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Major Garrett Promotes Bush's National Sales Tax

Reported by Ellen - December 1, 2004

Major Garrett appeared on Alan Colmes' radio show last night to discuss the latest Bush "tax reform" that favors the wealthy. In the typical FOX "fair and balanced" way, his prsentation included reasons in support of Bush's proposal to scrap our current federal income tax and replace it with a national sales tax "balanced" mostly by arguments against those who disagree. Thank goodness for the callers who quickly came up with some very impressive criticisms that Garrett could not deny.

Calling the idea, "The hottest thing on the table," Garrett painted Bush as something of a visionary by saying he's "in favor of a tax reform system that's more compatible with what he calls a 21st century global economy." Why a national sales tax is more modernly, globally 21st century, Garrett never said.

Colmes immediately pointed out that a national sales tax is really a regressive tax because the poor spend a disproportionate amount of their income as compared to the wealthy. Garrett agreed that was one of the criticisms of the plan but, naturally, he was ready with a counter-argument. According to Garrett, there would be a rebate linked to the poverty rate. He also said that everyone, including Bill Gates, would get one. He also had this piece of RNC PR handy: "Proponents say (the latest variation of "some say")the payroll tax is regressive so the poor are already paying more."

Comment: Yeah, but how about telling us how much the rich are going to save in taxes under this plan?

Instead, Garrett gave this piece of misleading misinformation. "The rich always spend lavishly and right now the rich are not taxed on inherited income but if you're spending inherited income, you suddenly become part of the economy and part of the tax system so PROPONENTS SAY the rich who have inherited income and pay nothing would pay something because they're buying something."

Comment: This is such ridiculous crap that I'm surprised Colmes didn't call Garrett on it. In the first place, rich people ARE still taxed on income whether it's inherited or not. The so-called death tax that was eliminated is for estates - i.e. property. Once an heir earns income from that property - whether it be stock, real estate or whatever - the income is taxable. Garrett was either reporting something he didn't know or deliberately painting a false picture. Either way, it doesn't reflect well on him.

Secondly, his statement implies that most of rich peoples' wealth comes from inheritences, which I strongly doubt is the case.

Fortunately, Colmes went to the phones for a "quick survey from the audience." His first call was from "Steve the Trucker," a conservative regular. Steve said the tax plan was such a bad idea, "Let me count the ways." He pointed out that the percentage the rich will pay will go way down, that it would be bad for the tourism industry and that the plan would be "Tony Soprano's wet dream." Garrett did not dispute any of these points. In fact, he said he was astounded at the depth of knowledge of the callers.

A conservative not swallowing the Bush party line. It was the most heartening thing I've seen since he got re-elected.

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