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DeSantis on Taxes … and the Deceptive Trump Attack Ad

DeSantis on Taxes … and the Deceptive Trump Attack Ad

Even before Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his presidential campaign, a group associated with President Trump began airing attack ads against the Governor.  That is a bit unusual, to say the least.  It clearly indicated that Trump was nervous about DeSantis.

What is more important to understand is the content of the ad itself.  To the tune of “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” the ad claimed that DeSantis was a big tax advocate – noting that he had voted to create a National Sales Tax.

According to the ad, the National Sales Tax would increase the cost of virtually everything people buy.  That is true, BUT … there is a key part of the DeSantis proposal that the Trump folks “forgot” to mention.  The National Sales Tax proposal would actually lessen the tax burden on the American people because (and this is what the Trump ad left out) … it would abolish the Income Tax.  That’s right.  No more Income Tax.  No more Internal Revenue Services.  No more paycheck withholding.  No more audits.  No more seizure of bank accounts and personal property.  

The National Sales Tax means no more debate over who is paying their fair share of taxes – and who is not.  It would mean an end to all those legal loopholes for folks who can afford to take advantage of them.  No more using the income tax codes to reward or punish people or organizations on the basis of political views.  

I have long advocated a National Sales Tax for the aforementioned reasons – and a few more.

A sales tax tends to be regressive – impacting hardest on those with the least financial resources.  To adjust for that, the National Sales Tax would be slightly progressive – meaning a higher tax rate on luxury items and no national tax on the basic household necessities, such as food and medicine.

This means that a person’s tax would relate directly to their wealth – their ability to buy stuff.  In a sense, the National Sales Tax would take the place of the wealth tax that leftwingers like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren keep proposing.

We already have the collection system in place and operating.  It is those who provide the goods and services that we purchase – from the grocery store to the law firm.  Businesses already serve as the collection point for taxes – both current sales taxes and withheld income taxes.  

The IRS, as we know it today, would dissolve into a much smaller agency within the Department of the Treasury.  The Agency’s oversight and enforcement responsibilities would only involve the businesses collecting taxes on behalf of the government.  And even this is already part of the national tax collection process.  Basically, they would make sure that taxes are properly collected and passed on to the government.  It is the same oversight they perform in conjunction with the collection of income tax.  What systems are already in place.

Through a National Sales Tax, every person would be able to adjust their tax liability by what and how much they purchase.  It would significantly lower the overall tax burden on the average American.  What we pay to Uncle Sam would no longer be confiscatory.  On the other hand, it would hit hardest on the wealthiest – something the class war progressives – such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — should like.

There is an extremely important secondary provision in establishing a National Sales Tax.  We must pass a constitutional amendment abolishing and outlawing the income tax.  We cannot just suspend it legislatively.  The way Washington works, once we have a National Sales Tax, the members of Congress would eventually want to get more money from us by legislatively reinstating the income tax, and that is the worst of all worlds — a National Sales Tax AND an income tax.  

Weeeell … if the National Sales Tax is such a damn good idea, why is it not happening?

The opposition comes from the folks who run America – our ruling class.  The lawyers.  And a lot of those lawyers are … tax lawyers.  They are the folks who have designed our current tax system to be a legal bonanza for themselves.  They are the folks who have created the maze of loopholes that only they know how to traverse.  Then there are all those tax accountants and accounting firms – from TurboTax (for you and me) to the corporate powerhouse, Deloitte (which has annual revenues of $60 billion).

Not only does the National Sales Tax fail to get the attention of most folks in Washington, it is almost never even mentioned or debated.  That may be because what little polling there is on the subject shows widespread support among those who understand what a National Sales Tax is and how it works to their financial benefit.

The politicians want “we the people” to be ignorant on the subject of a National Sales Tax.  Trump’s anti-DeSantis ad shows how such ignorance is exploited and promoted.  

Personally, I believe that every candidate for federal office – and every questionnaire they receive to ascertain their positions on issues – should include a question about a National Sales Tax.  I also wish that our so-called public-interest tax-watchdog organizations would promote the National Sales Tax – but then again, they are also beneficiaries of the current system.

I do not expect to see any serious efforts to address a National Sales Tax – but kudos to DeSantis for trying.  And shame on Trump for a very deceptive ad against a fellow Republican.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

8 Comments

  1. Randy Moore

    Thanks Larry – I was wondering if ANYBODY would have the stones to tell the truth about this. This attack at is a straight-up lie as are many of his outbursts. Attacking fellow Republicans is what little donnie does best. Sick and tired of his 8-yr old mentality pitching a fit over anything and everything about Ron Desantis. Little donnie is a relic of the past – his childish tantrums prove that he doesn’t belong in the Oval Office again. We have a deep Republican bench that is already in the process of straightening out the Democrat destruction of the USA

    • tom

      I agree with your views on Trump! Do you believe that Trump lost the 2020 election fair and square?

  2. Tom

    I agree Larry. I do believe we should also include medical supplies as well. I seem to recall medical supplies such as catheters got taxed years ago.

    will add that another way of generating huge wealth for the government would be to tax each stock exchange “sell order” a dollar. Most of the rich use businesses that buy and sell stock at lighting speed using computers. Average Toms like me might have to pay 50 – 100 dollars per year but the big rich guys would pay much more for all of their computer trades.

    Why is it, we have sales tax on so many things but nobody ever mentions a sales tax on stocks and corporate bonds???

    • larry Horist

      Tom … if we had the magic wand to reform taxing, I would also abolish the property tax. That is the most unfair and politicized taxes of all. It is a sales tax that gets applied over and over — and has no relationship to the economic benefit to the owner. Many long time home owners get forced out of their homes because of the increase in arbitrary valuation. The value of real estate is only recognized when it is sold. I should be more like capital gains taxes. But so much to fix and so little time…lol.

  3. frank stetson

    Deceptive Trump ads? Shocking? (only if you want DeSantis but will vote Trump in a pinch…..) The rest of us are not shocked in the least, tiniest, bit. We just like to watch :>) Or maybe hear what Greene thinks about it…..

    Government needs revenues to be able to govern the country. Always will be true.

    There are lots of ways to tax: progressive, regressive, sales, flat, income, tolls, value, whatever. They all share a common trait: None is perfect and they all pick winners and losers. The question will always be: is it fair enough? Almost any one of the different tax schemas can be made fair.

    Simpletons believe simple answers are the best, and in the case of taxes, nothing can be further from the truth. How can something that is inherently unfair, inherently complex, ever be made fair and simple. Impossible, yet they try.

    The National Sales Tax is the darling of the simplicity crowd after it finally dawned that they couldn’t pass the flat tax. It’s been brought to Congress every year, from Georgia, for the past forever years, and shot down every year. Why? Because it sucks, it is not an improvement. At least in the current form.

    Flat taxers, National Sales Taxers, all come at you with dreams of simplicity, increased fairness, and a reduced or even non-existent IRS. Magically, no one will scam the system. Remember, these are the same guys who brought you the Trump Tax Cuts which made it fairer to be rich or a business, and less fair to be a liberal living in the northeast. We got skewered. They are in no position to know fair. But they know scamming. And if you have a NST, then the scam money is in not charging tax, known as selling off the books. You buy n sell off the books while selling enough on-the-books to avoid detection. Not tough, today we call that Florida because Florida leads the nation in identity theft-based tax return fraud. They have a head start.

    Do we agree anywhere? We agree that the tax code is cumbersome, complex, full of loopholes, overweight, and in drastic need of simplification. We agree that taxes should be as fair as possible to as many demographics as possible.

    I contend the Income Tax is the fairest around, and the Flat Tax, Consumption Tax, or National Sales Tax are inherently regressive and therefore unfair to most US citizens except the rich. Attempting to add further taxes, deductions, credits, to mitigate unfairness is just lipstick on a pig and not different from what’s attempted in the progressive income tax. Just that the NST is not as fair from the get-go and would take far more tweaks than just a simple, yet undefined, luxury tax. You couldn’t even get close to fair with that.

    There is no technical reason, or mathematical reason, that a National Sales Tax would be less cumbersome with puts n takes, than an Income Tax version. It’s the puts n takes that need to be simplified, not necessary the basic tax schema. I can build a NST with just as many credits, deductions, etc. just like I can build an Income Tax just as simple as the NST envisions.

    A progressive income tax attempts to add fairness by taxing upper brackets at a higher rate while simultaneously assuring that upper brackets retain a great amount of discretionary dollars than the lower brackets. That seems fairer to me.

  4. Mike f

    Larry, while trump may have left out details regarding the national sales tax that would make it slightly more palatable-the bottom line is it is a ridiculous proposal (which I have attempted to explain to you in the past, but you are too dense to understand-I know, you are a republican so that follows). You understand that sales taxes are inherently regressive-kudos for that. And you say that the problem will be fixed by reducing or eliminating tax on necessities. Of course, to bring in enough money to fund the government that requires a significant increase to taxes on other purchases. That raises prices, which causes people to purchase less of those items, which causes taxes on those (or other) items to increase. Because people are buying fewer of these items, manufacturers reduce production, eliminate jobs and the country goes into recession or depression. Terrible idea, but I know you can’t grasp that..

    • larry Horist

      Mikef … I can always count on your to represent ignorance. You respond with a few shallow assumptions as to how a National Sales Tax would work. You seem to have missed the point that people would no longer be paying income taxes — giving them a lot more purchasing power. You seem to not know that we have sales taxes on virtually everything we purchase — without the imaginary problems you suggest. You note that the tax would add to the cost of goods and services, but fail to understand that corporations would not be paying income taxes — another saving for the consumer. The bottom line … with a NST virtually every American would be paying LESS in total taxes to Uncle Sam than they are now. And think of all the productive time not being wasted in maintaining records … filing … and dealing with audits. This of the enormous saving in our federal budget without the current IRS. You really need to study an issue before you shoot off you “mouth” with insults and ignorant opinions.

  5. frank stetson

    The problem with all tax formulas isn’t so much the basic schema, but all the puts n takes we put on top and never take off. We should set a series of metrics that drives our tax code formulas. Like maybe a basic complexity goal that a 2-year grad can finish their tax forms in 45 minutes, 100% accuracy, without any software aps, to determine tax complexity appropriateness. Or something like that. And a top end of only xx types of deductions, yy types of credits, etc. And time limits on each for being re-examined for extension or removal. This is not a perfect metric system, but IMO, we need metrics to drive the process, not politics.

    The national sales tax, in a pure sense, is a regressive tax that overtaxes lesser incomes and under-taxes the upper brackets. Suggesting a layer of luxury tax is just lipstick on a pig and without meat on the bones, who knows what is and is not considered luxury — winners and losers. Means it really sucks to be in the business of selling luxury given the rich don’t have to buy any of it, ever. Plus, do you expect the rich to make the same giant-sized luxury buys every year to keep the system fair? Is that fair? We saw this, in spade, with the recent overabundance of stimulus and the unintended effect of the upper classes just banking them. They did not spend, they did not invest, they hired no one. And then a couple of years later, they dumped it all on Bidens watch causing inflation.

    The income tax is progressive attempting to be fairer to all income brackets from the get-go. It does not need tricks like a luxury tax, but one still could be applied. But even here: do you know how bad it sucks to be $1 over the line? I paid $35K once for something I was literally $1 over the line and worse yet, the entire tax went away 3 months after I filed…. Winners and losers. Like Mom used to say: “did you make money, sonny? Then suck it up buttercup, pay your fair share, take the profit, and quit whining about it.”

    The NST is estimated to be 23-30% depending on gross, net. sort of math. Larry says: “The National Sales Tax proposal would actually lessen the tax burden on the American people because (and this is what the Trump ad left out) … it would abolish the Income Tax.” OK, folks, Larry is attempting to squeeze the tax balloon and NOT have it shoot out somewhere else. IF it lessens the tax burden, it lessens the tax receipts meaning it’s just a lower tax, plain and simple. There is no magic for that and every reason not to do that. If you want less revenues, you can lower the income tax too. Larry’s logic is flawed, bad math.

    He drivels on: “No more Income Tax. No more Internal Revenue Services. No more paycheck withholding. No more audits. No more seizure of bank accounts and personal property.” Why? Is Larry so naïve to believe no one gonna cheat? What magic makes this taxation less cheat-able than income taxes? Don’t think off-the-books sales, bartering, black market and other cheat mechanisms would not be developed? Doesn’t think 30% extra profit is enough to attract criminals? Have you ever paid cash (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) to avoid sales tax at a lousy 6%?

    And his delusion continues: “The National Sales Tax means no more debate over who is paying their fair share of taxes – and who is not.” Really? Come on man, what a bunch of malarky as the luxury tax debaters hit the stage.

    “Through a National Sales Tax, every person would be able to adjust their tax liability by what and how much they purchase.”
    Boom, and there you have it, it’s a consumption tax plain and simple, and therefore Larry equates consumption with fairness as if, by magic, the rich consume more because they are rich. Eat more food, need more heat, everything they do is better therefore costs more… And he seems to feel that the poor can just say: hey, let’s save more money this month and adjust our tax liability by purchasing less (even though we spend our entire paycheck just to survive…..)

    Some ez math: guy makes $60K, average US pay. Median is $89K so he’s below the 50% mark, not rich. He consumes it all so pays $18K in tax. Today he would pay around $5K. A guy makes $240k, He doubles the other guy’s spending, and so he does not spend it all, but has $120K in discretionary dollars for luxury or investing. That means the average Joe pays it all away for basic living, and the rich guy banks 50% of his income to spend or not to spend as he can AFFORD NOT TO SPEND. Is that fair?

    Now, Larry has said: “To adjust for that, the National Sales Tax would be slightly progressive – meaning a higher tax rate on luxury items and no national tax on the basic household necessities, such as food and medicine” which relieves some of that, but the proof is in the pudding, and they never show you the pudding. Like what are the taxes paid by each of the current tax brackets under the NST schema? And really, how does everyone end up paying less and the Federal Government is not affected by taking in less revenues? So, the NST is not only regressive, but it’s a GIANT tax cut too, hidden by pretending to be more fair, when it clearly is not.

    Flat-taxers, Sales-taxers, they all tout simple solutions to complex problems pulling on your heartstrings (it’s more fair to pay based on what you spend, not what you make, and the sales tax you magically tax you less, wink-wink, nudge-nudge) to garner an emotional response.

    https://www.americanprogress.org/article/the-fair-tax-act-would-radically-restructure-the-nations-tax-system-in-favor-of-the-wealthy/

    Folks, in the end tax fairness is not based on how much you make (income), how much you consume (sales tax); tax fairness is based on how much of what you make, you have leftover —- discretionary dollars, after meeting basic needs for survival like food, shelter, and access to work. In a fair world, we give everyone the same % in discretionary dollars meaning the rich get more money to fool around with, but the same percentage as the poor guy. Like at the end of the day, everyone meets their needs and has 10% leftover. No tax system measures discretionary income as a metric for success, but the Regressive NST will fare far worse than the Progressive Income Tax

    “Not only does the National Sales Tax fail to get the attention of most folks in Washington, it is almost never even mentioned or debated. “ I believe the NST hits the floor of Congress every year, pitched by GA I think.

    Sales tax myths: I was going to go through each of Larry’s benefits, but he has issues with complexity and numbers. Suffice it to say that he’s wrong on all and every benefit he notes is, at best, a maybe for a few And every problem with the current tax formula can be imbedded in his dreamchild. Almost every one of them, it not 110% of them. IMO. the fact remains that it’s not the schema that needs to be fixed, but the complexity. IMO, we need to strip the code beyond the Reagan benchmark, and then begin to build it back up with deductions and credits that truly provide the incentives for America that we decide are important (like marriage, kids, perhaps renewable energy type stuff) or add fairness (child tax credits, etc.), but with measurements, metrics, monitoring and standard time limits for review for modification.