letters to the editor

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2008

National sales tax isn’t such a great proposal
Proponents of the national sales tax fail to mention a few things. For example, most reputable economists who have looked at the idea come up with a tax rate of 28-32 percent, not 23 percent. And this doesn’t include the Social Security tax of 15.3 percent of wages and salaries! Bottom line, to cover the U.S. budget, the national sales tax will come out somewhere around 35 percent or more.
Who will benefit? Certainly not the poor or lower middle class, who currently pay from 7.65 percent (Social Security) to 20 percent in income taxes. Since most of their income goes to “consumables” they’ll have trouble even breaking even! Ah, but the upper middle class and the wealthy, they’ll do fine. There’s only so much you can spend on “consumables,” and the rest is not taxable, since there’s no tax on investments or buying rental property, etc.
And who will collect the tax? Businesses, which already complain about the cost of collecting state sales taxes, will see that cost double. Who will enforce the sales tax, since there is no IRS to either enforce or interpret the law? Anyone who thinks small businesses won’t give “discounts” for cash is either naive or just plain stupid. Many of them do it now, and those sales never see the sales tax books.
By the way, people who own municipal bonds will see their value drop around 20 percent as investors insist on full interest rates. Conversely, states and other local governments will see their costs of borrowing rise as they lose their tax-exempt status. Churches and other charities will see the same thing as their tax exempt status becomes irrelevant.
In a nutshell, the national sales tax sounds great, at least to the wealthy and the gullible, but for the rest of us it’s simply a tax hike in disguise!
ó John P. Burke
Flee while you can
Oh, no! Let’s hope the wild turkey roaming around near Webb Road isn’t tragically killed so that the Post can run its smashed dead photo on the front page. Remember our old friend Boo-Boo the bear, whom they introduced us to last year and then plastered his picture on the front page after his untimely and uncalled for demise.
Well, at least they haven’t given the turkey a name yet. Run away, turkey, and maybe these will be your first and last Salisbury Post photos.
ó Mark Truex