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Published: Thursday, May 23 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"No longer will there be bitter disputes between the so-called one percent and the rest of us."

A national sales tax replacing income taxes would be a huge tax increase for most Americans, and a huge cut for the 1%.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

Sales tax? Yeah, give the rich tax cuts while increasing taxes on the poor and middle class. That'll help us...

Oh, and by the way... someones' gotta collect that sales tax... and this changes absolutely nothing with regards to the current situation anyway since switching from income tax to sales tax doesnt stop the notion of tax exempt groups from existing.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

This is not the time for "knee-jerk" reactions to the I.R.S. scandal. Before taking drastic measures, we must first demand full accountablity of those in the I.R.S. who have abused citizens of the United States. We must demand full accountability of the administration that allowed those abuses to continue for more than a year. We must prosecute those who use the I.R.S. for political purposes.

After all who have participated in the I.R.S. scandal have been prosecuted, then we should look at the tax system and change it so that our economy can grow.

I agree with Frank that we need a flat tax. Whether that flat tax is levied via a national sales tax or whether it is levied as a percentage of income doesn't matter to me, but, I would prefer a national sales tax because that would encourage saving money instead of spending money. Money in a savlngs account helps the economy grow when the bank lends that money to grow businesses.

airnaut
Everett, 00

I suppose we should 'dismantle';
the Military for their scandals,
Congress [including Republicans] for their scandals,
Utah State AG John Swallow for his scandal,
etc., etc.

The IRS needs to be tweeked, and the problems fixed -- not dismantled.

Grover
Salt Lake City, UT

Yeah, dismantle government! That's the real (and really simplistic) answer! Why not just work constantly for honest and even handed government?

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

This area of the tax code is long overdue for overhaul. The law states 501(c)(4) must EXCLUSIVELY be involved social welfare activites. But since the 1950's the Treasury regulations re-interpreted "exclusive" to mean "primarily" which has come to mean up to 49.9% of activity conducted by 501(c) (4) can be political. The Citizens United decision has dramatically increased the use of this statute for political means. The Citizens United decision stated "the Government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements," however 501 (c) (4)s have provided a curtain of secrecy to the public knowing the sources supporting various political agendas. Utahns and Conservatives may see no problem with keeping large donors secret-- until/unless a hotly contested measure within UT grabs national attention and large influxes of ads etc come flowing from outside UT.

The campaign finance system in the U.S. is eroding the public's faith and trust in elections. At a minimum, disclosure should be required of those injecting large amts into campaigns.

Re:MikeRichards

You do realize that R-Darrell Issa has known about and been in contact with the investigators since July 2012.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

"This is not the time for "knee-jerk" reactions to the I.R.S. scandal. Before taking drastic measures, we must first demand full accountablity of those in the I.R.S. who have abused citizens of the United States." Agreed. We probably disagree however in that it seems pretty clear by now what top officials knew and when. However, while it appears even amongst many Republicans that these officials didn't necessarily break the law they certainly committed malfeasance in their jobs and should be held accountable. What we don't know is who at the operational or ground level started this. BTW, a number of liberal groups came under the same scrutiny as the conservative groups. The other telling feature here is that none of the major conservative or liberal players were targeted. So if it was a political tactic instigated from the top of the administration it certainly didn't match the political skills they demonstrated elsewhere in winning two general elections against all odds.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

A national sales tax alone will not raise enough revenue unless the rate is very high (say 40%-ish). This is why most countries in the world have both an income tax and a consumption tax (like a VAT or GST).

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Dismantle to GOP.

They have had enough conspiracies and bad ideas to fill many lifetimes. Dismantle them. It's not like they are proposing anything anyway. They are merely just obstructing governing to make things hard for the President.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The retail sales tax is a terrible way to finance government.

It is not equally applied to products. It is applied to the retail price paid for the product. Retail prices can vary greatly in the same town. The alternative to allowing them to vary is called price fixing.

It is not applied to all consumption. Not to business, not to charity, not to used products, not to most services, not to investments, not to speculation, not to capital gains, not to inheritances, not to foreign products.

Collecting the tax adds cost to the product and not all the tax collected is remitted to the government.

Unscrupulous people use sales tax revenue to bribe government employees by promises of relocation of the business or residence.

There are probably even more and better reasons to not use Sales Tax for government support.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The proposal for a flat tax on every sort of income without exception and without deduction in the best way to make support for the government fair and honest. And easy to collect.

Every penny of outgoing money from a business is income to somebody. If the business was required to pay an amount equal to the flat rate on every outgoing payment, then everyone is paying, the owner, the supplier, the employee, and even the foreign worker and owner no matter where they are.

No more individual tax returns.

No more tax year. The tax is paid to the government at the same time as paid to the receiver.

No more taxes on business income retained. Only the outgoing money is taxed.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

@ UltraBob
"Every penny of outgoing money from a business is income to somebody." This is patently false. If I transfer money to a bank as a temporary investment of my working capital, the money transferred to the bank is not income to anybody. If I lay down a bid (say $1 million) on the purchase of a property, my deposit is not income to anybody (because if I am not the winning bidder my money will be refunded). You would need a complicated system of rules to prevent abuses and unintended consequences resulting from this type of tax system.

Let's say I buy one airplane for $1 billion from Airbus (taking delivery in France) and your flat tax rate is 15%. Who ultimately incurs the $150 million in flat tax and why should anyone pay $150 million in tax when nobody is earning $150 million profit on the plane? What if I buy 10 planes? This type of tax system punishes capital transactions and this one reason is why we don't see it in the world.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Nice to see you back in the funny pages, Frank.

HS Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

Ahh, conservatives smell an opening and another chance to shift more capital to the weathly.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If you buy an investment from a bank the bank doesn’t sit on that money. It is paid out to others as wages, dividends, return on investments, etc. Your business would pay the flat rate on the money you give the bank. The bank would pay the flat rate on their payouts.

When you “lay down a bid” you are buying something called a “right”, your business would pay the flat rate on the money you pay out. We assume that the right has the value that you pay for it. If your bid money is returned to you is of no consequence to your business as income to the business is not taxed. If you purchase the property your business would pay the flat rate on the purchase price minus the bid money.

If you buy an airplane from an American business, your business would pay the flat rate on the amount paid. There is no tax if purchased from a foreign business, you are free to buy and sell in the foreign world as you please. If you sell the airplane, the purchaser must pay the flat rate, because you are an American business.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

I have a better idea...

Dismantle the GOP.

They haven't had much interest in actually governing for at least a decade now. Their party is already headed to the junk heap. Lets help them, shall we?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Truthseeker,

If what you say is true, then that should seal Obama's fate. Why did the Administration NOT correct errors caused by the I.R.S. when it knew about since at least July 2012?

Obama claimed that he knew nothing about the I.R.S. violating the law, but you said that Darrell Issa knew about the abuse since July 2012. Are you telling us that Republicans were privy to I.R.S. abuses and that Democrats knew nothing about those abuses? Are you telling us that Darrell Issa was the only person in America who knew about that abuse? Are you telling us that no one inside the I.R.S. knew that the I.R.S. was actively using its power against Republicans? Are you telling us that using the acing director taking the 5th Amendment against prosecution was justification for abusing the rights of Americans?

What you said shows that Obama had better resign rather than face impeachment.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

@ UltraBob

Congratulations, you have just put Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and every other US manufacturer out of business by making foreign manufactured goods cheaper than U.S. manufactured goods (by the amount of the flat tax). In addition, you have destroyed the U.S. commercial banking business by taxing (and thereby eliminating) overnight deposits from U.S. corporations.

This is the most absurd thing I've ever heard.

So you're saying, if I (and a group of investors) decide to start an small airline and buy a few $1 billion airplanes from Boeing, we have to pay a tax totaling $450 million (assuming a 15% tax rate) before we've even sold our first ticket (but if we bought the same planes from Airbus we would pay zero)? Brilliant!

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

@UltraBob

I guess the more important questions, UltraBob, are why would any foreign buyer purchase a US built airplane (from Boeing, Lockheed etc.) if it is going to cost so much more than the same plane sold by a foreign vendor, and how are you going to force foreign buyers (with no U.S presence) to collect and remit the tax to the United States when they buy form U.S. companies?

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

re:MikeRichards
I realize this is going to be a futile exercise but here goes:

You could search the internet "IRS Inspector General Report" and read the report yourself.

#1 Sometime late in 2010, IRS employees started using an "expanded" criteria which resulted in more scrutiny of conservative applications. The IG report stated: "Specifically, only first-line management approved references to the Tea Party in the BOLO listing criteria before it was implemented. As a result, inappropriate criteria remained in place for more than 18 months." In June 2011, the "Director" became aware of the expanded criteria and directed the criteria to be changed. In Jan. 2012 the employees reverted back to the "expanded" criteria. When discovered again, the Director required any BOLO changes to be approved at the executive level.

#2 The Inspector General of the Treasury launched an investigation in June-July 2012 and notified the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, R-Darrell Issa with periodic updates.

#3 WH staff became aware of the IRS investigation in 4/2013 and didn't pass the information to Obama. The IG investigation was not completed and released until 5/14/2013.

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