Our next presidential candidate to be featured in our series of interviews is Ron Paul, a Republican and Texas Representative.

Here are his unedited answers to my six questions:

1. What’s the single most important tax issue facing Americans today?

Simply put, taxes are too high.

2. If you could only make one “quick fix” in terms of an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever – what would it be?

I would eliminate the income tax.

3. Which is a more egregious tax on the American public: the AMT or the federal estate tax?

It depends on your income level and personal situation. Both should be eliminated.

4. It has been suggested that the IRS should be eliminated. Do you believe that this makes sense, and if you do, what would you establish in its place?

I have advocated eliminating the IRS for my entire political career. The IRS could be replaced with a flat tax or national sales tax, although any consumption tax must be coupled with prompt repeal of the 16th amendment.

5. Do you think that significant tax cuts are possible considering the current state of the economy, specifically the escalating cost of the war in Iraq?

All tax cuts must be paid for with cuts in spending. I would start by changing our interventionist foreign policy, in which we spend hundreds of billions of dollars policing the world, fighting war and subsidizing the security of other wealthy nations. By changing our foreign policy, we can cut taxes and address the burgeoning problem of exploding entitlement spending.

6. And just for fun, if Uncle Sam handed you a huge refund check right now, what would you do with it?

I would buy gold.

Thanks, Congressman!

For more information on Representative Paul’s policies, visit his website.

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Author

Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.

Comments

  1. RICHARD L CAMPBELL Reply

    A flat tax would benefit only the high income payers. They do not pay a fair share now. A national sales tax would be even worse as people who must spend every penny of their income to exist would bear the brunt. All the people who have large sums of money to save would pay nothing on the bulk of their income.

  2. Jamie Friedman Reply

    10% (or less) of the population supports the other 90% in this country, and you’re saying they don’t pay enough?? I pay as much tax as 4 average families make a year i this country, so I can pay for all the criminals in jail and all the lazy dumb asses who want to stay on Welfare. How about the top 10% just leaves the country and we’ll see what happens to the other 90%.

  3. If the greediest 10% left the country, then that would leave more opportunities for the rest of us who work hard and don’t complain, as well as (according to Jamie) 90% of the GDP back in circulation, for new distribution.

    So….Lead the way out, Jamie. Enjoy your next country!

  4. Richard Campbell Reply

    Jamie,
    It is easy to see by your use of expletives that you are a ditto head Republican. If the top 10% of tax payers paid their fair share the rate would
    be 65%. That is the amount of the total income in the US that goes to yhe top 10%. But I can see that you are inane and will not see this as fact.

  5. Richard,
    Can’t someone express their opinion without name calling?

    Also whether Jamie is a republican or a democrat is irrelevant. I imagine there are many republicans and democrats who pay plenty of taxes and would prefer not to pay more than they do already. As for the use of expletives I wouldn’t limit that to one party either.

    Finally, the percentages that you threw out as facts would you be so kind to provide the rest of us a cite or some support so that we don’t fall into that “other” category that you mentioned if we do not see your statments as “facts”?

    Thanks Richard!

  6. Quint Langstaff Reply

    Everyone,

    The people who bear the bulk of taxes are the middle class. The rich jump through loop holes, and those below the poverty line pay almost nothing, if anything at all. A flat tax would have no loop wholes. You pay 10% of what you earn in a year, period. This way taxes wouldn’t need to rise because everyone would actually be paying something to the government. Also, everyone is paying the same thing proportionally to one another, and I think that is as equal as it can be.

  7. Quint –
    The problem is that there is no “perfect” flat tax. When you say “pay 10% of what you earn in a year” – meaning tax earned income – you’re proposing what Forbes did during his presidential run. The problem? The rich who rely on interest and dividends and not wages wouldn’t pay anything under that system.
    So, some folks say “tax it all” – but then you run into the problem of the double tax from corporations (as it exists now, so that’s no better).
    While a flat tax seems like a good idea, it is not equitable and once exemptions and deductions are created to make it seem equitable, it will be as complicated as our system is now. Remember, the Tax Code didn’t start out as big as it is now… that took a lot of help from Congress and special interest groups!

  8. Syn Holliday Reply

    Why is anyone who is successful considered “greedy” by the less successful? How un-American! This isn’t a communist system. A significant aspect of the American Dream is being blessed with the opportunity to “shoot for the stars.” Stratification is a necessary outcome of the American system. Are these bozo poor people actually expecting the successful to just give up their rightly-earned finances? What a slap in the face to the free market system. Whether I am poor, middle-class, or rich, I wouldn’t want anyone telling me what I need to do with my after-tax income. What I chosoe to do with it is my own right. “Yeah, you were successful, but now we’re going to ask you to give most of it back, so that you’ll be equal with us.” What a croq.

  9. Commentor Jamie said, “How about the top 10% just leaves the country and we’ll see what happens to the other 90%.”

    I have been looking in to this. It looks like some payments (or business investments) can be made in many countries so that permanent residency will be granted.

    I have concluded that it is actually much easier than moving countries. The plan for recovery from oppressive taxation:
    1) pay off all debt, including house car credit card, etc.
    2) get enough cash in relatively safe investments to cover household expenses – food, utility, property tax, new roof, etc. This may be $25K depending on property tax.
    3) Become part-time employee with organization that will pay medical benefits. Look to earn around $10K and have paid medical.
    4) File for all available welfare – food stamps, school lunch.
    5) File tax forms of income of $35K.

    If you need more money, do some under the table work – landscape, home repair, financial planning – whatever skills you have.
    People are quietly doing this, and living their lives when and how they desire.

    Debt is a noose. Escape from debt, and you can choose your life. When income taxes are raised to support socialized medicine, we won’t be taxed more because we appear to be in poverty while living well. When socialized medicine is implemented we can even quit the part-time job that provided medical benefits. It is our mind, our body, and our efforts when we trade time for money. Trade wisely!

  10. Syn Holliday Reply

    I’m not sure I’m getting it. If we all pay 10%, how is that an advantage to the rich? The more money you make, the more tax you pay. The less money you make, the less tax you pay. And it’s all proportional. How is that unfair? If you make more gross income, it’s only fair that you SHOULD have more after-tax income.

  11. Cutting spending is what’s important. The debate over flat taxes or national sales taxes is not the big issue. The size of the government and continued government interference in our lives and our economy is the problem. When you deviate from an agreement that is set in place to assure a group’s survival, you create problems. That group is the United States of Ameriaca, and that agreement is the Constitution. It’s been violated, and here we are today. Yes, Ron Paul feels like the income tax should be replaced by something, but it’s not the big issue.

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