Opinion Pieces

America Needs the Fair Tax

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Washington, May 9, 2016 | comments
When I opened my first pharmacy some twenty-eight years ago, all I asked for was a level playing field and a fair shot at success.  As a “little guy,” I could not afford lawyers or accountants to help me through those critical starting years.  For several years, I could not even afford to pay myself!   

In the years since I have achieved the American Dream – starting from nothing, building a successful business and a loving family, and now representing where I was born and bred in the United States Congress. Today, however, the playing field is increasingly stacked against the little guy.  

Nowhere is the all too cozy relationship between big business and big government more on display than our overly burdensome and complex tax code.  As a small business owner, I’ve seen it firsthand which is why my first act in Congress was to cosponsor the Fair Tax.   

The Fair Tax would shutter the IRS, scrap the tax code, and implement that kind of pro-growth tax reform that will serve as a shot in the arm for America’s job creators.   

The average American spends thirteen hours, more than half a day, complying with the American tax code. For small businesses, that number balloons to eighty hours. Hardworking American families and America’s job creators deserve better.     

This time commitment is not without cost.  The National Taxpayers Union Foundation found tax compliance cost the economy $233.8 billion in productivity and out-of-pocket expenses like software and tax preparation assistance cost $31.7 billion. Combined, an estimated $202.1 billion and 6.1 billion hours in labor were lost last year complying with our overly onerous tax code.    

These numbers are shocking and unacceptable. The solution?  Scrap America’s current tax code and put in place a Fair Tax.    

Originally introduced in 1999 by a fellow Georgian and great statesman, former Georgia Congressman John Linder, the Fair Tax is the leading tax reform movement in the country. The legislation would shutter the IRS, scrap the tax code, and implement a pro-growth national consumption tax that would reward hard work and savings.    

The Fair Tax would render the Internal Revenue Service obsolete by eliminating all personal and corporate income taxes, the Death Tax, gift taxes, and the payroll tax. With the outrages that have come to light in recent years, it’s clear we cannot allow this politically motivated government organization the ability to interfere with the paychecks of citizens across the nation. I believe eliminating the IRS is one of the best moves we can make to empower all Americans to achieve the American Dream, just as I have.   

This year, Americans will pay $3.3 trillion in taxes to the federal government. Combined with state and local taxes, Americans will spend more on taxes than food, housing, and clothing combined.   

To make America competitive, we need a tax code that rewards hard work and savings.  To put America back to work, we need the Fair Tax.      

Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter represents Georgia’s 1st district, serving in his first term since 2015.  He is a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee as well as the Committees on Homeland Security and Oversight and Government Reform.  As the only pharmacist serving in Congress and owner of Carter’s Pharmacy, Inc., Buddy is the co-chair of the Community Pharmacy Caucus.  Prior to Congress, he also served as the Mayor of Pooler, Georgia and in the Georgia General Assembly. 
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