Americans For Prosperity Foundation's 7th annual Defending The American Dream Summit concluded with a general session that featured amongst its slate of speakers none other than the junior U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. I was there to hear Senator Cruz speak, so I can tell you, without any equivocation, he rocked the house. Then came the part about the IRS. He spoke of the abuses committed by the agency, and offered a great solution: Abolish it. Several people in the audience (including yours truly) shouted “FairTax!” after he asked the question “How do we get it done?” in the hope he would echo what we shouted. Sadly, he answered with “a simple, fair, flat tax” instead, and that's where he lost me.
The main problem with a flat tax (among others, as shown on this great website) is the IRS actually won't be abolished. You can say the IRS itself will be gone, sure, but under a flat tax, another agency will have to replace the IRS, so it's like saying you'll abolish the IRS and replace it with another IRS. In addition, instituting a flat tax would only apply to one's personal income tax. It does nothing to address the other federal taxes so many Americans have to pay every year; the FairTax does, as it would replace not just the personal income tax, but every single federal income tax on the books. One more problem to note about a flat tax is that an inherent problem remains: we still have our income and our prosperity taxed. Under the FairTax, we keep all the money we make, are only taxed for the new items we purchase and nothing else.
I applaud Senator Cruz for wanting (and working) to put an end to the nightmare we know as the IRS*, but there is only one way for us to truly abolish it, and it is not with a flat tax. It's with the FairTax.
*The ironic thing about Senator Cruz is he happens to be, as of this date, one of the seven cosponsors of S. 122, the current FairTax bill.