Shughart notes that the record of such punitive selective taxation has been anything but successful, hindering economic progress and failing to deliver the promised social benefits. In addition, the costs of selective taxes fall disproportionately on lower-income people, while more politically powerful interest groups benefit. At the same time, such policies are a poor way to raise funding for public services, and foster political corruption and self-serving bureaucracies accountable to no one. Indeed, policies discriminating against certain products may represent ominous trends easily extended into virtually every facet of people's lives. One can envision policies proscribing foods, sun bathing, obesity, and even books, films, and political and religious beliefs deemed "dangerous."
Part I is devoted to the political economy of selective taxation. Contributors trace the history and politics of selective excise taxes in the United States, discussing the range of products that have been subject to such taxation from the founding period to the present. Part II explains how these taxes emerge in a political marketplace with opposing pressure groups scrambling for wealth transfers in their own favor. Part III looks at taxes on specific products as well as such banning policies as Prohibition and the war on drugs. Constitutional, economic, and civil liberty issues, including civil asset forfeiture and product liability, are discussed in Part IV. With the accelerating national debate over tax reform and the downsizing of government, "Taxing Choice is "a timely and far-reaching contribution to a debate of great interest to economists, policymakers, historians, sociologists, and taxpayers in general.
Then the FairTax is for you. In the face of the outlandish American tax burden, talk-radio firebrand Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder are leading the charge to phase out our current, unfair system and enact the FairTax Plan, replacing the federal income tax and withholding system with a simple 23 percent retail sales tax on new goods and services. This dramatic revision of the current system, which would eliminate the reviled IRS, has already caught fire in the American heartland, with more than six hundred thousand taxpayers signing on in support of the plan.
As Boortz and Linder reveal in this first book on the FairTax, this radical but eminently sensible plan would end the annual national nightmare of filing income tax returns, while at the same time enlarging the federal tax base by collecting sales tax from every retail consumer in the country. The FairTax, they argue, would transform the fearsome bureaucracy of the IRS into a more transparent, accountable, and equitable tax collection system. Among other benefits, it will:Make America's tax code truly voluntary, without reducing revenueReplace today's indecipherable tax code with one simple sales taxProtect lower-income Americans by covering the tax on basic necessitiesEliminate billions of dollars in embedded taxes we don't even know we're payingBring offshore corporate dollars back into the U.S. economy
Endorsed by scores of leading economists and supported by a huge and growing grassroots movement, the FairTax Plan could revolutionize the way America pays for itself. In this straight-talking book, Neal Boortz and John Linder show you how it would work—and how you can help make it happen.