Give Amer­i­cans an in­come tax va­ca­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Where is Ron­ald Rea­gan in to­day’s GOP? A lot of Repub­li­cans evoke Rea­gan, but none has his courage, bold­ness or chutz­pah. Rea­gan was a West­ern gun­slinger as well as a politi­cian. He was Sher­iff Wy­att Earp dar­ing the bad guys to draw. Rea­gan was not afraid to ruf­fle feath­ers and put dra­matic, even rad­i­cal plans on the ta­ble. That is how he cre­ated the Rea­gan Revo­lu­tion that re­vi­tal­ized Amer­ica.

To­day’s GOP doesn’t have the same zing. It is bor­ing and pedes­trian. Pres­i­dent Obama wants to raise taxes dra­mat­i­cally. What is the GOP an­swer? “Let’s keep taxes where they are.” How pa­thetic is that?

To­day’s GOP is filled with fu­neral direc­tors re­ar­rang­ing deck chairs on the Ti­tanic. In the face of mas­sive deficit and debt, eco­nomic col­lapse, chronic un­em­ploy­ment and a mis­ery in­dex ri­val­ing the Great De­pres­sion, the GOP’s an­swer is to rec­om­mend ei­ther the sta­tus quo or tax and spend­ing cuts so small it takes a mi­cro­scope to find them.

The bold­est plan of the bunch comes from Tim Paw­lenty, who has pro­posed a flat tax that isn’t flat and doesn’t cut taxes. The me­dia calls it “bold.” Do you think “rev­enue neu­tral” is bold? Try win­ning an elec­tion with this slo­gan: “A tax plan that is rev­enue neu­tral.”

Here’s the prob­lem: Mr. Obama is a so­cial­ist who wants to raise taxes and pun­ish busi­ness own­ers; the al­ter­na­tive is the GOP, which wants to keep things where they are or nib­ble around the edges, at best. Nei­ther is the right an­swer. That puts Amer­ica in a lose-lose sce­nario.

We need the new vi­sion of a con­trar­ian — a mod­ern-day Rea­gan with a bold plan. We need a cap­i­tal­ist evan­ge­list who is not afraid to state his goal — to dra­mat­i­cally and rad­i­cally cut taxes to en­cour­age en­trepreneur­ship and spark an eco­nomic boom.

With Amer­ica fac­ing eco­nomic Ar­maged­don, leav­ing taxes where they are just isn’t enough. “Rev­enue neu­tral” is not go­ing to ex­cite any­one, and it’s not go­ing to re­verse the eco­nomic slide both par­ties have put us in.

As a true fis­cal con­ser­va­tive, a Rea­gan Lib­er­tar­ian, let me out­line a game-chang­ing, con­ver­sa­tion-chang­ing tax plan.

Rea­gan boldly cut top tax rates from the 70 per­cent range to 28 per­cent, driv­ing the Rea­gan Revo­lu­tion, which cre­ated 20 mil­lion jobs and turned Jimmy Carter’s bust into a boom, cre­at­ing the great­est eco­nomic ex­pan­sion in world his­tory. Eco­nomic growth filled tax cof­fers as never be­fore.

The cur­rent Obama Great Re­pres­sion is even worse than the Jimmy Carter malaise. It re­quires even bolder ac­tion. It re­quires po­lit­i­cal lead­ers who are not afraid of their own shadow. I hope the GOP is tak­ing notes. Here is Rea­gan on steroids: Cre­ate a one-year in­come-tax va­ca­tion.

That’s right — an in­come-tax va­ca­tion. For one year, you keep 100 per­cent of what you earn. Your money be­longs to you.

Of course, lib­er­als will scream that Mr. Obama al­ready gave Amer­ica a gi­ant “tax cut.” But Mr. Obama only re­warded his vot­ers — those who pay lit­tle in­come tax in the first place. That’s not a tax cut, it’s a wel­fare check. The group he left out just hap­pens to be the eco­nomic en­gine of the U.S. econ­omy — pri­vate-sec­tor tax­pay­ers and busi­ness own­ers.

This plan aims the tax cut at the in­no­va­tors and en­trepreneurs. Cer­tainly, Mr. Obama’s so­cial­ist ca­bal will find it au­da­cious to give tax cuts to peo­ple who ac­tu­ally pay the taxes. Per­haps that’s why we have 1.9 mil­lion fewer Amer­i­cans work­ing to­day than when the pres­i­dent’s “stim­u­lus” started. This plan in­cen­tivizes the fi­nan­cial risk­tak­ers, in­vestors, pro­duc­ers and job cre­ators. This plan doesn’t just re­fill their fuel tanks — it puts rac­ing fuel into a tur­bocharger. Stand back and watch the eco­nomic ex­plo­sion when tax­pay­ers and small-busi­ness own­ers cap­i­tal­ize on a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity. They will do what all smart en­trepreneurs do with money — spend it, in­vest it and risk it to start up new busi­nesses or ex­pand old ones.

Mr. Obama and his so­cial­ist ca­bal will scream, “How can we run gov­ern­ment with­out taxes?” That ques­tion never both­ered him when he spent al­most $1 tril­lion on his stim­u­lus plan. The cost of this plan is about $1.2 tril­lion — the to­tal rev­enue from Amer­i­cans’ an­nual in­come taxes. Give or take a few dol­lars, it’s the same amount Mr. Obama wasted on his stim­u­lus plan to nowhere. The dif­fer­ence is that the pres­i­dent’s tril­lion dol­lars cre­ated noth­ing, in­spired no one and added $1 tril­lion in debt for our chil­dren to pay.

Des­per­ate times call for outof-the-box think­ing. Al­low­ing peo­ple to keep 100 per­cent of their in­come for one year is the jump-start the econ­omy des­per­ately needs. Sim­ply put, tax­pay­ers will be so ex­cited they will be­gin an in­vest­ing spree that will cre­ate mil­lions of jobs and ul­ti­mately in­crease tax rev­enues. If crit­ics are wor­ried about the cost, they should find cor­re­spond­ing spend­ing cuts.

Note to the GOP: That is how you change the con­ver­sa­tion. That is how you use bold­ness and courage to turn a his­toric bust into a boom. That is how you in­spire vot­ers. Rea­gan gave us the great­est tax cut in his­tory to save us from Mr. Carter. To­day we need to cut taxes to zero to save Amer­ica from Mr. Obama. An in­come-tax va­ca­tion would be the start of a re­bel­lion to save cap­i­tal­ism and take back our coun­try.

I can feel Rea­gan look­ing down from above and smil­ing.

Wayne Al­lyn Root is the au­thor of “The Con­science of a Lib­er­tar­ian: Em­pow­er­ing the Cit­i­zen Revo­lu­tion With God, Guns, Gold, Gam­bling & Tax Cuts” (Wi­ley, 2009).

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