Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I previously blogged Bruce Bartlett's criticism of the FairTax (Bartlett Slams FairTax in WSJ (8/27/07)) in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (FairTax, Flawed Tax), including his discussion of the origins of the FairTax in the Church of Scientology. Bartlett expands on this theme in The New Republic: Fred Thompson Channels L. Ron Hubbard: Dianetics, the Tax Plan:
The basic theological tenets of the Church of Scientology are well known: a fanatical hatred for psychiatry coupled with a creation myth that involves an evil alien ruler named Xenu and his sundry galactic allies. The basic tenets of its tax policy are somewhat less familiar. But Scientologists promulgated and, at one point, heavily promoted a proposal that would replace all federal income taxes with a national retail sales tax (NRST). And the theology and tax policy aren't entirely unrelated: Xenu used phony tax inspections as a guise for destroying his enemies.
In a strange confluence, the Scientologist proposal happens to be nearly identical to one of the trendiest conservative tax proposals of the year, the so-called FairTax, which has been endorsed by John McCain and Fred Thompson, as well as second-tier presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, and Democrat Mike Gravel. Georgians John Lindner and Saxby Chambliss have introduced FairTax legislation in the House and Senate that would establish a 23% national sales tax.
But, when you mention any hint of the nexus between Scientology and the nrst--as I did briefly in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed--you'll be denounced by FairTax supporters as a smear artist. This retort, however, is simply evidence that these FairTax supporters don't know the history of their own proposal. That's too bad. Perhaps if they understood its origins in Scientology, they might have a greater appreciation for its inherent flaws.
(Hat Tip: Neil Buchanan.)