The Attempted Assassination of the FairTax

     Immediately after the Iowa Straw Poll last August, the noted and respected journalist George Will referred to the FairTax believers who supported Mike Huckabee as “those FairTax people.”

     He made it sound as if the people who helped Huckabee finish an unexpected second place among Republican presidential contenders were politically challenged, unfit to associate with the political elites.

     Jay Bookman, a columnist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, referred to the FairTax believers in his editorial on Dec. 23, 2007, as a “cult.” He called it “Huckabee’s Fantasy FairTax” as Huckabee was surging in the unreliable presidential polls leading up to the Iowa caucuses held on January 3.

     For those who may just now be waking up from New Year’s Eve, Mike Huckabee won the Republican Caucus in Iowa by a convincing margin.

     The FairTax (HR25 in the U.S. House and S1025 in the U.S. Senate) is a federal retail sales tax that replaces the entire federal income and Social Security tax systems, including personal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security/Medicare, self-employment and corporate taxes.

     Congressman John Linder of Georgia, the original sponsor of the Fair Tax legislation and co-author with Neal Boortz of “The FairTax Book,” has at times endured snickers from his colleagues in the House of Representatives, because of his unrelenting fervor for the FairTax as a replacement for the current tax code from hell.

     Maybe maintaining the status quo is a genetic disorder or an acquired intellectual defect. Maybe it is this phenomenon that some liberals deny called “media bias,” or maybe it is just plain ignorance of the facts and the refusal to learn them. Oops! I mean being “uninformed” of the facts, since the word “ignorance” could not possibly be applicable to the political elites.

     Because of George Will’s history of writing thoughtful and credible opinion articles, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that his comment was just a slip of the tongue. This may have been motivated by his acquired skepticism of any dramatic changes being possible in the halls of Congress. Personally, I hope this was indeed the case, because I would miss George’s political insight if he were forced him to take a Don Imus-like sabbatical.

     On the other hand, Bookman clearly displayed his ability for misinformation and factual inaccuracies, too many to spend valuable time and space refuting. Anyone familiar with the facts of the FairTax can peruse his attempted assassination of the FairTax for himself. One would also note that pure media bias could hardly be an excuse.

     If Huckabee’s success continues, the greater the attempts will be to derail him by the liberal opposition, the Republican establishment and, naturally, his Republican presidential rivals.

     The FairTax is the biggest cure for our tax code insanity on the political table. Mike Huckabee’s courageous embrace of the idea has heightened interest in it by many, and attracted contempt against it by many more. Since death to the FairTax has not been achieved swiftly by skepticism, denial or distortion, then we can expect repeated attempts to kill the FairTax by a thousand cuts.

     Fortunately, there are millions of believers in the FairTax, and they have been around much longer than the current presidential race. It is a legitimate movement in this country that is based on solid economics and analysis. The real cult consists of people who are skeptical of dramatic changes, and those who are content with allowing this country to drift into economic mediocrity.    

     Bookman says, “The FairTax, like other cults, plays its followers for suckers.” Sorry, you missed.

     Those FairTax people are still standing, and I’m one of them!

© 2008 North Star Writers Group. Used with permission.

Herman Cain is the National Chairman of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., and currently is CEO and president of T.H.E. New Voice, Inc., a business and leadership consulting company.