A Journalist’s Handbook on Tax Reform

May 1, 1996

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Executive Summary Our tax system needs more than a band-aid .It needs a transplant .If we are serious about our nation’s future, we must scrap the current tax system and put in its place a system that works. Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), 4/25/95, upon introduction of the USA Tax System

In my opinion, our challenge will do no less than pull the current Income Tax Code out by its roots and throw it away so that it can never grow back .When we abolish the income tax from the books as an insurance policy I would not at all mind seeing a repeal of the 16th Amendment .To make doubly sure that the Income Tax won’t rise from the dead, and won’t ever again haunt the American people. House Ways & Means Chairman Bill Archer (R-TX) at a tax reform hearing on 6/6/95

Replacing the entire income tax with a consumption tax would be a grand experiment of applying theory to a practical application that no other country in the world has chosen to undertake. Proponents of these plans must, therefore, overcome a significant hurdle -they must show that it is worthwhile to conduct this experiment on the world’s largest and most complex economy. Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Les Samuels, 6/7/95 testimony

I believe that we must be open-minded when we consider alternative revenue systems. There are many competing ideas. No proposal has the inside track .Any final decision about restructuring our tax system is a long way off. The effort to reform the tax system will take time. It should be the subject of much careful thought and planning. We need to educate ourselves and the public about the advantages and disadvantages of our current system and of the many alternatives. We need to hear expert opinions and openly and objectively debate the issues. The public must understand the choices and knowingly signal its readiness to embrace a new system. As with all successful legislation, a new revenue system must evolve from a deliberate, ongoing exercise in education and serious thought. It cannot be a flash-in-the-pan solution -if it is, it won’t work. Congressman Sam Gibbons (D-FL) 6/7/95 testimony before House Ways & Means Congress is currently studying several alternative tax systems .Most are designed to tax consumption and encourage savings .These are signs of progress .They are a realization by our legislators that America’s tax compliance burden can be dramatically reduced without losing revenue. Excerpt from advertisement by Mobil Corporation, Time magazine,7/24/95

A taxpayers’ rebellion is brewing in America. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) in To Renew America,(pg. 213) 1995

The question is no longer whether America will get rid of its burdensome tax system; the question is, what new system should we replace it with? House Majority Leader Dick Armey, (R-TX) Summer, 1995

We welcome debate, comments, suggestions, and constructive criticism on this legislation. Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), 4/25/95, upon introduction of the USA Tax System


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