Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman once said, “Sloth and lack of enterprise flourish when hard work and the taking of risks are not rewarded.” While I believe this statement to be true, I am grateful it has never characterized the American spirit.
Hard work and risk taking are precisely what built our great nation, and it is through these traits in Americans across the nation that we will once again have a thriving economy. To unleash the tremendous resource that is the American worker, entrepreneur and innovator, we need only to align the tax code with our core principles. That is what excites me about the FairTax.
The FairTax means freedom. Those of us who are fighting so hard for it understand this. It is freedom from a burdensome, manipulative tax code that penalizes the very things we need to grow our economy. The FairTax means freedom for business owners and entrepreneurs to make decisions based on their own resources and vision, not a convoluted, punitive compilation of regulations.
It is no small thing that the FairTax also returns to Americans the freedom of anonymity. No federal bureaucracy should ever know as much about us as the IRS does, particularly a federal bureaucracy as powerful as the IRS. Our Founders never intended this level of personal intrusion, and the FairTax is a giant step in the direction of personal liberty.
Any proposal that shifts the balance of power from Washington back to the people in such a significant way as the FairTax is certain to encounter political inertia. From its inception, we have all experienced the pushback of those with a vested interest in the status quo. The current tax code is by far the most effective tool for politicians to manipulate the behavior of Americans, and the FairTax removes this very powerful weapon from their arsenal. The fact that there is a strong resistance to it can neither surprise, nor discourage us.
The immense dedication of those in the FairTax community across the country is directly responsible for the consistent and significant progress we are seeing in Washington. Members of Congress become a co-sponsor of this bill because their constituents demand it, and that is exactly how it should be.
With 84 co-sponsors, the FairTax has become the most popular fundamental tax reform bill in Congress, and its support continues to grow. There are more supporters on the Ways & Means Committee than ever before and this has led to a hearing specifically on H.R. 25 (the FairTax) for the first time in a decade. As the Ways & Means Committee discusses tax reform, the FairTax emerges as a powerful voice in the conversation that is impossible to ignore, try as Washington special interests might.
Its strength, however, is not found in bearing the seal of approval from the political establishment, but rather in who fuels the movement: the American people. If we continue to convince more and more of our neighbors of the benefits of the FairTax, the call to action in Washington will one day overcome the loud voices calling for more of the same. Through the partnership and dedication of all those in the FairTax community, I am confident we will one day succeed in making April 15 just another spring day.
U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, serves on the House Budget Committee and the House Rules Committee.