While Obama economic advisers and Congressional Democrats talk up the benefits of a VAT tax — a national sales tax that is implemented at each stage of production, and that would, in all likelihood, be implemented in addition to current income taxes instead of replacing them — the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hitting Republican congressional candidate Tim Burns for supporting… a national sales tax.
Of course, Burns wants the Fair Tax, implementing the national sales tax to replace income taxes. The Fair Tax defenders argue that it would be revenue-neutral and save everyone enormous amounts of time and energy by not having to fill out pages and pages of tax forms every April. I have my beefs with the concept, and find it ultimately unrealistic, but it’s not fair to characterize a revenue-neutral tax change as a tax hike — i.e., “we can’t afford Tim Burns.”
I have my gripes with the Fair Tax, but the DCCC is essentially criticizing Burns for suggesting something that most Democrats support. Their position is essentially that a national sales tax is bad when Republicans talk about it, but good when Democrats do.
UPDATE: Tim Burns is money-bombing today.
ANOTHER UPDATE: It’s also worth looking at the comments that the DCCC is citing in this ad; they’re not exactly full-throated advocacy of the Fair Tax:
In the interview cited by the DCCC in this ad, Tim Burns said, “I am not at this point ready to say that I am an advocate of the fair tax, straight out of the gate. Ultimately I would love to see the fair tax implemented. I’m just not sure we can go from where we are today to the Fair Tax. I just don’t know if that is practical.” (Front Lines Blog, May 2009)
Moreover, Tim Burns has reiterated that he would not support the Fair Tax in this current economic climate. In an April 9, 2010, interview with the Weekly Recorder newspaper, Tim Burns said, “I support making our tax code flatter and fairer. However, as I clearly stated in that interview, I do not think it is feasible to implement the Fair Tax at this time and would not support such a proposal.” (Weekly Recorder, April 9, 2010).