken more seriously– just consider what these folks are saying in private if what they’re saying in public is flat-out nuts.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    BTW, Loudermilk? More like STFUmilk, amirite?

  4. 4
    feebog says:

    Flat tax huh? Same old stupid party, same old stupid ideas.

  5. 5
    jefft452 says:

    “who would be administering these replacement tax schemes?”

    google “tax farming”

  6. 6
    LAllen5589 says:

    I am an expatriate from another Deep Southern state living in Georgia 7th. Have you looked at Collins/ Hice race in Georgia 10th?

  7. 7
    LAllen5589 says:

    I am an expatriate from another Deep Southern state living in Georgia 7th. Have you looked at Collins/ Hice race in Georgia 10th?

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Sadly people like the flat tax but it is easier for them to understand than the tax regs are now, and because it has never happened. Now proponents can make shit up without having a real world example to point to (or run away from) with no consequences.

    Unfortunately, for them victims that fall for this BS don’t understand that since a flat tax only really benefits the wealthy. Basically 99% of people are likely to get royally screwed – which counts pretty much everyone in Georgia except about 20-30 people living in Buckhead or some other equally wealthy enclave. A dark fantasy of mine is that people in Georgia, Alabama, and other states in Red State America who are so enamored with this live in the flat tax “paradise” for a few years so that we can all see how it really works.

  9. 9
    Russ says:

    who would be administering these replacement tax schemes?

    Whoa Whoa. Slow down buddy, I got to get elected first, we can deal with the details later………….

  10. 10
    SFAW says:

    Actually, I can sorta get behind his proposal to abolish the IRS – with certain modifications to certain policies and practices in parts of the USofA:
    1) Flat tax of 100 percent for Republicans, TeaBaggers, and alleged-Independents-who-are-really-Rethugs-but-too-chickenshit-to-declare-a-party (or in their case, Partei)
    2) The Government will give you back what you need to subsist, but no more, because Red States have been fucking slackers and drags on the Country
    3) If you want more than subsistence, then you need to work for it, doing things that the Country actually needs, rather than the welfare-like jobs you’ve been “doing”
    4) You should be happy with bare-subsistence income, because that’s how people on welfare are, according to you
    5) If you want to get more money, stop being a drag on this Country, stop trying to destroy it, stop electing morons like Louie “SMIC” Gohmert, Darrell “GTA-Infinity” Issa, and the rest of their ilk. This Country only rewards stupidity when YOU assholes are running it.

    If you’re not willing to do what it takes to rebuild the Country, to STOP DESTROYING IT, then STFU and be happy that you’re given enough to survive on. And maybe you assholes will eventually realize – probably in about 10 years, if we’re lucky – that poor people don’t like being poor, that there are about 3 billion things worse in this world than helping people who need it, and that the super-rich – with only a few exceptions – ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS.

    Oh yeah, one last thing: doing things to help reduce income inequality DOES NOT MEAN THOSE THINGS WILL PREVENT YOU FROM BECOMING RICH SOMEDAY, nor will it TURN YOU FROM BEING EXTREMELY RICH INTO BEING POOR.

    Damn, my voice is tired from the shouting.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @LAllen5589:

    I also live in GA-07, and I guess we’re in for another couple of years of Rob Woodall. I’m not impressed by Thomas Wight, his Dem opponent, although of course I’ll vote for him in November.

    But I’ve been supporting and volunteering for Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter for several months now, and as Zaid says, the recent polls are pretty encouraging.

  12. 12
    Riggsveda says:

    When I was a kid in the late 60’s, one of the ways some friends and I amused ourselves after school was to call the John Birch message line to see what crazy bullshit they were saying that day. Those ideas were totally marginal back then; most people hadn’t even heard of them, let alone known what the Society was. When I see things like Loudermilk’s flyer, it feels as if I just stepped out of a time machine. Who could have imagined one day this outfit of cranks would morph into one of the two main political parties, or that once-fairly-normal people would be buying into the same ideas that, in saner days, were considered so goofy the media wouldn’t give them the time of day?

  13. 13
    Botsplainer says:

    The Fairy Tax would be ostensibly administered by the taxing authorities in each state, thus wingnut states could simply nullify by refusing to submit collections.

    It is secession in all but name.

    The other fun part is an elaborate scheme of “floor” benefits to be paid out to taxpayers below a poverty line, together with a question as to whether the break even point is 23 or 30 percent. Even better, no Fairy Tax proponent has come up with an answer as to what it does to the new manufacture of goods, new constructions or renovations. I think the theory is that like trickle down, the benefit will magically flow, until the entire country looks the the dumpiest Mississippi backwaters in 1931.

  14. 14
    Keith G says:

    Have fairies administer the nation’s taxes, eh?

    Yutsy is already on the case. Loudermilk should be careful what he proposes as we fairies have very strong mojo.

  15. 15
    Keith G says:

    Have fairies administer the nation’s taxes, eh?

    Yutsy is already on the case. Loudermilk should be careful what he proposes as we fairies have very strong mojo.

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Riggsveda: Yup, the crazies are out and about and being, well, utterly crazy. Totally detached from any sense of reality at all, living in a fantasy land that J.R.R Tolkien would reject as too out there.

  17. 17

    who would be administering these replacement tax schemes?

    The official answer from tax nuts is ‘The post office.’ No, that doesn’t make any sense, but it’s what they believe. There are two parts to their desire for a flat tax. First, of course, they’re sure that a progressive income tax punishes them personally, and they resent paying taxes on a gut level. The second part, invisible to sane people, is a paranoid belief that the government is full of unaccountable faceless bureaucrats who draw paychecks off public money and have no purpose but to make life difficult for regular people.

    This comes up a lot with the crazies. They think most of the government are these oppressive bureaucrats and complicated regulations exist only because these bureaucrats enjoy cruelly toying with you. Growing up in Kentucky, I heard a fair amount of this. You don’t hear it in public for the same reason we hardly ever say we want to protect whales from extinction. It’s just obvious to them, an assumption of all their actions.

  18. 18
    RSA says:

    @Botsplainer:

    It is secession in all but name.

    I also noticed that nothing Loudermilk says would look out of place on a neo-Confederate flier.

  19. 19
    Cervantes says:

    I don’t know of any mainstream, electable Democrats running on abolishing prisons and jailing bankers, or whatever the equivalent to all this would be.

    How do you simultaneously abolish prisons and incarcerate bankers?

  20. 20
    TG Chicago says:

    who would be administering these replacement tax schemes?

    Additionally, Loudermilk is saying that it’s the IRS “scandal” that shows the need for abolishment. The “scandal” involved tax exemptions. If his answer to that is abolishing the IRS he either wants to tax all organizations including churches, charities, etc., or he wants to stop taxing all corporations. Presumably the latter. So there would be even more revenue shortfall that would have to be made up by socking working people.

    It’s pretty amazing that rich people have had their lobbyists tinker with the tax code for decades — each putting their little loopholes in there — and now those same rich people are complaining that the tax code is too complicated. It gives one the crazy notion that these folks will say whatever is convenient in order to horde more of the nation’s wealth.

  21. 21
    tybee says:

    some very amusing races in jawja this year.

    guvna shady deal’s attempt at reelection is getting more humorous by the memo.

    perdue/kingston is pretty funny, too.
    http://luckovich.blog.ajc.com/.....-the-base/

    hope it all pans out for the sane parts of our electorate.

  22. 22
    Citizen_X says:

    @Cervantes:

    How do you simultaneously abolish prisons and incarcerate bankers?

    Forget it, he’s rolling.

  23. 23
    gnomedad says:

    While I fully understand that coming from these guys it would be a disaster, there’s actually something to be said for a flat tax. Simplicity is good, and a flat tax can be made as progressive as you like with a high personal exemption. Coupled with making it apply to ALL income, it could be an improvement.

    Shields up.

  24. 24
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Cervantes: it’s the same way you reduce tax rates and increase tax revenue, duh.

  25. 25
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Cervantes: If you’re looking for equivalent lunacy, you can hardly start with logical consistency now, can you?

  26. 26
    Ruckus says:

    @Cervantes:
    As Scamp Dog says it doesn’t have to make sense to be the exact opposite of the RWNJ. In fact it can’t make sense to be the exact opposite.

  27. 27
    Yatsuno says:

    @Keith G: And I’m not the only one…

    Actually it will go to private tax collection. Which the IRS was forced to try under Dubya. And was repealed so fast under Obama it would make your head spin.

  28. 28
    James E. Powell says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    It’s just obvious to them, an assumption of all their actions.

    It’s also common knowledge that 90% of our tax dollars goes to foreign aid and welfare.

  29. 29
    J R in WV says:

    Nice review of a small slice of GA politics, thanks Zaid.

    I pitched in some to Nunn’s campaign, although I’m a little bit leary, as her father was somewhat of a loon. I’m hoping Deal gets beat, but not planning to contribute, as there are too many races to get financially behind very many of them.

    I’m helping my congressman Nick Rahall, the dem Senatorial candidate, NatalieTennant, Ms Grimes in KY, Ron Barber in AZ (we spend a a very nice couple of months there each winter) And a few others from time to time. Most going to Tennant, she’s a very nice person, grew up on a farm, knows about hard work.

    Her R opponent for Rockefeller’s seat is a wealthy woman whose father was an indicted and pled guilty governor / congressman. She has never worked a day in her life. The first mention of anything like work in her bio is election to the WV House of Delegates, the first step in WV politics. Married to a bankster – rumor has it that he got his job days after she voted for some bill or amendment important to giant banks!

    No quid pro or anything like that, no, no. Nasty things, rumors! Never a bit of truth to them~!

    But. again, what kind(s) of dog(s) live with you? or cats? Maybe a foster dog next door?

    We have day care doggies who show up at 8:30 every morning, when their people leave for work, life is so boring on a hilltop in the woods for dogs!

  30. 30
    TG Chicago says:

    @gnomedad: Maybe it theoretically could be good, but we all know that no version that actually got brought to a vote would be anything like what you describe.

  31. 31
    Fred Fnord says:

    I’m fine with a flat tax.

    Exempt the first, say, $33k of earned income per person in the household, and the first, say, $5000 of interest income and capital gains. Tax the rest at 90%. There may need to be a little finagling at the corners (primary residence capital gains might need a little tweaking, and if we wanted to actually be fair we’d probably have to index it to local cost of living at least to some extent) but we could come up with something. There! Flat tax! Yay!

    (BTW, for those wondering, I’m in the top 10% of the country, income-wise, so a change like that would completely demolish my standard of living. But I’d put up with it, partly because it might actually be good for the country but mostly to watch the brains explode.)

    We could also do a sales tax, I’m okay with that. Exempt food, clothing, and other necessities (possibly including primary residences under some arbitrary amount in value), and the first $10,000 of spending on other things per person in the household. Tax everything else, including all purchases of investments of any kind, at 50% or so. Maybe 110%. Oh, and we don’t want people buying their yachts in international waters and then bringing them home again, so import duties are 1000%.

  32. 32
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @J R in WV:

    I pitched in some to Nunn’s campaign, although I’m a little bit leary, as her father was somewhat of a loon.

    I’m curious — genuinely — as to what makes you say that. I mean, yeah, he was and is a moderate-to-conservative Southern Democrat (as is his daughter); if he had been otherwise, he would never have been elected in this state, let alone to four terms in the Senate. And he has a nice post-Senate career as CEO of Ted Turner’s Nuclear Threat Initiative. None of which, IMHO, makes him a loon.

  33. 33
    Zaid Jilani says:

    @LAllen5589: Yes I used to live in that district when I attended UGA. Fun fact: Paul Broun is the congressman there because Democrats cross voted to elect him after his primary opponent joked about blowing up our university.

  34. 34
    evap says:

    Thanks for the GA update, Zaid. I’m a long time Atlanta resident, living in the DC temporarily, and getting my GA information from my digital subscription to the AJC. It’s great to hear from someone there in touch with politics. Do you really think Nunn and Carter have a chance? It would be fantastic if one or the other (or both!!) won, but I am skeptical. I really like Carter, in spite of the “gun” vote. He was my state representative until he quit to run for governor. I’m in John Lewis’s district, so no need to worry about that race.

    Time to go donate to Nunn and Carter again!

  35. 35
    gnomedad says:

    @TG Chicago:
    I know. I’m dreaming hallucinating about the left having their own proposal to force the right to put up or shut up.

  36. 36
    catclub says:

    There is some theory that since most government spending is relatively good on the redistribution scale, that getting government funded by regressive taxes is not such a bad thing.

    For example, spending on transit helps those who do not have cars more than the rich people who do have cars and would never take public transit

  37. 37
    Johnny Yuma says:

    From: Sonoma County, California

    To: All Sensible People in the State of Georgia

    “Best of luck in the upcoming election. You all deserve better”.

  38. 38
    Cervantes says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Same question here. I did not like Sam Nunn very much at all, but I can’t see how he qualifies as a “loon.”

  39. 39
    Cervantes says:

    @Fred Fnord: Speaking of yachts — I like the cut of your jib.

  40. 40
    Cervantes says:

    @Scamp Dog: Maybe if I had a cocktail napkin …

    @The Other Chuck: You’re right, obviously, but I wasn’t looking for “equivalent lunacy.” I was just trying to picture bankers imprisoning themselves in an imaginary (gilded) cage. Once when I was at Sheremetyevo not long after the coup against Gorbachev, the airport authorities removed a “temporary” barrier that had been there for decades — but none of the locals noticed, or, at least, they acted as if the barrier was still there. And perhaps they were right.

    @Ruckus: So true.

  41. 41
    Talentless Hack says:

    One observation I make is that people in red states are quite fond of their Interstate Highways. Now, I wonder how they would feel about shouldering the burden of paying for their maintenance out of their states’ tax budgets. My guess is, not very well. In fact, if you did away with the federal Department of Transportation and said, “states, you can do this better than we can,” you would see crumbling overpasses and highway strewn with potholes, kudzu, and trash within a few years.

    10th Amendment, indeed!

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