The Corner

The Fair Tax

I like the idea of consumption taxes, but I’m no Fair Taxer. Still I keep reading that the Fair Tax would “require” the repeal of the 16th Amendment. For example, the Huckabee profile in the New York Times apparently says: “For starters, it would require repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.” I got the quote from Ross’s post here. The Journal implied — but didn’t quite say — the same thing the other day.

But this isn’t true. The 16th Amendment doesn’t require an income tax (it merely permits it). And the establishment of a Fair Tax doesn’t require the abolition of the income tax either. The Fair Taxers want to repeal the 16th Amendment for fear of getting both. But that’s not the same thing as saying you if you have one, you can’t have the other.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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