Romney and the VAT

posted at 9:50 am on December 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

See what happens when we take a couple of days off for the holidays?  We missed this interview with Mitt Romney talking about tax policy with the Wall Street Journal, and which may create some mild headaches for the frontrunner in the next few days.  The wide-ranging interview touched on many issues as well as campaign themes and the “vision thing,” to use a phrase that hearkens back to the first Bush presidency.  Romney wants to push a theme of reform, and in that vein talked about his ideas for comprehensive tax reform, a subject that has the possibilities for wide bipartisan support — or for political disaster, depending on what kind of reform one proposes.  He tried to stick to broad, general principles, but the WSJ pinned him down on the idea of a consumption tax:

What about his reform principles? Mr. Romney talks only in general terms. “Moving to a consumption-based system is something which is very attractive to me philosophically, but I’ve not been able to sufficiently model it out to jump on board a consumption-based tax. A flat tax, a true flat tax is also attractive to me. What I like—I mean, I like the simplification of a flat tax. I also like removing the distortion in our tax code for certain classes of investment. And the advantage of a flat tax is getting rid of some of those distortions.”

Since Mr. Romney mentioned a consumption tax, would he rule out a value-added tax?

He says he doesn’t “like the idea” of layering a VAT onto the current income tax system. But he adds that, philosophically speaking, a VAT might work as a replacement for some part of the tax code, “particularly at the corporate level,” as Paul Ryan proposed several years ago. What he doesn’t do is rule a VAT out.

Amid such generalities, it’s hard not to conclude that the candidate is trying to avoid offering any details that might become a political target. And he all but admits as much. “I happen to also recognize,” he says, “that if you go out with a tax proposal which conforms to your philosophy but it hasn’t been thoroughly analyzed, vetted, put through models and calculated in detail, that you’re gonna get hit by the demagogues in the general election.”

That also seems to explain his refusal to propose cuts in individual tax rates, except for people who make less than $200,000, which not coincidentally is also Mr. Obama’s threshold for defining “the rich.”

The VAT is political dynamite, as Romney well knows, for a number of reasons.  Europe relies on both VATs and income taxes for individuals and corporations, which has fueled government expansion and allows for easy revenue increases by tax-hiking politicians — to which we will return in a moment.  Nancy Pelosi floated the idea two years ago of an additional VAT to fund ObamaCare, which had conservatives seeing red at the time and which no doubt helped paint the midterms red in 2010, in at least some small part.

On the other hand, a number of conservatives prefer the Fair Tax as a replacement for the income tax, and the Fair Tax is arguably a version of a VAT, at least in practice.  The difference between that and Pelosi’s proposal was that Pelosi did want it layered onto the existing tax system, because she wanted a lot more revenue to fuel big-government programs like ObamaCare.  Fair Tax proponents want to eliminate the personal income tax before imposing the consumption-based Fair Tax, which sounds very similar to what Romney proposes to do, only doing so on the corporate income tax instead of the personal income tax.

Jim Pethokoukis says that conservatives should keep an open mind, as such a switch would promote the kind of job-creating investment that the US is missing now:

Yet Romney is certainly correct that the U.S. tax system should reduce the current bias against investment. Many economists on the left and right would agree that America has consumed too much and invested too little in recent years. Many studies have suggested that replacing the income tax system with a consumption tax could boost economic growth over the long-run by 5 percent or more, increasing tax revenue by 1 percent of GDP via that increased growth — not by increasing the tax burden. Some economists here at AEI like the idea of the Bradford X tax, a graduated consumption tax that eliminates investment taxes.

You can have a value-added tax that is economically efficient, pro-growth but does not have the transparency issues that Norquist and other small-government advocates worry about.  Many flat taxers, for instance, like the 19 percent Hall-Rabushka flat tax, a plan which has served as the model for many flat tax proposals. As with the X tax, businesses under a Hall-Rabushka system would deduct cash wages from the cash flow on which they calculate the VAT.

Romney is right that Ryan has proposed replacing the current corporate income tax with a business consumption tax in his Ryan Roadmap. The plan says a BCT would “enhance the international competitiveness of U.S. businesses and put the economy on solid footing to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

As long as a consumption tax is a) transparent and b) not just slapped on top of the current tax code, it is definitely worth considering as a critical way of boosingt U.S. growth.

Daniel Mitchell at Forbes says any VAT would be a disaster, and an entree to big-government financing no matter how it’s structured:

For those who are not familiar with a VAT, it is a version of a national sales tax, but imposed at every stage in the production process and embedded in the price of goods and services. Perhaps more important, it is despised by everyone who wants to limit the size of government. …

Simply stated, this is an awful tax. If it ever gets implemented in the United States, the battle will be over. America will descend to European-style stagnation, eventually leading to fiscal crisis.

Any politician that supports a VAT (or even hints at supporting a VAT) should not be allowed anywhere near the White House. That applies to Mitt Romney. And it should be the rule for Paul Ryan as well.

Mitchell offers this video from his Econ 101 series, first launched when Pelosi proposed the idea of adding a VAT:

However, this objection — as Mitchell states in the beginning of the video — is based on adding a VAT, not replacing an income tax with a VAT. Mitchell acknowledges that a VAT system “does less damage per dollar collected” than income taxes, and that replacing the income tax with a VAT would make those arguments “persuasive.”

Would it work?  Perhaps not, and be sure to watch the whole video for the shortcomings of VAT systems, but I’m not sure it’s as anathema as some people have treated this statement.  I’m open to ideas that aim at promoting capital investment and getting government out of the income stream if it can be done effectively and with stringent limitations on tinkering.


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A VAT is a major loser. As a former ex-pat, I’ve seen what it has done to commerce and industry in Europe, especially Scandinavia.
A flat tax …
(11% – 18%, depending on how many government departments are allowed to exist and what entitlements programs will be tossed)

I’d be receptive of a 10% federal sales tax, maximum and never more, in place of personal income taxes. In my opinion, if the fed can’t manage what it does on that, it means its too big and in need of extensive cuts. And there are plenty of ways the fed can be cut down to a more manageable size in line with its actual constitutionally dictated limited authority.

hawkeye54 on December 27, 2011 at 12:23 PM

While in private business, Mitt Romney used shell companies in two offshore tax havens to help eligible investors avoid paying US taxes, federal and state records show.

momoftxmomof3 on December 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

I don’t begrudge Romney for this kind of thing. This is the federal government’s fault for setting up a system that makes this type of thing necessary to turn a profit. Also, I don’t begrudge companies for outsourcing their labor. The feds and states should decrease regulation and taxes to lower the price of US labor to make us competitive and keep work in the US. Instead with taxes, workman’s comp, etc., some industries have 100-200% costs on top of wages just to hire someone.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:25 PM

I’d be receptive of a 10% federal sales tax, maximum and never more, in place of personal income taxes. In my opinion, if the fed can’t manage what it does on that, it means its too big and in need of extensive cuts. And there are plenty of ways the fed can be cut down to a more manageable size in line with its actual constitutionally dictated limited authority.

hawkeye54 on December 27, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Sure. Sounds fine, but needs a constitutional amendment.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Yep. If Romney is the nominee, better to lose in 2012 and pray that we [c]an make it to 2016.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:20 PM

A year ago, I would have considered that a shocking, insane heresy. But now I’m starting to agree with you.

It doesn’t make sense to get rid of Obama unless we can replace him with somebody better. And right now, if you examine what Romney DID (as opposed to what he SAYS), you can see that he isn’t an improvement on Obama and isn’t going to get us out of the hole that Obama has dug us into.

Aitch748 on December 27, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Once people reach a certain level of government dependence they never turn back. Look at the major cities that the Democrats have destroyed and yet they still vote Democrat. They know nothing else.

zmdavid on December 27, 2011 at 12:32 PM

I’d be receptive of a 10% federal sales tax, maximum and never more, in place of personal income taxes. In my opinion, if the fed can’t manage what it does on that, it means its too big and in need of extensive cuts. And there are plenty of ways the fed can be cut down to a more manageable size in line with its actual constitutionally dictated limited authority.

hawkeye54 on December 27, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Sure. Sounds fine, but needs a constitutional amendment.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Ah, and there’s the rub.

hawkeye54 on December 27, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Yep. If Romney is the nominee, better to lose in 2012 and pray that we [c]an make it to 2016.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:20 PM

If Obama is re-elected, the likelihood of this nation surviving in its current form to make it to 2016 is quite dim.

hawkeye54 on December 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM

If Obama is re-elected, the likelihood of this nation surviving in its current form to make it to 2016 is quite dim.

hawkeye54 on December 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM

I think that same can be said if Romney is elected, even if the date it pushed out a bit – maybe to 2020? But then the chances of averting the statist train wreck will go from “dim” to “non-existent”.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:42 PM

I smell something *really* disgusting on this thread. Gee, let’s let our hugely successful president have four more years, cause I’m too precious to vote for anyone but a true Republican, sniff sniff. Oh please, get a grip.

DumboTheAvenger on December 27, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Same with Gingrich, except even weaker on the illegal immigration and EPA front (Pelosi ad).

haner on December 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM

There are so many disaffected conservatives that won’t even consider voting for Romney (or Gingrich) that I can only imagine that the republican establishment would rather have Obama re-elected than have a true conservative take a flame thrower to this cesspool of a government (that they, in no small part, helped to create). And it really doesn’t matter how many of you “anybody but Obama” folks try to browbeat or ridicule or diminish teapartiers (for lack of a better word). There should be enough of them that either stay home or vote their conscience to turn the tide against Romney. This will serve two purposes:

- avoid the embarrassment of a Romney presidency once again being described as a conservative presidency, thereby, continuing the trend of defining conservatism down and setting the movement back many years (wasn’t Bush I and II enough?),

- finally give voice to a growing conservatism that cannot fit prescription care coverage, no child left behind, amnesty for illegals, PBS, NLRB, ethanol subsidies, romneycare….. under its tent.

If “big governemt” is to take this republic down, why should I let it be as a partial result of my vote?

As an aside, you “anybody but Obama” folks should understand that nobody needs to hear from you. Your actions are assumed, so your opinion is not needed. Much like the Black and Jewish vote, you are entirely predictable and, as a result, inconsequential.

Also, no need to use your extra time disparaging those that would vote their convictions – lest you morph into liberal land where the “right” way is without a doubt and lying and cheating is the necessary path to the right outcome.

noeastern on December 27, 2011 at 12:48 PM

I’m too precious to vote for anyone but a true Republican, sniff sniff. Oh please, get a grip.

DumboTheAvenger on December 27, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Poor indignant, baby. Do you need a tissue? I’m sure that if Michael Moore changed his registration to Republican and ran against Obama, you’d be first in line to vote for him, right? Policy matters, not party.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM

I think that same can be said if Romney is elected, even if the date it pushed out a bit – maybe to 2020?

Seems probable, but I have doubt, that if he ends up the GOP candidate, Romney will beat Obama.

hawkeye54 on December 27, 2011 at 12:54 PM

I’m sure that if Michael Moore changed his registration to Republican and ran against Obama, you’d be first in line to vote for him, right?

This election is about limiting my current president to one single term. Opting out of a vote against him because of ideological (“policy”) purity is intolerable. But that’s just me.

DumboTheAvenger on December 27, 2011 at 12:59 PM

This election is about limiting my current president to one single term. Opting out of a vote against him because of ideological (“policy”) purity is intolerable. But that’s just me.

DumboTheAvenger on December 27, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Policy preference is intolerable? Damn, too bad we have freedom in this country and you aren’t allowed to rule by diktat, eh?

Who cares who we replace Lenin with? Stalin? Sounds good to you?

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Romney and Obama for Big Government. What a tough choice to pick from…

Schadenfreude on December 27, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Poor indignant, baby. Do you need a tissue? I’m sure that if Michael Moore changed his registration to Republican and ran against Obama, you’d be first in line to vote for him, right? Policy matters, not party.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Good grief–project much? Or just can’t comprehend the point of that post? He doesn’t need a tissue–all the pouty whiners here threatening to stay home on election day need the tissues. Its frankly the few remaining adults at HotAir trying to get you simpering whiners to look a the bigger picture–and that is taking down Obama.

AttilaTheHun on December 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Now of all the things to criticize Romney for, both the real and the perceived, this interview is probably the least substantial.

During the course of the interview he’s asked about his thoughts on multiple kinds of reforms, and doesn’t specifically endorse any. Besides that though, lets talk about Romney’s specific thoughts on the VAT.

The biggest problem with the VAT, has always been that it everybody who has proposed using it so far, has proposed using it in conjunction to some sort of already existing tax. Doing it this way would eventually result in much higher taxes regardless of the rates of individual taxes, thus fueling big government spending while driving down economic prosperity.

Romney however, specifically said that he wouldn’t consider it for anybody except as a replacement for a currently existing tax. This to me is both very intelligent and very conservative for a number of reasons.

First, it is intelligent because it removes almost every problem with a VAT. Additionally, because he proposes tying it to the corporate income tax it’d tie government revenues in more closely with economic activity.

One of the biggest problems with the tax-system now, is that the bulk of government revenue is collected from money paid out from companies. There is no incentive to be friendly to businesses, because they are simply another source of revenue to squeeze dry.

A Vat however, potentially changes that. Since a VAT is more of a tax on economic activity rather than a tax of prosperity, this gives the government incentive to create an environment that is as friendly towards economic activity as possible.

Now, would it work like that, I’m not sure. On paper at least you could argue that the government has incentive to make things business friendly now, so a corporate VAT may not change anything at all.

But!

This is the sort of discussion and debate we SHOULD be having! Maybe the timing isn’t ideal for winning a primary fight, but as a country we NEED to be asking questions about our tax rates, our regulations, our entitlements. We NEED to be thinking about this sort of stuff right now, as the survival of our country very likely depends on it.

But again, he didn’t actually endorse the idea of a VAT. He was asked about his thoughts on it, so he discussed his feelings on the matter. End of story.

WolvenOne on December 27, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Aw, BS on tax reform.

The gubmint needs to get serious about taxes. With the state of modern electronics, microchips, etc., there are huge areas of taxation that can be tapped.

Have every citizen fitted with a microchip that will monitor heartbeats and breaths taken and send the totals daily to the IRS. They can then send tax bills out at the end of the year taxing all heartbeats and breaths taken. Of course, this will allow taxpayers to save on their taxes by holding their breath alot, will will lower carbon dioxide emissions. A win-win situation for all.

Another area – start taxing taxes. You owe $1,000 in income taxes? Tax that tax at 39% and simply add another $390 to your tax bill.

C’mon, people. Help me out. The gubmint needs cash and it needs it NOW. It’s about time people got over the idea that they can just “live” in this country for free. Heck, with some of the new Japanese brain scan chips, we could even tax “bad” thoughts, too.

Got be creative for a change.

Horace on December 27, 2011 at 1:12 PM

He wants a VAT, it appeals to him, and so I don’t want him.

NO federal VAT ever. It will be layered and jacked up over time, as you well know…and used to fuel federal spending and crony deals.

It’s bad even as a replacement for income tax because it punishes consumption, and helps grind down the economy and harm consumers at every level of income Coroporate VAT, btw, mean you pay. You will always pay.

As an addition it is the worst thing anybody ever thought of. It is NOT a conservative idea, it’s a federal confiscation project to fuel government control of every aspect of your life.

He’s promised only to nibble around the edges of Obamacare. Maybe he’ll use his lovely VAT to make sure you get your teeth cleaned (improperly) and don’t get your Chemo.

SarahW on December 27, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Good grief–project much? Or just can’t comprehend the point of that post? He doesn’t need a tissue–all the pouty whiners here threatening to stay home on election day need the tissues. Its frankly the few remaining adults at HotAir trying to get you simpering whiners to look a the bigger picture–and that is taking down Obama.

AttilaTheHun on December 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Nice. I love the “I’m rubber and you’re glue response”!! HAHHAHAH

Anyway, he is crying like a baby because the podunk proles won’t support who he tells them to.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 1:19 PM

It’s about as good and idea as putting your irish setter on your roof rack for a multi-state driving excursion, really. That’s what you’ll be getting with forehead.

SarahW on December 27, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Damn, too bad we have freedom in this country and you aren’t allowed to rule by diktat, eh?

Who cares who we replace Lenin with? Stalin? Sounds good to you?

Wow. My first post reaffirmed – “Get a grip”

DumboTheAvenger on December 27, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Its frankly the few remaining adults at HotAir trying to get you simpering whiners to look a the bigger picture–and that is taking down Obama.

AttilaTheHun on December 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM

“I’m the adult!” “I’m the adult!”

HAHAHAHAHAHA

Wait. Isn’t that Obama’s line?

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 1:21 PM

He’s just our version of John Kerry. The field is disgracefully weak, but asking Mitt to report for duty is a mistake.

SarahW on December 27, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Wow. My first post reaffirmed – “Get a grip”

DumboTheAvenger on December 27, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Do I have to spell it out for you? Replacing one bad president with another doesn’t make it all better just because he has an “R” after his name. But, again, I realize that you Romney supporters have a hard time actually, you know, arguing points of fact. Name calling and righteous indignation is all that you can manage.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Once again, Mitt gives the absolutely best non-answer answer. The question then isn’t “Where does Mitt stand on a VAT tax”? But rather, does he truly stand for anything at all. Anything other than just being President.

mtucker5695 on December 27, 2011 at 1:25 PM

I will repeat this

If the election is between Obama and Romney then the conservative in the race is Obama!!!

You will never catch Obama endorsing VAT ever!!!

liberal4life on December 27, 2011 at 1:26 PM

So if Romney wins the nomination, we basically get to choose between whether we should keep Vladimir Lenin in power or replace him with Joseph Stalin.

Exciting.

Spliff Menendez on December 27, 2011 at 1:29 PM

I will repeat this

If the election is between Obama and Romney then the conservative in the race is Obama!!!

You will never catch Obama endorsing VAT ever!!!

liberal4life on December 27, 2011 at 1:26 PM

When Pelosi mentioned it, that WAS Obama endorsing the VAT.

Spliff Menendez on December 27, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Do I have to spell it out for you? Replacing one bad president with another doesn’t make it all better just because he has an “R” after his name. But, again, I realize that you Romney supporters have a hard time actually, you know, arguing points of fact. Name calling and righteous indignation is all that you can manage.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Romney supporters don’t have anything to give us on why we should vote for Romney, so all they do is tell us why we shouldn’t vote for the other guy.

We are doomed.

Spliff Menendez on December 27, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Its frankly the few remaining adults at HotAir trying to get you simpering whiners to look a the bigger picture–and that is taking down Obama.

AttilaTheHun on December 27, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Actually, from the looks of things, it seems like the 12 Romney supporters here have been throwing a collective tantrum because the rest of the kids make fun of him for being a spineless douchebag with no principles.

Oh, and he’s unelectable in the general election.

You know, since that’s the default setting for Romney supporters… “insert name here” is unelectable, so vote for the giant douche over the turd sandwich!

Spliff Menendez on December 27, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Got be creative for a change.

Horace on December 27, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Tax Obama every time he opens his mouth lies.

Schadenfreude on December 27, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Actually, from the looks of things, it seems like the 12 Romney supporters here have been throwing a collective tantrum because the rest of the kids make fun of him for being a spineless douchebag with no principles.

Oh, and he’s unelectable in the general election.

You know, since that’s the default setting for Romney supporters… “insert name here” is unelectable, so vote for the giant douche over the turd sandwich!

Spliff Menendez on December 27, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Projection, projection projection. I can’t determine if you and better/red/than/dead and company actually don’t understand the concept, or if if you are purposefully trying to appear ignorant for some unknown reason. The “12 Romney supporters” have done not much more than call out the whiners for VERY obvious whining and tantrum throwing over Mitt’s obvious impending nomination. All name calling, tantrum throwing, spleen venting–and when calmly called out about it, turn around and accuse the rational ones here of DOING EXACTLY WHAT YOU SPENT THE LAST 24 HOURS DOING.

Again. Projection. Look it up.

AttilaTheHun on December 27, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Schadenfreude

Tax Obama every time he lies?

Wow! It would be like money really does grow on trees! We could hire all the unemployed to run around with buckets and baskets gathering the grazillions of dollars that would be cascading in!

Horace on December 27, 2011 at 1:47 PM

I never understood why there was such conservative opposition to a VAT in lieu of the current income tax system. While there are countless arguments back and forth, a VAT lets you control the amount of tax that you pay simply by controlling your consumption.

macnorfin on December 27, 2011 at 2:15 PM

As I read this thread I’ve actually come to realize what the Liberal MO might be.

I was actually thinking that (as they spend like drunken sailors) a recklessness and brainless way forward exists with little regard for the future. Now I see it’s likely a desire to create a (Rham) “don’t let a good crisis go to waste” situation.

As spending escalates to a breaking point a calculated crisis situation would emerge with a resultant population desperate for a fix, at which point a sleazy non transparent tax could be easily implemented and tailored to any and all political needs. Yup, all the money they’d ever need to buy as many votes as they needed as far as the eye could see.

And as the population descends into poverty a greater captive culture would emerge, complete with their begging hands thrust forward in need. Like superman, the caring progressive democrat will be there to soothe their fears and give them just enough to get to the voting booth the next time around.

Hornet on December 27, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Mitt balanced budgets in Mass and ended up with a surplus. Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody could do that in Washington?

Ruiner on December 27, 2011 at 2:58 PM

One problem with all VAT systems is transparency. Even if the seller posts his own VAT payments or percentage on a product, there is no way to tell how many layers of VAT were already in materials when they came to him.

ALL consumption taxes have serious compliance issues, too, that no one seems concerned about. Just ask the states how their sales tax collections go. There are multiple ways to steal and as many ways to cover your tracks. It would take more than a cursory audit to uncover most of the avoidance, and we cannot afford that level of compliance policing.

It’s easier to scare individual wage-earners into compliance with the threat of an audit because their attempts to cheat are more easily detected and the penalties are far greater than the amounts they could gain by cheating. Not so with consumption taxes – including the VAT.

Adjoran on December 27, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Romney and Obama for Big Government. What a tough choice to pick from…

Schadenfreude on December 27, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Dumbo’s got it right … anyone having difficulty making this choice is an idiot or a liberal. But I repeat myself…

Jaibones on December 27, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Did anyone even read the article. He says nothing about a VAT for you. Unless you pay corporate taxes..to replace the income tax. Talk about a dog whistle. VAT VAT..bad bad (I agree, but read the damn article.)

bluealice on December 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM

What? You expect these nitwits to actually read the piece before blathering their nonsense? Clearly you don’t know the rules…

Jaibones on December 27, 2011 at 3:47 PM

A VAT system in lieu of our income tax system would promote investment, something we drastically need in our economy right now.

Why you people simply read the title and skipped down to the comments section to spew your elementary level anti-Romney talking points is beyond me.

“FU2Mitt”, cute.

Kriggly on December 27, 2011 at 4:15 PM

A VAT system in lieu of our income tax system would promote investment, something we drastically need in our economy right now.

On the contrary, a federal VAT will never be in lieu of anything. It’s a grab for more money and that’s the end of your rosy “investment” scenario with only more government control of your life to show for your delusion.

And of course, it will; punish consumption, raise the cost of living, hurt income, and lead to underground work-arounds and government crackdowns on attic cleanouts to boot. It’s the worst idea ever, and it will never replace any form of revenue gathering. It is just a grab for more of our money being grabbed so the Government can play daddy bountiful and share the goodies with its bestest friends.

If you want VAT you are not a conservative and you ARE a perfect fool.

But then, you were planning to vote for forehead, weren’t you. I guess it would have been shorter to simply say that.

SarahW on December 27, 2011 at 4:31 PM

A VAT is not something I support, but we need to renegotiate international treaties that leave us at a disadvantage. The VAT in treaties that the U.S.A. agreed to is removed from the price of exported goods from Europe. The corporate income taxes are not waived, per the treaties. This creates an unfair trading advantage and effects our trade balance. The U.S. Tax Code needs to be entirely redone.

K Michael ODonovan on December 27, 2011 at 4:32 PM

This post is one of a long string of “gotcha” posts aimed at one or another of the candidates. There is no way the bit from the Journal shows Romney stating clear support for a VAT. That said, the post is helpful in that anti-VAT remarks from conservatives need to be brought out loud and often.

For myself, I’d start with WyattsTorch’s suggestion:

“Cut spending and taxes by 25% this year and every following year until the government is doing only it’s moral job: night watchman protecting our property and contracts, and defending us from criminal nations.
That means individuals fund their own education, energy, housing, roads, transportation, health-care, retirement funds, recreation, construction, automobiles, etc., etc. Do you see the pattern?
Once more, say it with me: government equals police, courts, and military. individuals equal everything else.”

Along with the spending cut, repeal the 16th, and make the Feds go hat in hand to the states for revenue. Each state contributes a per capita amount for Federal “services.” Let the states collect the money however they like.

Armorica on December 27, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Instead of imposing a VAT why not just make All Americans pay taxes?

America is going the way of Europe and people are too blind to see this.

Romney will implement European Socialism in the US. Look at what it has done to Europe.

Sparky5253 on December 27, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Yep. If Romney is the nominee, better to lose in 2012 and pray that we an make it to 2016.

besser tot als rot on December 27, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Typical. Just so the group knows, Lenin wanted Russia to lose WWI and even viewed winning the war as the worst outcome.

You Romney haters are behaving in the same fashion.

csdeven on December 27, 2011 at 6:26 PM

On the contrary, a federal VAT will never be in lieu of anything. It’s a grab for more money and that’s the end of your rosy “investment” scenario with only more government control of your life to show for your delusion.

And of course, it will; punish consumption, raise the cost of living, hurt income, and lead to underground work-arounds and government crackdowns on attic cleanouts to boot. It’s the worst idea ever, and it will never replace any form of revenue gathering. It is just a grab for more of our money being grabbed so the Government can play daddy bountiful and share the goodies with its bestest friends.

If you want VAT you are not a conservative and you ARE a perfect fool.

But then, you were planning to vote for forehead, weren’t you. I guess it would have been shorter to simply say that.

I mentioned a VAT system replacing a certain portion of our tax system (not layering) as have several conservative economists and politicians (which Romney literally said almost word for word). It taxes consumption, not earnings or investment. Layering a VAT system is obviously anti-conservative, but isn’t what I’m a proponent of. You’re attacking a straw man rooted in your cynicism of government and obvious dislike of Romney. If you’d like to actually discuss the implications of government overreach in implementing tax reform, feel free to do so.

However, if you would like to continue to act like a child and have a name calling game while polarizing the opinion of those you address, you may want to move to 4chan.

Kriggly on December 27, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Until politicians talk about spending cuts–real cuts, not decreases in projected increases and such bafflegab–, I don’t take them seriously.

Romney’s statements strike me as doubletalk.

The Thousand Points of Light speech is tainted by Bush’s breaking the Read My Lips pledge, but there are good things in it: for example, the statement that when a politician says he’ll raise taxes only as a last resort, it’s a resort he plans to check into.

gs on December 27, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Can we get something straight!?@! Romney isn’t even a RINO, he’s Obama-LITE!!!!!

Colatteral Damage on December 27, 2011 at 6:57 PM

Romney will implement European Socialism in the US. Look at what it has done to Europe.

Sparky5253 on December 27, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Typical room temperature IQ. Romney won’t do anything of the sort. He’s running as a conservative, and he’s going to repeal Obamacare and save the economy and balance the budget.

FEEL THE MITTMENTUM!!

1punchWill on December 27, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Did anyone even read the article. He says nothing about a VAT for you. Unless you pay corporate taxes..to replace the income tax.

Who do YOU think pays corporate taxes? Them? Bwahahhaahaha! They pass that right along to you and me.

Stop spending what you don’t have, supporting illegals AT ALL, wars we don’t need or care about and departments of departments where the study of studies costs 1.5 billion per month. Get the welfare queens off the dole and sheesh where can I go from here….

It’s not that hard people. Do you not read the articles about the WASTE and fraud our gubmint spends OUR money on every day?

At least RINO Mitt could be controlled via Rep Congress and Senate. Not possible with O’Blameya.

Nevermind, back to your ill informed gripe session.

landowner on December 28, 2011 at 8:56 AM

A simple national sales tax on everything but food and medicine whose increase and decrease is clearly visible to taxpayers is the only thing acceptable to me and many other TEA party members and only if the income and FICA taxes/16th Amendment are repealed. And that would also mean that the Fed would be abolished so politicians could not expand government by creating more money from debt (a stealth theft of one’s wealth) and that federal deficits other than in a time of war declared by congress (not the president) would be unacceptable.

Government has grown far too big and unconstitutional. The VAT is an insidious tax that obscures its scope and real effects.

And let us not forget that the SCOTUS ruled in two 1916 cases (Brushaber and Baltic Mining) that the 16th Amendment created no new tax because Congress stupidly failed to repeal the clauses in the Constitution which the 16th Amendment contradicts. You cannot have active constitutional laws that contradict one another. And the older clauses always prevail unless repealed. If you think this is wrong visit the 1943 Congressional Record or the 1984 and 1989 Congressional Research Service reports on this topic.

America – land of the “dumb masses” who think we are a democracy as George W used to say instead of a constitutional republic.

Falcon46 on December 28, 2011 at 8:29 PM

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