Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column

October 27, 1997

By Any Other Name, A Tax Is Still A Tax
By US Representative Ron Paul
Taxes took the forefront last week on Capitol Hill, as Congress again voted to increase them, while I introduced legislation to cut taxes and signed a pledge to abolish the IRS.

A short time watching Congress makes it clear that the favorite scam on Capitol Hill is "bait-and-switch." Last week, they baited America with meager education reform, and switched it out with a tax increase.

For a long time I have supported getting the federal government completely out of the education system. Not only is there no constitutional role for the federal government in our schools, but we have very clear evidence that the federal government has decimated and crippled our system of academics.

I prefer to let parents have the control in deciding what education options are best for their kids. I introduced HR1816, which will let moms and dads claim up to $3,000 per year per child in tax credits to pay for their kids education and education-related expenses.

While my legislation is still working its way through the committee process, I signed on as an original cosponsor to a bill to let parents create special education savings accounts with tax-free interest. While this legislation was not as strong as I would have liked, I favor anything that gives parents more control over education.

But in the process of bringing the bill to the floor, the House leadership altered the legislation, adding language which, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, will increase taxes by more than a billion dollars over the next two years. The bill increases taxes by overturning a taxpayer-friendly tax court ruling on how businesses are taxed on pay-outs for employee vacation time. In short, the employer pays more taxes, the employee gets less money, and we all pay the cost in the prices at the cash register.

When I found out about this scam, I immediately took to the House floor to decry the measure and the process. When I finished speaking, another congressman, without blinking, proclaimed that this was "not a tax increase" but rather an increase in "government revenue." Calling a tax increase a method of increasing government revenue may be soothing to the politicians, but it does nothing to help the taxpayer who shoulder the burden no matter what it is called. To borrow a phrase from Shakespeare, a tax, by any other name, still costs the taxpayers their living.

Sadly, the revised measure passed, and while there might be a few people who benefit from the barely-positive portion of the bill, Congress managed to raise taxes by over a billion dollars over the next two years. And that will hurt us all.

While Congress was voting to increase taxes, I took it upon myself to draft and introduce legislation to repeal the Clinton tax increase on Social Security benefits. Back in 1993, President Clinton and his willing allies in Congress increased the taxes senior citizens pay on Social Security benefits. Republicans correctly balked and even made repealing this measure a popular part of their 1994 Contract with America. But the repeal never got off the ground.

So now, some four years after saddling seniors with this oppressive tax, I introduced the Social Security Beneficiaries Tax Reduction Act. My legislation very simply repeals the Clinton tax increase. The Clinton is bad in many ways, but especially when you realize that they force us to pay into the Social Security system, which the politicians mismanage, they dictate to us when we can retire and utilize those funds, and finally they tax those very benefits. It is essentially taxation on our taxes.

But I'm not content to stop there. I want to give all Americans big tax relief by cutting taxes significantly and across-the-board. I signed a pledge this past week to vote to abolish the IRS and the income tax. Abolishing the IRS and income tax must be immediate priorities, and I am committed to slaying these two beasts. Our people and our economy need not only a much lower level of taxation, but a lower level of government spending. If we only abolish the income tax and do nothing to cut government spending, in the long run nothing will have been gained.

While I pledge to vote to abolish the IRS and income tax at the first opportunity, I also pledge that at every step along the way, with every vote I cast, to cut government spending.

Ron Paul represents the 14th District of Texas. His office may be contacted at 203 Cannon, Washington, DC 20515.