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May 28th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

National sales tax the answer to reducing deficits, paying for health care?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The idea of a national sales tax as a way to reduce deficits - which could total $4 trillion over the next 5 years - and pay for health care seems to be picking up steam.

Protestors in Manilla show anti-VAT signs in 2006.  A value-added tax may be gaining traction with lawmakers in the U.S.

Protestors in Manilla show anti-VAT signs in 2006. A value-added tax may be gaining traction with lawmakers in the U.S.

The Washington Post reports that some lawmakers and experts suggest such a tax is one of the only ways to right our financial ship. A "Value Added Tax" or VAT is a tax on the transfer of goods and services - that would include everything from a gallon of milk to a visit with a lawyer. This kind of tax is used in more than 130 countries, and ranges from 5% in Japan to 25% in Hungary and parts of Scandinavia.

One downside is that a national sales tax would fall more heavily on the poor, but supporters say that could be offset by using the proceeds to pay for health care for every American.

Other potential advantages are that this kind of tax is hard to dodge and it punishes spending rather than saving, which the Obama administration wants to encourage. Also, some economists say the threat of a VAT could help pull the country out of a recession sooner by making consumers spend before the tax hits. Depending on what percentage the VAT tax would be, it could exempt millions of Americans from paying income tax and lower the top income bracket for wealthier people.

Top government officials from Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker to the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee have expressed interest in exploring the idea.

Here’s my question to you: Is a national sales tax the answer to reducing deficits and paying for health care reform?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Susan from Sequim, Washington writes:
Sales tax is the ultimate unfair tax. For the poor, it taxes every penny. For the rich, it's a flea bite. Sales tax is the way the rich control the poor. And the middle class is getting pinched in between. This tax would be a big mistake!

Toni writes:
A national sales tax would be a great idea. No loopholes for anyone, whether for yachts or clothes. And illegal aliens who have never paid for schools and medical care would have to contribute also. A fair tax. Exemptions for food and housing could be made.

Graham writes:
If a VAT is created to replace the current tax code, then please do it tomorrow. Except for H&R Block, IRS employees, and possibly the makers of Xanax, does anyone like dealing with April 15th? Regardless of the income tax rate, the current tax system will always be unfair to the people who cannot afford to pay a CPA to do their taxes.

Molly from Los Angeles writes:
A thousand times no! Here in California, we at least get some state tax relief in the categories of groceries. My blood would boil if those basic necessities were suddenly taxed, too. And let's face it... these taxes would start at a low percentage and then just keep going up.

William writes:
The Value Added Tax (VAT) is a great idea. I'm an American living in Heidelberg, Germany. The Germans have a VAT and it seems to be working fine. I gas up my Ford GT Mustang once a week and it costs me about $86 to fill the tank… If you want to bail out companies and create social programs, someone has to pay. The Americans wanted change; enjoy.

David from Texas writes:
Jack, Since I'm filthy rich, will you give my accountants time to figure out if I can avoid this tax before I answer?


Filed under: Health care • National Sales Tax
soundoff (238 Responses)
  1. steve

    Read my lips "no new taxes" We're already over taxed without enough representation in my opinion. The big corporations receive the lions share of the elected officials attention when it comes to new laws that benefit them. If there is a tax increase let the big corporations pay for it. I think we have to go back to the way it was before wwII when it wasn't about a global economy but an American economy. If we have to make products that are made only in the U.S. and sold only in the U.S. to keep Americans working and paying taxes, then so be it. How can we compete with China when the average worker gets a few dollars a day, compared to the U.S. where the average worker makes a few dollars an hour, we can't. It won't happen Unless the big companies here stop buying Chinese and buy American or get American wages down to chinese levels, which seem to be where we're headed. In this economy with millions of Americans out of work, we will be willing to take pay cut after pay cut until well you get the picture, and it seems to be a scenario right out of the big business playbook. More taxes? how about more good paying jobs for Americans, before we hire foreign worker under H1B or any other visa. America for Americans first, last and always, Then we can talk about foreign workers or taxes!

    Steve
    Los Angeles

    May 28, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  2. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    It's the best idea I've heard so far.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  3. Susan, Sequim WA

    Sales tax is the ultimate unfair tax. For the poor, it taxes every penny. For the rich, it's a flea bite. Sales tax it the way the rich control the poor. And the middle class is getting pinched in between. This tax would be a big mistake!

    May 28, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  4. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    Logic would suggest that all income is eventually spent ... otherwise, why earn it? In a true VAT system, all goods and services are not required to be taxed at the same rate. By applying little or no tax on basic goods and services, we protect low-income workers. So, the loaf of bread I just bought might be tax free, but the wedge of brie that goes with it might be taxed at 10%.

    Another benefit of a VAT system is that the huge underground economy in this country ... everything from garage mechanics to at-home telemarketers, will finally pay a reasonable share of taxes.

    Rick, OH

    May 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  5. Harold from Anchorage,AK

    works for Canada

    May 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  6. Richard in Colorado

    Sounds like a workable plan to me, only I wouldn't include food and drugs.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  7. Mike, Newark, NJ

    This is a great plan if you have a job. Sorry 10% of the country, you lose.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  8. Barbara

    I would support a VAT tax if it was temporary. But then of course removing the tax could be a good platform for the next president. Only too often do our politicians pass bills in order to help them get re-elected.

    Put limits, and be transparent. I get so tired of the lack of transparency and rheteric.

    Virginia Beach, VA

    May 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  9. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    Absolutely NOT. Visualize what this would do to the states of Hawaii & Alaska; rural communities, etc. These areas of the nation would be hardest hit; as everything is shipped in. The poorest people would get food stamps. Again, the working middle & lower middle income tax earners would be the ones that would suffer; cutting deep into the family budget. Congress needs to find another way & cut programs.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  10. jack frost in vermont

    Ggeeezzz Jack, I think we are taxed more than enough.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  11. Bruce St Paul MN

    After thirty years of tax breaks and subsidies for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, we are now supposed to add another tax aimed squarely at the middle class and the poor. With years of stagnant or falling wages, the loss of savings and home equity, there is not much wiggle room here in the lower eighty percent. Restore the higher marginal rates, crack down on legal tax evasion, and fund health insurance with the most logical and efficient means. That would be universal single-payer paid for with payroll and income taxes. The most coverage and the lowest cost. I know that would leave the health insurance companies out of the loop. Just another good reason to do it.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Ed Reed

    Only if we get a Single Payer System. I'm not for increasing taxes just to give the money to the insurance companies.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    May 28, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  13. Cheryl in South Carolina

    Jack, if it exempts millions from paying taxes and lowers taxes for the wealthy, can it possibly collect enough money to solve our problems? I for one am not convinced.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  14. Eleanora Feucht, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

    Jack, Are you kidding??? this is essentially asking us to pay for our own Health Insurance.
    Besides, the sales tax that we will be paying, no doubt, we will still be required pay for our insurance.
    But the government has money to bail out companies who used their money foolishly.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  15. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Jack, I always find it interesting that the proposals coming out of Washington involve tax increases. What happened to fiscal responsibility and cutting spending? There is enough waste in our government that if eliminated would wipe out the national debt. Of course, that would require effort and sacrifice and when you have the printing presses in the basement, why would you want to do that? Just print more money, increase my taxes and tell me it's for my own good. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy!!

    May 28, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  16. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    A sales tax is a tax on money spent. A flat tax would be much better because it is a tax on money earned.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  17. Nancy, Tennessee

    My state and county sales tax rate of 9.5% is enough. We get a break on food items at 8%. I would hope that the lawmakers from this state will stand up and say no to a national sales tax. No need to have healthcare if we don't have money to buy food. We'll be standing in line with diseases related to poor nutrition. We are a poor state with low wages.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  18. Tomasz

    Greetings:

    Milk is already at or near $4.00/gallon. With all the taxation on those essentials, barely anyone in the nation will be able to afford the essentials of life.
    Solving the problems like National Health Care will not be solved by making life difficult for those buying milk, bread, vegetables etc...
    Solving those problems will require that there be pressure put on Health Care companies to stop viewing everything in terms of how much they can make in profits and rather be of the ideology of how maximizing the amount of people that recieve treatment and care.
    They spend billions yearly in advertising and currying favour with doctors. Let them spend that money on delivering the medications to the poor people that depend on them to maintain health.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  19. Rick McKinney, Texas

    Jack in 4 months the government has raised taxes on tobacco. Those that make over 2.5 million a year. Alcohol. Junk Food. Now they want to add a values tax. Please remind me again which candidate that was running for president said he would not raise our taxes? Was that not Mr. Obama? Look here is the bottom line with this government debt. We have it and it can be paid off over years and that will spread who pays for it around so it is fair for all over time. Trying to gouge people to hurry up and pay for this debt plus more debt the government is coming up with on a daily basis is a futile effort. The only way to reduce debt is to stop creating it. If taxation becomes too high people will simply not pay taxes. The choice would be to eat or to pay taxes and Jack I am my family are going to eat even if the government doesn't get a damn dime.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  20. Eric from Lincoln, Nebraska

    We pay taxes on enough. Find out the true reason why healthcare costs so much, and work on bringing the costs down. We CAN'T spend our way out of EVERYTHING.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  21. Russ in PA

    My God, the fact that any US politician wants to even talk about this should make everyone regret that they didn't vote for Ron Paul. VAT: the death of the US...

    May 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  22. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    What would be the effect on state and local sales taxes ??? And would this be in addition to state and local taxes ??? This would have a much greater impact on those who are just getting by now. Immagine what an across the board increase in cost of EVERYTHING would do to the low or fixed income families ???

    May 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  23. Tony L........Oregon

    Hey Jack, read my lips..."No new taxes"!!!!!!!!

    May 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  24. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    It depends on what percentage they're thinking of. It might help in reducing the deficit, but it most certainly is not the answer to healthcare reform unless they are talking about national or universal Medicare. In that case, I am all for it.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  25. bobwhite, Ks

    A national sales tax may be one answer, but a very poor one. The best tax answer because it is the most fair, is the progressively structured income tax which taxes those who have the greatest ability to pay taxes without creating jeporady to their fundamental needs. Yes they pay more taxes. But they have more means. I think that is fair and back when they taught about such equity issues in college, I learned that the progressive income tax was the most fair tax in the kingdom. Not according to all the Kings, of course.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  26. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    Jack ... For many years I thought a national sales tax would solve many issues.
    1) It would encourage savings. If you don't spend you don't pay taxes.
    2) All people (rich & poor) would be taxed at the same rate.
    3) The rich would pay more taxes because they have more to spend and they love nice things.

    It would not prevent our current situation because tax revenue would still drop.

    If it replaced our current payroll tax completely (what I want) it would have to be around 15 – 20 percent. But it could be lower if we kept payroll deductions for Social Security & Health Care.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  27. rpb Viburnum Mo

    Sure why not? Dig the middle class and the poor agin.I am quite sure that 100,000.00 neckless will be exempt and the 100 foot yaut that will be off the table oh and that 200,000.00 limo can't collect taxes on that but food and that six-pack tax the hell out of it we got loads of cash.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  28. Bob - Playa Union Argentina

    Another tax. Wow, what a surprise!!

    Folks, WHEN are ALL of us (the common people and the politicians who make the laws) going to STOP SPENDING and CREATING NEW PROGRAMS that cost more than we have????

    We want it all but we can NOT afford all that we "want." "Want" is the key word here because our "needs" are far smaller than our "wants!!"

    We will NOT correct our economical difficulties until we slow or STOP at least SOME of our spending. Until we can at least see the light at the top of the hole we are in today we might be FAR better off by not diving into the National Healthcare Program that the administration (to make themselves popular and look good) wants so badly.

    We got into this mess by spending on new homes and such with little or no means to pay for it and now we want to repeat these actions??? Do we NEVER learn?? I suspect the answer is, "Nope, never. Let da Good Times roll!!!"

    May 28, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  29. Pugas-AZ

    I think it's folly to think that everyone in this country will ever have affordable quality healthcare. This is a political game managed to garner votes. We can't even afford the entitlements we already have. We, as a country, take too many drugs and go to the doctor and emergency rooms too much. Let's help those that honestly need it, the rest get out of the way.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  30. Mike in Albuquerque,NM

    NO! NO! NO! the current VAT Tax/Fair tax/ Sales tax schemes all fall hardest on families, especially the poor. These schemes also have loopholes for corporations to escape a majority of the tax.

    It does depend on WHERE AND HOW the tax is collected. For example: instead of charging the public at the supermarket register
    charge a tax on the sales at the major exchanges...the stock exchanges, Nasdaqs, commodities exchanges, dirivitive exchanges, monetary markets, energy exchanges, and a tax on the money printed by the Federal Reserve, and on private corporate bonds.
    Without loopholes for corporations, and no direct impact on the poor, this method of tax collection is an easier way to centralise collection from those that benefit from our systems the most. Shouldn't the people that benefit from our free markets be the ones that pay?

    May 28, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  31. Darin

    Absolutely, especially if that means people who can't afford insurance get the most basic health care they really need. I'm poor, and support a family of four, but I would still be willing to pay higher taxes if it means universal health care for people even less fortunate than me.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  32. Jay in Texas

    Absolutely not. The solutions to the deficits and real health are reform, single-payer, is to immediately withdraw our military from the illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. How about a national lottery? It worked okay to help finance the Revolution.
    Brownwood, Texas

    May 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  33. Martin in Shoreline, WA

    It depends on how it is instituted. If you are simply adding it to the existing tax burden of Americans, then no. It would be too much. The average American already pays too much in taxes.

    But if you replace the income tax with a sales tax, that would be fantastic. To ease the burden on the poor, we could exempt housing (primary residence) and food from the sales tax. In other words, tax disposable income. This would force rich people to pay their fair share, without the ability to find loopholes in 13,000 pages of IRS regulations. We would also save billions by gutting the IRS.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  34. Linda in Arizona

    Since I'm a religious non-consumer, I think it's a good idea.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  35. Charles in Lawrence, NJ

    Yes. A national sales tax is a good companion to the flat tax that reformers like Steven Forbes have clamored for. With the same exemptions that have made state sales tax socially responsible we can call it a “luxury tax” which is long over due. Apply it to 3rd or 8th homes and people like John McCain might remember how many homes he owns and leave some for the rest of us.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  36. Christine from Edmeston, New York

    No matter who's in charge, no matter if the economy is booming or busting, no matter what, where, or when, those who can least afford it have to pay, pay, pay. So what's so different about the national sales tax? It's just the same old pay, pay, pay as always. But if this approach can actually effect a positive move in health-care reform, why not try it? It's not as if we're all suddenly going to be rich if we don't.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  37. Steven from NJ

    I would be for it if they do not tax food and clothes, like NJ's sale's tax. Been to Canada many times they do it there.

    May 28, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  38. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,

    We all know what needs to be done to reduce the country's deficits and help pay for national health-care, it is legalizing the use of marijuana and hemp to create new markets and regulate it: ie the way they control the use of alcholol. However it is a taboo subject for any popular politician because they fear losing votes eventhough they know it will help the country's economic bottom line more then any VAT tax ever will...

    Central Islip, NY

    May 28, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  39. Simon/Orlando

    They're going to have to come up with some kind of tax raise to cover the cost of the raising deficit. The problem with a VAT tax is that once it's initiated it always creeps up and never goes down. Strange that this is very similar to the Fair Tax idea. Maybe they should just go with a 25% VAT on everything purchased and eliminate the income tax.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  40. david from virginia

    Sounds great so long as the income tax is repealed when this goes into effect.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  41. Bill, PA

    Jack,
    YES, a national sales tax is a way to go!
    We need a single payer health care delivery option. It can stand in competition with all private health care options although the underwriting (choosing who to insure) standards must be the same for all choices. The day choosing of the well for coverage and reaping the profits should be over. Then the current overhead costs of 23% of premiums by the private carriers will fail compared to the 4% overhead of Medicare.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  42. Robert S. Mellis

    Not crazy about this idea. This is a tax that affects the poor more than the rich. I want to see a plan that helps those who have less. This is too big an issue for us to fail as a nation.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  43. Kirven Dunham

    Yes, as long as:
    1. we tax the internet as well (that would more than double our return)
    2. do not make it a VAT; only tax the final product not the entire production cycle
    3. Decrease or get rid of the federal income tax

    May 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  44. Karen - Missouri

    Oh, they think the cigarette tax wasn't big enough? Of course, more people quit so now they have to tax something else? Duh. Why not go after the tax evasion people? Why not go after those offshore hidden monies? Problem is, people will buy less than they already are...aren't we buying less in this economy now?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  45. Elsa

    Sure why not? We all need to do our part.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  46. Dave in Nashville

    wayyyyyyyyyyy overdue perfect way to leverage tax against income

    May 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  47. Laurie

    Why can't we just ask Oprah and Bill Gates to pay for our health care?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  48. dave

    This is sounding good we should try everything to get us out of this mess.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  49. Roger in Atlanta

    No national sales tax. Absolutely not. It is regressive. I spend every penny I earn since I am poor. It would fall more heavily on me and people like me than on the rich as a percentage of income.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  50. Jordan

    Sounds like a great idea to me. A little extra spending to help solidify my future and my country's future. I'm willing to pay.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  51. Rachel T

    "Is a national sales tax the answer to reducing deficits and paying for health care reform?"

    Perhaps, as long as they get rid of the income tax first.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  52. Bea

    It works well in Europe and God knows we need to try a few new things because we're definitely broken. Bea, Tucson.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  53. Tyler Travitz

    It's only the answer if it's a high tax that REPLACES the existing income tax model. Adding an additional tax during a recession doesn't make much sense.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  54. David A Whitaker

    Well Jack, I think there need to a larger tax on those that,salary is above a 250,000. Let be for real someone has to put up the needed fund. The poor cannot give, what they don't have.

    David

    Martinsburg,WV

    May 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  55. Rolando DePuy

    Jack for those like me, that do not have a big income, this sounds like a good idea... It could save SS, and health care.. I am for it!!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  56. J Sykes

    I already know what your viewers will say, NO. Why ? Because the rich inparticular, but also the right, have made Americans afraid of the word 'tax'. Yet at the same time people want more from their government. You must realise, taxation is -not- a bad thing if the monies are used efficiently and to advantage Americans, particularly the most in need. Many other countries who enjoy a much higher quality of life also have higher tax rates.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  57. Josh from Chicago

    How about taxing the oil companies instead? They are still making Billions while I'm still out of a job. But I don't spend millions on lobbying so that idea will not be heard.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  58. Garrett

    This is a terrible idea. Do our lawmakers not know what drove the colonies to revolt and start the revolutions? It was being overtaxed and like the income tax, the burden will fall on the hardworking citizens because the rich can afford it and the government will give a free pass t the "poor" who don't work.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  59. Helen

    YAY! Perfect Perfect solution I have no problem paying tax for health care and reducing the deficit! I a person who lives on Social Security would welcome it! Health care is everyone's problem rich and poor. I thought charging $.05 cents a gallon more for gas could also do the same thing.
    And it is non discriminatory everyone pays the same! Bravo!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  60. Ana P

    I think the VAT tax is a great idea. Everyone makes purchases, but not everyone pays income taxes. A VAT would equalize everything, and can certainly help pay for healthcare.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  61. BJ

    It has been suggested for the last 8 years and snubbed and run down, why all of a sudden is it a good idea?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  62. Kurt

    Who would collect this tax? Retailers? Do we trust little shops to actually remit the collections to the government or just keep some for themselves?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  63. william fitzwater

    Yes;
    I think it is a very good idea. however there are some downsides for large durable equiptment and luxery good. If propery structured not to hurt certian US industries it could help pay down the decifit and pay for health care. I'm all for a national sales tax.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  64. Danny

    Yes, Yes and Yes.....Put it for a limited time...say 5 years. Once enough money has been recovered for health care and social security, remove it. Idea worth exploring!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  65. Kathy

    Seriously, was wondering how long it would take for the light to go on down there. Just look to Canada: we cleared a national dept in a fraction of the time predicted with the GST/VAT and we all have GREAT free healthcare. Do we love the no–No, hate it. Do we love what it gives us? Yes.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  66. Armando

    It seems like a good idea that should be explored along with cutting wasteful/ineffective programs. I am all for paying for my fair-share, and as a future doctor I am very concerned about our current healthcare system. This might be a good way to fund a healthcare for lower-income people.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  67. Matt Howard

    While a national sales tax would encourage saving, spending is the very thing which is needed to recharge the economy. There are other ways to encourage Americans to manage their finances responsibly, while reducing the deficit through a reduction in government spending.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  68. Ralph Nelson

    I oppose Regressive taxes. if you make more, you should pay more. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  69. Pete Lister

    With 300 million Americans, even a fraction of a percent VAT would bring the federal treasury lots of money, without a terrible burden to individuals. I know the hue and cry will be raised: "We already pay too much in taxes!!!" As a retiree on a fixed income, I would gladly pay a small VAT to pull the country out of the hole Bush/Cheney and the Rupublicans have shoveled us into.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  70. Chuck

    Consuption taxes are called regressive taxes because they force the poor to pay higher taxes than the rich, as a percentage of income. Those at the bottom of the income scale are going without necessities now. This kind of tax will force many to stop buying food and clothing. It is a terrible idea no matter how you try to dress it up!

    Chuck
    San Antonio, TX

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  71. Cyrus

    No Jack, it won't. It would be a regressive tax that would further shrink people's cash flow.

    What, however, would solve our deficit problem is giving 12-25 million illegal migrants an opportunity to become part of the mainstream. With pentalty fee, at least five years of back taxes, and standing in the line with everyone else, would gurantee that the government earns an additional $12 to $19 billion in income tax revenue.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  72. Dallas in California

    YES! YES! YES!

    Not only would a national sales tax raise much need federal revenues and pay for health care; it would reduce personal spending, increase personal savings, reduce environmental damage associated with supply chains, and reduce our reliance on an income tax.

    An even BETTER idea though, would be a consumption tax or a waste tax. That way we would be taxing exactly what we don't like instead of using a proxy. But I'll take the sales tax – provided the funds are tied to providing the promised services.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  73. Nick D. Neighbour

    YES! YES! and YES AGAIN!
    Nick. N.
    Pasadena. CA.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  74. Andrew Hester

    I think the senate SHOULD PASS IT! It'd be harder to avoid paying and if it'll get our economy going up again. I'm only 16 living in Nebraska but i feel the Congress should spend more time on the economy then arguing over what happend in the Bush's administration, with torcher, and arguing over the new Supream judge.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  75. Michael W-G

    Jack, it is crazy that the government believes it needs more money. If the government cut its waste we wouldn't need more taxes. Instead of bailing out failing companies the billions could be given back to the people to allow them to buy better health Insurance.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  76. John, NC

    Obama encourages saving over spending?!?! That's news to me. Taxing the poor further makes as much sense as spending say $700 billion dollars to bail out companies that broke the rules

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  77. Jim

    Yes. A national sales tax in the form of the Fairtax as has been proposed will be very beneficial in reducing the deficit and help pay for health care reform. The best solution would be to use this value-added tax as a complete replacement for the federal income tax and social security and medicare taxes. The prebate would be issued to those making lower incomes.

    Jim
    Denver, Colorado

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  78. Jon Gill,philadelphia

    Terrible idea. The Republicans would love it. Punish the poor and help the rich. That's all a vat would do. I can barely afford to buy things now.
    The solution is to collect fairly the taxes that are owed. Reinin the loopholes for big business and the super wealthy. Don't balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle-class.
    Right now in Philadelphia they are trying raise money by giving out trash tickets in neighborhoods where they believe the people can pay. The vat sounds like the same thing. Go after the little guy instead of the big guy.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  79. K

    Why is the answer to irresponsbile governemnt spending always adding and/or raising existing sales taxes? The taxpayer is already struggling with the recession, rising prices in stores, job loss, etc. We don't have bottomless pockets filled with money.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  80. Zack Canton Michigan

    Yes, Yes, Yes, That the best way, lets say about 1000 church bars are sold per day nation wide for about a dollar, ten percent of that dollar, witch is 10 cents, .10×1000=100. So theres a hundred dollars a day, times 100 by 360= 36,000 dollars, that doesn’t seem like it is lot but, think about the other candy, food, drinks, small like cheap stuff we buy each day how much that most equal up to, that a lot of helpfully and usefully money jack.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  81. Fred Snyder

    Absolutely not. Have you ever known the government to add a new tax and DROP another one. This will just add another tax. Besides, the conservatives are latughing all the way to the bank. This is just another way to get rid of the "graduated income tax." The "flat tax" is another one of their favorites. Simplify the tax code. Don't create another one.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  82. steve

    Definitely good idea. We have to sacrafice something to get out of this mess

    Steve, Fremont, CA

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  83. Lisa L.

    The VAT is a TERRIBLE idea. It is not just a sales tax that is applied at the time of sale, it is applied at every level of manufacturing, delivery, etc. You cited that many other countries have this type of tax but you did not elaborate on the standard of living that those countries' citizens enjoy or do not enjoy. We have one of the highest standards of living in the world.

    Americans DO NOT need more taxes. The Government needs to show spending restraint and eliminate the billions of dollars going to special interest groups and focus the dollars on the core and necessary elements to run our country.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  84. Tega Jessa

    It makes good sense to me especially if it replaces the income tax. Also you can't get something for nothing. If we want health care form we need acceptable common sense ways to pay for it so that we don't have the problems we have with social security and medicare.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  85. Jane - WI

    I personally don't want to see ANY taxes raised (I'd like to see lots of spending cuts). However, a VAT would a least force ALL consumers to pay into the system. Right now many at the lower end do not have "skin in the game" when it comes to income taxes. A whole lot of people don't pay any income tax and some even get money back that they have never paid into the system. A VAT would be fair as long as ALL have to pay it - No exceptions and no rebates to a select group).

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  86. Ronald Scott Colson

    Eliminating all income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax would assure that every drug dealer would finally pay taxes. Also, an immigrant's "legal" status would no longer matter because if they live here, they would buy things and, therefore, they would pay taxes to support the services that they use.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  87. Molly (Los Angeles)

    A thousand times no! Here in California we at least get some state tax relief in the categories of groceries. My blood would boil if those basic necessities were suddenly taxed, too.

    And let's face it... these taxes would start at a low percentage and then just keep going up.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  88. Cornelius

    A national sales tax is a great way to pay for goverment deficits and pay for health care.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  89. Paul T. Carroccio

    Jack:

    It is about time we went to a National (VAT) Sales Tax. It taxes those who spend the most and a system to reimburse those that fall below a certain income level to get a "refund" can easily instituted. That system would also encourage those who currently dodge the income tax system to file true returns to get their full refund. The only downside is that we will still need the IRS to process the returns!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  90. OBDAG in Appleton, WI

    Sure a VAT would be a manner of reducing our defecit. It's just unfortunate that the last administration spent us into this mess in the first place. The only question I would need clarified is which goods or services would the VAT be placed on. That is the only discussion point I see. Everyone including Republicans knows that the country needs a healthcare fix and this is a sensible method of paying for that fix. I say let's get on with it – the sooner the better.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  91. Chaz

    NO !!!!! There are so many reasons this is a bad idea that I could go on all day. I do have a question though. You say "one downside is that a national sales tax would fall more heavily on the poor". How so? You buy more you pay more just like a flat tax. Are you saying this because everybody (including the poor) would have to pay? The answer to getting our fiscal house in order can't always be tax the hell out of the wealthy and everyone else just skates by scott free!!!

    And you can bet that any new tax will not result in a decrease in other taxes that are paid.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  92. Sal-Fayetteville,NC

    HECK NO! A National Sales Tax would NOT be a good idea! Instead of our government making us pay even more taxes, they should quit being so generous with all these "bailouts" its been giving out. A paycut for all those in Congress wouldn't be a bad idea either. Maybe that would be a good idea.....instead of Congress voting on giving themselves pay raises, how about WE THE PEOPLE make that decision. I wonder how much more serious they'd take their jobs.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  93. Matt Kisler

    Hello Jack,

    nothing wrong with a 10% to 15 % national sales tax, but what about the already established state sales taxes? The difference between the 130 other countries you mentioned and the USA is exactly there, they ONLY have one VAT. Without sorting out this matter first, a new ADDITIONAL sales tax would be a disaster, adding up to and over 30% in taxes to a purchase.

    Matt

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  94. Michael

    This is a bad answer. It might work. But it is certainly regressive. The poor would pay a greater percentage of their total income than would the rich. And there is no good reason why the poor should shoulder a greater percentage of taxes than should the rich. A better, more fair, answer would take into account the importance of a baseline income, and would more heavily tax those whose incomes exponentially exceed the minimum (as their needs would be more than covered, financially).

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  95. Steve

    Absolutely not! A national sales tax is the most regressive tax plan imaginable as the poor spend a disproportionate amount of their income on taxable necessities. The wealthy will make sure that loopholes are built into any national sales tax to protect purchases made outside the USA, thus forcing the burden on the lower and middle class yet again.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  96. Dj Krogol

    "it could exempt millions of Americans from paying income tax and lower the top income bracket for wealthier people."

    Be careful what you wish for! You just might get it (a swift kick in the...)

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  97. Ken in NC

    If the monies derived from a National Sales Tax were dedicated in such a manner that they could not be diverted for any other use it could probably work. A good example of the problem is that Congress set up the Soc. Security fund to provide some additional income for people when they retire and then Congress borrowed (robbed) from it to apply to the deficit to balance the budget and never paid it back but continued to rob it. That's why Soc. Security is going broke now. On second thought, NO it will never work.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  98. Karl Jones

    I don't think VAT will help... getting rid of the fractional reserve banking system will as it functions to create debt and the money supply cannot expand without it; neither can this debt be paid off.. increasing taxes or not. Go back to a Greenback based money system, that will fix it...

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  99. Mike

    I think it would be great. No one would have to try hide income or pay tax accounts huge sums to find loop-holes. It would encourage people to work harder to earn more income and save more.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  100. Lance In Rio Vista

    I'm consistantly surprised how we ALWAYS privatize profits and SOCIALIZE losses. Couldn't we just raise the Federal LEASES on grazing land? Fishing withing 300 miles? Oil drilling? Right of ways for energy co's? Water co's sucking FEDERAL lands dry?

    Why is is that our gov INTERFERES with Market forces FOR corporations that NORMALLY would have to PAY 1000's times more for the same things? Alaska and Texas PAY ZERO PERSONAL taxes. Ya THINK these people are SMARTER than the REST of the country???

    Lets quit listening to and REPORTING morons saying STUPID things for sensationalism and FIX OUR COUNTRY!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  101. Dolores Fletcher

    For many years I have longed for a national tax on sales to replace our present income tax system. Since the wealthy spend more, they will be taxed more. Think of all the papers we can discard, how many trees we can save and all the records we no longer have to keep. I'm certain that those who lobby for CPA's will not appreciate such a tax, but then again, business owners will have to be responsible for collecting taxes, and they will need help with their record keeping.
    I don't think everything we buy should be taxed at the same rate. I would love to throw out the all the filing cabinets in the house that contain papers that I save regarding my taxes.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  102. Dr. Mac

    The Value Added Tax (VAT) is a great idea. I'm an American living in Heidelberg, Germany. The Germans have a VAT and it seems to be working fine. I gas up my Ford GT Mustang once a week and it costs me about $86 to fill the tank. I think taxes on gas along with the VAT should both be implemented. If you want to bail out companies and create social programs, someone has to pay. The American people wanted change, enjoy.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  103. Brett Baier

    I support the Fairtax HR.25. I feel it is the most important legislation in congress today. It will move our country a quantum leap ahead of the world in prosperity and liberty. As a graduate of production and operations, the simplification of the Tax system is very exiting. Anytime complexity dies at the hands of self governing simplicity you can tell that lean thinking is at its heart. Ironically, we are the nation that demands drastic improvements in process to remain profitable in our industries, yet our current tax system keeps adding extra steps to receive revenue. Any process analysis would point out the obvious benefits of the Fairtax and its very direct supply of revenue to the nation without complicated paperwork and countless "middlemen" adding barriers to receiving it.

    Can it help with spending? Absolutely, when how we get our money becomes so simple a second grader understands it, we can focus on where and how money is spent putting our priorities back where they belong.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  104. Delores Boone

    A Value Added Tax? NO, NO, a thousands times NO ! Where is the value for the average American in that? If the government wants to add a tax to get us out the recession, pay for healthcare, etc., then tax IMPORTED goods, since outsourcing jobs is a big part of why there are
    less jobs and more unemployment now.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  105. Jason Mah

    Welcome to Canada. We have a the value added tax (G.S.T. goods and service tax) for more then a decade. If you want to make the value added tax fair like it is in Canada, the gst doesnt apply groceries, school supplies in september, and school clothing. As a person who lived with the value added tax or gst for more then a decade, it's annoying (what tax isnt) but you get used to it.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  106. Wes Ketchem

    Only if the VAT replaced payroll income taxes. More take home pay could offset sales tax. A national sales tax would treat all people the same.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  107. Vince

    A national sales tax would be good, if, and only if, the federal income tax is done away with for ALL income levels, No Capital Gains Tax, No Gas Tax, No Cap & Trade, No Corporate Tax, No Social Security Tax or Medicare Tas, No Withholding, No More IRS, period.

    Sioux Falls, SD

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  108. mark foster

    a national sales tax is the most fair method of taxing the people,every one pays at purchase, reguardless of their high status, money from legal and illegal sources are also taxed .thanks

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  109. Psi

    Pay American dollars to a deficit that pays American companies and not the citizens? This is un-American...

    American companies are taking our tax money and sending our jobs overseas. I don't see how American citizens can suffer further taxes in order to fund bad business.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  110. Dave

    Jack- Please don't muddy the waters for the simple-minded. These greedy bureaucrats aren't talking about REPLACING the income tax with a VAT. This is in addition to it. Ah, yes. Change we can believe in. It gives me hope.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  111. star in Toronto

    In South Africa we pay V.A.T. and it is an absolute waste of money for the people – I never gained any benefits from paying V.A.T., it's money that just vanishes into the pockets of those in "high places". DON"T DO IT!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  112. Karloce

    A national sales tax (VAT) is a great idea. This encourages savings as well which we need desperately.

    This is the only idea I have heard which would take us out of the deficit quickly and will provide health care for the public which is vital.

    It feels like Obama administration is really serious towards fixing our economy and our country's future.

    Dallas, TX

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  113. Wally

    Jack,
    I used to be opposed to a national sales tax, but when I found out how many people report much less income than they earn, I changed my mind. At least they would pay taxes on what they spend, leveling the playing field a bit. I personally know people with incomes three times what I make who claim income of less than half of what I make. I don't cheat on my taxes and I would support any measure that might make these tax scofflaws pay their fare share.

    Wally
    Youngstown, OH

    May 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  114. Tony, in NY

    No, we don't need any new taxes until we undertake a reality check..

    Like stopping illegal immigration.
    Because far too many Americans ignore the cost burden to tax payers of educating the children of illegals who don't pay property taxes is staggering, just as the cost of providing health care to illegals and their families is staggering to tax payers, just as the cost of providing welfare to perfectly healthy people is staggering..

    Americans need to realize there is no endless pot of money.
    Choices have to be made, but I don't hold out much hope for this generation which seems content to live with its head in the sand.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  115. kay m.

    Hi Jack, The VAT will not hurt poor people since bgf ticket items are not usually bought by those individuals. The people that have the money will be paying the most VAT tax.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  116. Justin Caplin

    A national sales tax is definitely NOT the answer. That would only hurt the American people and businesses even more than they already are. The only answer to reduce the deficit is to dramatically cut wasteful spending and reduce the ever-growing size of the government.

    Logan, Utah

    May 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  117. Greg, Pine Bluff, Ar

    Jack, it is probably not "the" answer, but probably is a good start. To help with the regressive nature of the tax, maybe a tax rebate on this VAT in our federal taxes for those who make a small income during the tax year, i.e. like we get for any local tax or sales taxes we pay.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  118. Diane in Magalia, CA

    Regarding health care reform can't we at least look at how other industrialized countries have accomplished this for all their citizens while spending way less per capita than we already do and achieving better health results at the same time. No need to reinvent the wheel when it's already been done.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  119. Julie in Kentucky

    My former husband is a retired 40 year accountant. I remember him saying back in the 70's that imposing a federal sales tax would solve a lot of government deficit problems. He's been saying it every time we get into financial difficulties in this country. I always wondered why he thought of the idea and the government couldn't think of it. Even if it's just a penny on a dollar. Everyone pays it, including people on welfare or from any walk of life. Just think of how many billions of dollars that would generate over a few years of time? It's not much different when a city imposes an increase of a half percent sales tax for items bought in their city. It generates a lot of income for the city. Duh!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  120. Kevin L. / Omaha, NE

    It has it's merits Jack. Once it's started, measures need to be in place to assure the tax payers that when they raise THAT tax to compensate deficeit, it won't become a "catch-all" tax to sponser the next admin pet projects or used to lower other budgeted items. Once the debt is lowered, then reduce that tax and build on a surplus. Let it do what it's meant to do!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  121. cory

    i would gladly pay 10 cents or more on the dollar be rid of tax "day" and i wouldn't mind health care reform at all with a 6 hour wait for an xray i think we can do better

    May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  122. Nichole from Illinois

    No, it's NOT the answer. A vast majority of Americans will not be able to preempt the tax by making purchases without further abusing their credit. The wealthy will just lay claim to the ascetic (a minimalist lifestyle) movement the way they co-opted the green revolution. A national sales tax is just another disguised flat tax that will allow wealthy people to save money because they have more than everyone else.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  123. Frank Louisiana

    A better way to help the economy than a value added tax is to relook the prison system in the USA. In 1990 there were 300,000 prisoners in America and now there are 13.5 million. What Americans are not being told is that prisons now have Factory's in them making everything from kitchen applinces to computers for Dell. They are paying these prisoners 25 cents an hour to do these jobs instead of paying free citizens 9 to 15 dollars an hour to do these jobs and at the same time they are not lowering the cost of the goods they make. You want 13.5 million more jobs in America. Stop the slave labor camps in our prison system.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  124. Amy

    As it is, we get taxed to death already, and we receive crappy health care. If our taxes go up again, what type of indicator is going to be used to show us that our health care is going to benefit.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  125. Benjamin in D.C.

    Only one thing is for sure about Americans: they never want to pay for what they reap. Maybe it is because Americans simply don't understand how taxes and spending works, and how they directly benefit. But as California has shown, we can get everything we want from the government, but it wont work for long if you don't start paying the bills. We should raise taxes.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  126. john

    Jack,

    Are you kidding? It is extreamily difficult for the states to collect sales tax from the small businesses. A lot of these businesses think that that all money collected belongs to them.. now we are going to entrust these same businesses with collecting "income taxes" ? I think not.

    John

    May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  127. John Brown

    This new tax is an act of lunacy. The Federal Income Tax itself is unconstitutional because it is a direct tax on the American people that goes unapportioned. Wages are not identical to income. No new taxes. We are supposed to be a democratic, or rather a republic, but in any case, not a a socialist nation.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  128. Emmanuel

    I believe if the government wants to try a new tax system, they should first get rid of some of the old ones. Income tax is a good start. Dismantling the IRS is also. VAT sounds like a good idea...on paper. Before we rush to any decision we should look at both the up and downside, and make a choice on whats best for the American people.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  129. Carl

    Absolutely. Your gave an excellent synopsis of its benefits. But oh, by the way, the lawyers and tax accountants will work diligently (read that to say "contribute enough to critical congressional leaders") to insure congress keeps the tax code sufficiently complex to guarantee their future employment.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  130. mike cleveland

    well we have a state sales tax state income tax ,fed income tax ,property tax ,cig.tax ,liquer tax ,fuel tax, luxury tax, why not a fed sales tax that will do the trick! OH by the way i keep hearing about how employies should take pay cuts and tighten their belts.Then why don't gov.employies be expected to do the same .gov ,mayors, fireman,postel workers, teachers,congress,then they might know what it feels like when they keep asking for more from people that already has less than they do.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  131. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Just as "WE" told you liberal wackos, more taxes are coming! The American people will revolt, we will throw the liberal spenders out of office in every election from now on! Bank on it, Jack!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  132. Charles--Illinois

    No absolutely not! Why is President Obama continuing the Bush tax cuts for the WEALTHIEST Americans? Stop the Bush tax cuts and that addition $$$$ can go into a fund for the universal healthcare system of which we all know is needed BUT not a national sales tax. President Obama's team is looking a several optionals BUT this is a bad idea. SCRAP IT!.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  133. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    It could be if we can keep it simple and not allow the politicians to add riders and amendments until it becomes so complex that only the lawyers can figure it out.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  134. Matt from Ohio

    A VAT tax instead of an income tax would be entirely more fair... then a $5 sandwich would cost $6 for *everybody* instead of $5 for the bottom 40% and $7.50 for the top 10%.

    However, if everybody were taxed at 100% (all of their wealth), it will still not pay for Social Security/Medicare/Welfare in another 15 years, so a more "creative" tax is not going to solve our deficit woes.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  135. Eileen

    Jack, I recently wrote President Obama about this very idea, although with these caveats: abolish the FICA tax and no sales tax on food. By doing this, it would create a more fair tax. As it is, FICA is paid by the majority of working Americans, but income over $100,000 is exempt. Yet, these same people are getting the benefits of social security and Medicare.
    I would exempt food because that's an essential commodity. And I would keep the income tax but adjust it accordingly as we see how this works.
    Abolishing FICA would increase savings and even put more money in the pockets of working Americans if they choose to spend. After all, FICA was instituted when social security became law, and that was a long time ago. It's time to look for more equitable ways of taxing Americans. In a $10 trillion economy, a 1 percent tax would reap about $1 trillion. If you look at it in terms of a dollar, that's 1 cent. I'd be willing to put in a nickel, wouldn't you?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  136. Jo Anne Donahue

    National sales tax is a bad idea - hits low income and seniors. Worst idea since the tax on savings accounts. Unless.... the tax starts on purchases over $500.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  137. jeffrey cler

    Jack The only way i would comfortable with a VAT tax is to repeal the 16th admendent .If the Federal Goverment can tax income from any source and then tax all goods and services this would give us about 75 cents a week to spend. Sincerely .Jeff

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  138. Teresa Martin, Nevada, Missouri

    If everyone is concerned about the burden for our children and grandchildren, then we should carefully consider any action that we could employ NOW to begin to correct our financial problems – including health care for ALL. Yes, health care IS a financial problem for too many Americans. I have recently become unemployed. A few days ago, I fell and thought I had broken my ankle. I was in a total panic due to the lack of health care and feared thousands of dollars in medical bills that I would not be able to pay. I cannot imagine the terrible burden of fear that uninsured families bear when those families include young children who play and fall every day! Another consideration is the opportunities for many small businesses to employ more persons if the financial burden of health care insurance was lifted. I pray that President Obama will remember his promises concerning health care for all. Most of us who voted for him did not imagine that his health care efforts would be planned by the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists who have his ear to the exclusion of single-payer plan advocates. Yes. Consider a value added sales tax to pay for health care and reduce the federal deficit.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  139. Wil Clark

    Yes. This would take the Fed out of the equation and reduce the deficits faster. Everyone would be contributing and most of the loopholes closed. This should produce enough money to get the country back on track,

    May 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  140. Mike

    I think it would be great. No one would have to try hide income or pay tax accountants huge sums to find loop-holes. It would encourage people to work harder to earn more income and save more.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  141. Chuck

    Jack, I honestly believe this is one direction taxes should have gone long ago.
    I hope much study is devoted this very deserving subject. This will solve alot of financial problems.Pay for alot of entitlements. The drug dealers pay, the black markets pay etc. Many more pros than cons.

    I don't share the idea of "redistribution of wealth", but I DO believe in sharing the tax burden evenly. This would do that MUCH better than the archaic system known as the "Internal Revenue Code" (measuring millions of pages).

    Chuck MC

    May 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  142. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    Where else are we going to get the money? I hope all those myopic idealists who thought Obama was going to give them everything and not raise their taxes a single dime wake up. This will absolutely penalize the lower income people the most. Next time vote for substance over form.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  143. Lee Halyard

    JACK: CALL IT WHAT IT IS!!! OF course this would solve health care and every other financial woe in this nation. Its called THE FAIR TAX. The solution that our elected officials LOVE to ignore!!!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  144. Wheatfall, Arnold L.

    YES LORD!YES LORD! YES,YES LORD.
    I think this is an idea (?) whose time has long since pasted! Why in the blue bloody "heck" haven't we done this decades ago?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  145. Dr. Giorgio in Italy

    A national sales tax will only furher heighten the economic hardships the poor and middle classes presently are facing. A national sales tax will only cause diffulty in buying food products, needed farmaceuticals, and in paying bills. Only nationally government and state government programs directly reserved to help the unemployed, those with large families, those with inadequate shelter, and difficulties getting an education should receive support, including financial help! Welfare benefits, food stamp benefits, medicaid and medicare should all be increased for those in trouble! It's high time to stop the 2 present wars then U.S. is involved him. Even the space program has to be curtailed at this time. President Obama is showing great promise in his diplomatic efforts, and I believe he is going to help the American society!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  146. Fran Pennsylvania

    Is a national sales tax the answer to reducing deficits and paying for health care reform?

    Not really. One answer to health care reform is cracking down on fraud – disability fraud, workers' compensation fraud, welfare fraud, liability injury fraud. Too often we see this but nobody reports it. Everybody knows it, but nobody reports it. If the costs were calculated on these programs to cover fraudulent claims it would pay the National Debt.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  147. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    This is just another attack on the middle class.
    If this health care scheme works the most obvious class of people who would benifit would be the poor and needy.
    The rich don't care one way or the other.
    The middle class will just be hit with another tax it can't afford to pay and if they are lucky they may get free aspirin out of the deal.

    Wait a minute. Let's see. At an embarrasing $8.00 a bottle for aspirin and $5.00 for one aspirin in the hospital, they would never go for that deal.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  148. Graham Sterling

    If a VAT is created to replace the current tax code, then PLEASE do it tomorrow. Except for H&R Block & IRS employees, and possibly the makers of Zanex, does anyone like dealing with April 15th?

    Regardless of the tax rate President Obama wants to apply to use, the current tax system will always be unfair to the people who cannot afford to pay a CPA to do their taxes.

    If every working American is expected to pay taxes, then the system should be simple enough for everyone to understand. A tax code the size of War & Peace does not fit the bill.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  149. Bill from pa

    NO, most states have beat them to it, and another sales tax is going to be more than the folks in those states are likely to accept.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  150. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    YES! Those who oppose National healthcare have never been without healthcare nor in debt because of the high cost of healthcare!

    There is a lot of misinformation and lies being told about National Healthcare because some ..... mainly those who profit from healthcare..... do not want their "gold mines" touched!

    Statistic: Every .......30 seconds...... an American files for bankruptcy due to the high cost of healthcare.

    In the wealthiest, most powerful Nation on earth, healthcare should be a Right not a ....... privilege.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  151. eugene

    no national sales tax is not the answer i do not want him to mess up health care.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  152. Jack - Lancaster, OH

    Jack:

    One can learn a great deal from your question introduction articles.
    Okay the VAT has one downside, it might impact the poor to a greater extent, wow now thats new information about taxes. Then It will be good because it will scare (fear mongering) people into buying, forget if they have any money or not and this will greatly help shorten the recession. What about the suggestion that people tighten their belts? This is government logic to be sure! Finally that it "could" exempt many from paying income tax, that sounds like the IRA language that when you draw it out it will be taxed at a lower rate ! Heck, Iras are practically worthless, thanks ! There was no mention that this will REPLACE other taxes. This is a campaign effort not good government.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  153. French

    It's unfortunate, but I do see from calculations (as an educated actuary) that although not formally necessary, a national sales tax would be the easiest of the alternatives. Part of the real problem is the very bad timing of any added household-imposed reduction on income (another tax).

    May 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  154. Ray

    VAT can be used to gap our enormous deficit, but must have a time frame attached to it. However to support a national health care program is out of the question, this will bring with it another enormous tab not to mention a decrease in health care. I hope we don't go down this path without a time frame limitation to reduce the deficit and not to exceed that period no matter where our debt is at the end of the period agreed to.
    Ray

    May 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  155. Rob Buell

    Creating another tax? Are you kidding? If our government has proved one thing repeatedly over the years is that it is a lousy steward of taxpayer dollars and has no ability to effectively run social programs. Republicans. Democrats. Doesn't matter who is in charge.

    If anybody needs proof of that, look at the over ten trillion examples (dollars) taxpayers have been stuck with and/or the Social Security and Medicare trust funds that are running dry.

    I trust our current crop of politicians with nothing. Period.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  156. Mel - Rancho Mirage, California

    Of course Jack as long as it gets rid of the income tax for the middle and lower income people. This way there will be no cheating and everyone will pay their fair share. My fear is that they will still find a way to still charge people on their income. Between the government and the credit card companies the people will hit the wall again.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  157. Charles, Pittsburgh, PA

    As a new college grad – in physics no less – I have been unable to find a job and cannot afford health care. I would be more then willing to pay an increased sales tax if it meant that I and millions of others could now have health care. I trust the government to run a war, so I have no problem with them running my health care.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  158. Arnold

    Arnold from Los Angeles:

    We need another way to make the credit card companies even richer and this is the perfect way! Not only will I be paying interest on my actual purchases, I will also be paying interest on the new sales tax. An added bonus will be that our savings, money that has already been taxed by the IRS, will be taxed again by the new sales tax.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  159. Hector

    Whether we like it or not, "we" (the people) have to work with "them" (the politicians and government) to get us out of this mess.

    Americans don't like taxes, no one does, but, they ARE a necessity. Like it or not, taxes are going to go up to make up for the last 8 years of spending. Forget about Health Care for the moment, we have to handle the debt unless we want to become 100% economically owned by China.

    -Brooklyn, New York

    May 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  160. Bruce, Georgia

    Of course not, it's just not politically feasible to raise income taxes since voters just seem to want income taxes lowered rather than budgets balanced.
    However, personally i like the idea of VAT rather than income taxes. But as always the devil is in the details.
    Oh I even gave money to Steve Forbes for his bid for the Republican Presidential canidate when VAT was the center of his ideas before he became a fundamentalist ( conservative is the word usually used ) moralist for political reasons i presume.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  161. Mike

    NO, NO! a national sales tax or a VAT tax is regressive and only helps the rich. Certainly the ones who benefit the most from our wealth distribution should pay the most for distribution system that benefits them.

    A graduated progressive taxing system and a usage tax system (paying for local services) is the only fair system! I'll design you one

    May 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  162. JIM SHAUGHNESSY

    Does anyone know the difference between progressive and regressive taxes? Progressive systems tax people according to their ability to pay. Regressive tax sytems tax everyone the same. A sales tax is a prime example of a regressive tax system. I suspect that the only interest Republicans have is protecting their wealth and power. They are uncaring as to what is best for the majority of the people in our country.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  163. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    When you take into account we have a population of roughly 300 million people with a large segment still employed, a national sales tax shouldn't put a burden on anyone when the benefits are weighed. Accountability will be the key factor as proof the money will be used for it's intended purposes.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  164. Nancy, CA

    Yes and No!! I'll be the first one to agree that the deficit needs to be lowered and health care reform is badly needed, but out here in California, we are being taxed to the max!! Good old Arnold and the state legislature just increased our DMV fees, state sales tax, and state income tax recently. If the Federal government wants to abolish the personal income tax and replace it with a Federal sales tax instead, it might work. However, adding an additional tax to the mix right now will only serve to make everything worse economically for a lot of people.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  165. rob

    No it is not!! Our government has proved over and over again that if they "think" they will have a dime left over they will spend a dollar. This money will be wasted and squandered long before it does anybody any good. All this will do is overburden those who are already struggling.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  166. Taxpayer-NC

    The way Americans are taxed is not the issue here. The issue here is how our government is spending our money. We can be slapped with a VAT and rid ourselves of the income tax, however, it won't change they way our tax money is wasted.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  167. CJ

    I already don’t pay income taxes; I don’t make enough money to owe any. I do get a little EIC money back on my tax return. Now the government is planning to get that and more back in the form of proposed new sales tax. California State is already home to near 10% sales tax.

    They promise not to raise taxes and then promptly raises taxes—always on those who can least afford to pay. Anything but hit up those who sponsor politicians. “Soak the broke” is the Democratic Party’s real motto.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  168. Anne Mal

    Of course! It is one way to get taxes from all the illegal aliens who can't pay taxes (no Social security #) even if they want to (and many do). It is one way to move forward to financing health care which should be a number 1 priority.

    L.A., Ca

    May 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  169. Vasco

    We finally have responsible representation in the federal government, so if a value added tax can help the budget it's a good way to go. I don't hear any big complaints about paying taxes on liquor and cigarettes. Even "teabaggers" should like this one.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  170. Helen

    I make $1150.00 a month on Social Security my husband past away in 2005 and I pay $350.00 monthly for Cobra Health Insurance plus prescriptions and copays....please we need health care reform or I will not be able to afford this much longer.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  171. Gabriel from Hartford, CT

    Eliminate all the other 99 taxes we pay and OK, I'll pay the VAT.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  172. Joe Manduke

    National sales tax to help with universal health care? Good luck. Here in Canada we have both. Need an MRI, CT scan or a Doctor who can interpret the results?? This year?

    Not around here, even with our GST and "Universal Heath Care".

    Joe Manduke
    Summerside, Prince Edward Island

    May 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  173. Kirith Haria

    I am fascinated that an American president from the democratic party is willingly handing out money to American businesses as common day practices, but also wants to tax broke, unemployed people for health care. Is this house supposed to be democratic or republican?

    Kirith,
    Johannesburg, South Africa

    May 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  174. John Cannon

    I think the VAT is a great idea. Even drug dealers and people who work for cash will have to pay their fair share. But it is doomed to fail. To many special intrest groups like CPA's, real estate sales people, and even the IRS itself. Congress will pass a VAT when they get rid of earmarks.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  175. kerry diehl

    Call it what you want, it is still another tax the 95% of us were NOT supposed to have to pay.
    My guess is we’re ALL going to get hit with multiple new forms of taxes under a bunch of different names and categories.
    HELLOOOOO SOCIALISM, Goodbye Freedoms! Sure am glad I didn’t vote for him!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  176. Vasco, Cape Cod, Ma

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    We finally have responsible representation in the federal government, so if a value added tax can help the budget it’s a good way to go. I don’t hear any big complaints about paying taxes on liquor and cigarettes. Even “teabaggers” should like this one.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  177. Mike

    Absolutely not. I am sick and tires of hearing about financial responsibility and then seeing earmarks attached to EVERY bill that comes out of Congress. It astounds me that we are still building "bridges to nowhere" and spending billions of dollars on aircraft that the military says it does not need in order to protect some Congressman's job. There does not seem to be single person on the hill who puts country first. When I see congress making some sacrifices, I might be more willing to pay more tax, but that will never happen.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  178. marilyn ryder

    I think the national tax is a great idea, however, I do not think we should get rid of income tax. It would put many people out of work.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  179. Brian

    Yes! definitely the answer is a national sales tax. Our tax system is too complicated. there are too many ways out of paying for those who know. Tax luxury goods high. People will still buy. Not to mention how much money we waste each year funding the IRS. A national sales tax would fix our contries financial problem and simplify our finances. I would love the chance to vote on this.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  180. Richard Campbell

    This will just be another tax cut for the wealthy. People who have to spend all of their income to live would pay the majority of the taxes. This would be even worse than a flat tax. A higher tax rate on high income people is the right answer. If two percent of the people,( I won't say earn), receive 80% of the income, it is fair for them to pay 80% of the money necessary to run the country.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  181. Bob D of Morristown, NJ

    This sounds like a bad idea. Countries that have VATs don't have income tax. Since sales taxes are regressive, why not fix the loopholes in our current income tax structure to increase tax revenue from those who can afford it, instead of those who cannot..

    If an impending VAT will increase spending, and stimulate the economy, it stands to reason that once the VAT was implemented, spending, hence the economy, would recede.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  182. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    You wanna rub salt into an open wound Jack? Just add a huge VAT tax to teabags.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  183. K.camden

    I think a vat is the right way to go with paying for healtcare reform it works for 130 other countries why are we laging so far behind on this issue the president is right the time for healthcare reform is now

    May 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  184. Pat, Pa.

    Yes, I think it is a good idea. It would be a fair tax for all. You would only be taxed on what you buy. However, I WOULD NOT like to see it on food .

    May 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  185. Kellie

    National Value Added Tax (VAT). Really??? We're stationed in Germany. The German VAT is 19%. That's 19% added to everything you buy from German merchants. Is that really the road America want's to take? While stationed in Nebraska, we paid over 7% in local sales tax. Would a national VAT be an additional tax on top of local and state sales taxes that are already established? Holy Crap, people! You better pay attention to this one!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  186. Joe From Woodbridge

    VAT, MY BUTT!
    Lets cut back [or off] the monies we generously give to other countries for defense or whatever. Someone in goverment has to wake up.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  187. Jobless-California

    Less jobs and higher taxes? This is a very bad idea for a consumer nation. National tax added to state tax will raise the price on everything.

    I want to know what our government is doing to save American jobs. Charging the American citizens for the use of bad-business will ruin the lives of millions of hard working American citizens.

    It feels like big-business is stealing our money and our political system is supporting this tragedy. America was founded by hard working citizens. Where have all the hero's gone?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  188. Ann,Virginia

    Jack,I think a national sales tax is a great idea.If it comes to pass,maybe we can require Rush,Newt,Dick,Sarah & all their right wing cronies to pay double,since the republicans are mainly responsible for ignoring the economy for 8yrs.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  189. Oregon

    No, as it would hurt the working poor.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  190. Katiec Pekin, IL

    We definitely need more revenue due to our economy and a national sales tax is the only fair way to do it. That way everyone has to pay the same and cannot get out of it with iffy accounting practices.
    For those who say no more taxes, our country has never been in the desperation it is today and it is going to take the support of us all
    to resolve. And this will be sacrifice by all, not just the middle and
    lower class.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  191. Jacqueline Mongeot

    The National Sales Tax, also called Added Value Tax has been in vigor in several countries for several years , I am familiar with France TVA for instance. That tax is NOT added to food items, prescribed drugs and other vital items. The percentage varies with the nature of the purchased products, for example it may reach 25% for luxury items like perfume, furs, etc. and may be minimal for not vitally indispensable but necessary items. These countries need funds to pay for health care and/ or other benefits which ALL citizens without discrimination enjoy. The idea certaimly needs to be explored and explained before rejecting it. For instance,everyone wants and needs Health Care accessible to all regardless of existing pre-condition or special treatments; This program may be expensive although not necessarily higher than what most Americans have now It would be a way to set up a program similar to that of most European countries.
    Jacqueline San Diego CA

    May 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  192. vern-anaheim,ca

    jack,we have to try something toget out of this mess bush and his administration caused.i don't which is the best way to try to get out of this mess but i do know if nothing is done to try to avilate the mess we're in nothing will happen and only make things worse

    May 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  193. Gino

    Gosh, a tax hike from the Dems??!! I'm not a Republican, but I have reservations about such a precedent. Although I'm an American citizen, all my children have dual citizenship and going to Canada with my Canadian wife and spending money is no picnic. They have the GST, Goods and Services Tax, and adopted this decades ago as a short-term measure to stimulate the economy and pare down the budget. Well, they still have this tax and it's a whopping 15% when you add in the provincial taxes. Ouch! I would only favor it if it were a realistic short-term solution, and not another political fix against a tyrannical government out of control because of endless wars and runaway Wall Street greed.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  194. Susan in Canada

    To some of your readers who think that countries with a VAT have only one tax: you are wrong. In Canada we have a VAT known as GST (goods and services tax) PLUS we have provincial sales taxes. So it's not a case of one or the other. It's an additional tax on top of whatever state and local taxes you already pay. And I don't agree with the statement that it affects the poor more than anyone else. It affects everyone dollar for dollar based on what you spend. Let's face it: there are less taxpayers and more debt. The government is borrowing more than they will ever be able to pay back. Anyone who thinks this can continue without additional taxation is living in la-la land.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  195. Annie Hahn

    Perhaps a system similar to what the Canadian government uses would help raise funds without overburdening the poor. Things like food purchased in a grocery store, childrens clothing and medical supplies are exempt. Also people below a certain income level can apply for a rebate. Sure we complain about paying the tax but none of us would trade our medical system for any amount of tax relief. I grew up in the US and I've stayed in Canada because of the wonderful healthcare.
    Abbotsford, BC

    May 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  196. Paul from Charles Town, WV

    It seems like more grabbing at straws to fix healthcare and reduce deficits. Good grief! Do if they have to complicate this by changing income tax tables? Why can't they just place a VAT on luxury goods, particularly those dentrimental to the health of people and the planet in general. That could include everything from candy, liquor, sportscars, pools, video games, tobacco, soda, big screen t.v.s...and anything that can easily be defined as goods above and beyond the necessity of common sustenance. Discourage the purchasing of stuff making us sick, lazy, ignorant and eccentric.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  197. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    Jack
    I have advocated for this for years !! It's common sense when you look at all the people who work "under the table" and do their business on the streets like drug sales and prostitutes. They always seem to buy very expensive cars and jewelry etc. because they pay no income tax. The only downside is how complicated it would be to switch from one tax system to another but can be done gradually by reducing income tax 5% and instituting a 5% sales tax at the same time. That way it would not be an additional tax on anybody.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  198. Harry Evans

    The Fair Tax ensures that American workers will see a huge boost in their take-home pay as all federal withholding and payroll taxes are eliminate. The Fair Tax eliminates capital gains and corporate taxes making the U.S. the most favorable business environment in the world. The Fair Tax removes federal taxes on the poor and the middle-class sees dramatic reductions in tax burdens under the Fair Tax. It eliminates income taxes and payroll deductions and the Interal Revenue Service. No tax returns to file.
    The Fair Tax is simple, transparent and fair. We ought to go for it.
    Harry

    May 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  199. Richard Schafer

    I am infavor of this vat tax only if it replaces all income taxes, but I think it would hurt capital heavy item purchases greatly,ie. automobile purchases. It also would lower the purchasing power of the lower income earners.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  200. paul

    jack , you have to be kidding about a national sales tax, we have sales taxes in most states, i live in ny , and we are going broke, bring more money into the gov't and gov't will spend it and we will still be in debt. look at the statistics, my state of ny is broke and we have a sales tax of over 8%. there is no such thing as free money or using it for it's intended purposes, we have a lottery for the education of ny children and thAT MONEY GOES INTO THE GENERAL FUND IN NY, WHY WOULD THE FED GOV'T BE any better.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  201. Sharon in NM

    Firstly, I believe that a VAT is more fair than the current system because we poor people don't spend as much as wealthy people, and so will not pay as much in taxes. Furthermore, it seems that the higher the tax bracket, the more the available loopholes and exemptions, which effectively reduces the tax rates of wealthier people.

    Secondly, imagine the millions (billions?) of tax-payers' dollars that would be saved upon dismantling the IRS.

    Thirdly, due to the outrageous complexity of the tax code, we the people are virtually forced to pay millions (billions?) to experts to prepare our tax returns (and they often get it wrong, too). That onerous financial burden would be relieved.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  202. Dennis Gordon

    I am a retired person on a fixed income. I am already on medicare, so the VAT would be of no benefit and effectively lower my income on which I barely survive.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  203. Doug Wayne

    A National Sales Tax is the only way to fix our deficit and deal with reforming the health care system. Think about it for crying out loud...everyone pays! No loopholes. Crooks, Drug dealers, Ilegal aliens (not that some of them don't already pay and don't get reimbursed) Even the smartest billionaire won't have a loophole to jump through. Oh...and if you are worried about your "refund check" Don't forget that the IRS kept your damn money all year long and are finally giving it back to you. Wake up! Do away with the IRS forever.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  204. Dan from Alliance, OH

    The problem is the only way to finance good health insurance on a national level will require taxes. Not sure about a sales tax I would rather see a flat income tax. Sales taxes hurts the buying power of the poor.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  205. jim Toronto

    We have a VAT here in Canada which has been and always will be a tax grab.
    Adding 13% to every purchase is painful and the bigger the ticket item the more painful it gets. I can tell you right now, that Americans are not going to like it one bit. But, on the other hand Americans are going to need some painful remedies to get out of the mess that the States is in.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  206. Paul from Charles Town, WV

    Jack, I think we just need to tax anything that has the potential to make people sick and unproductive. If people wish to drink beer, smoke ciggerettes, eat junk food, play video games, and drive a gas guzzler, they should have to pay a premium to offset the healthcare costs and detrimental effect to the environment associated with this behavior. Why should I have to pay more taxes for my broccoli and Toyota Corolla?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  207. Mark in Arkansas

    If it replaces personal income tax, yes it's good. If a sales tax curbs our excessive spending, so what? We overspend as it is, that's what's gotten us into the mess we're in. Not to mention, trying to determine a fair income tax through all of the loopholes and deductions is like nailing jello to a wall. Level it on a sales tax and it's equal for everyone.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  208. jc smoots in tulsa

    not enough info! Adding to the (most) state sales taxes seems overly burdensome to the lower income brackets, as some people just don't get, most of our income is devoted to household purchases, raising the taxes on these things will impact us much, much harder than the middle to upper brackets. For us (the poor), making keeping up even harder and saving impossible. For anyone who gets sick it would pay off but most people aren't in that situation, if they were health care would have been fixed long ago. If implemented fairly somehow then anything to help our economy would be good but higher taxes on household goods sure seems to not have an upside for the poor.
    One thing, how we take care of ALL the people defines how civilized we are in the eyes of the entire world. Since 1980 we have gotten worse and worse at that and now we are paying for it.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  209. Karl in Canada

    I read through the comments of others and cannot believe how you all think that taxes are a neccessity, they are not, you only have been led to think they are. America is already bankrupt due to the actions of the bankers and wether you know it or not the Fedral Reserve is not Federal, it's a private bank and your paying the owners interest..!! America and the other countries of the world can fix the financial problem by stopping the banking system as it is and changing to a greenback system like your great grandparents were using very effectively during Lincolns presidency. look it up, it's your history..

    May 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  210. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: I don't think a national sales tax is the way. Part of the cost for healthcare is going to be coming from reinstating the tax rates during the Clinton era. There's no magic bullet. It will need to be a combination of funding.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  211. Luke in Missouri

    Jack, it may not be the best idea to jump-start the economy. Serious time and thought should be given to this proposal... something our Congress may not be good at. But if serious tax reform takes place, and the government establishes a national sales tax, then income tax and other forms of tax collection could be phased out. Ultimately, the IRS and other government cash-cows could be eliminated. This will result in a cut in spending, which will make many Republi-can'ts very happy. It will also increase revenue. Coupled together, these two truths may create a perfect storm for health care reform, while providing wiggle room to pay down the national debt while also cutting the deficit.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  212. Anna

    If 10 precent of taxpayers make 90 percent of taxable wages and pay 50 % of tax obligations and 40% of people do not pay any taxes then 50% of peple that make 10% of taxable vages pay 50% of tax obligations. This means that for every 100 dollars I make I pay 50 dollars in taxes and top 10% of people for every 100 dollars pay 11 dollars in taxes. We need fair tax.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  213. Charlie in NJ

    This might work if the money was used to reduce the deficit. However, as with most taxes once the government gets their hands on our money they will spend it on whatever they want. So bottom line this will not work.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  214. Evelyn McDonald

    At one time I would have considered a national tax a great idea. With all the price hikes recently I no longer feel that way. I have my hair done at a beauty shop every week. My hair dresser has had to raise her prices twice in recent years due to increase in her products price increase and rent increases. Adding a tax will increase my cost which means I will probably will have to give up my weekly visits and go every other week. This in turn will cause her income to drop. We, as consumers, can take only so much increase before we have to give something up.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  215. nancye moses

    Can it be that people's anger and and anxiety will actually produce Common Sense..a tax that can't be avoided if you're rich enough to hire a lawyer to get around it...a tax that might help cure some shopaholics...a tax that doesn't require pages and pages of instructions to figure out how much you owe....Good Heavens..tell me I'm not dreaming. AVT! AVT!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  216. Tino

    No to decreasing national deficit, yes to healthcare.

    Tino, NYC

    May 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  217. Seth Pedigo Bowling Green KY

    I would say it would Jack. Our nations fits the definition of "calamity." I'm a 21 year old putting myself through school and I dont have insurance because I keep getting rejected by healthcare companies, due to a visit to a rehab center WHEN I WAS 17! I have been clean for almost 4 whole years, I"m a big risk right. Here I'm wanting give money to somebody to help them pay their debt off and they reject me. But then again it might work because they throw taxes in EVERYTHING, for example I had to pay for my cup of water in AL... Jack we need to start worshiping principles and not people.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  218. Dick Odonnell

    Sir Jack:
    I've read the book "Fair Tax" it sounds like a good idea. Most products already have the cost of the tax built into the product. Getting
    rid of the IRS- would be a God send to everyone.
    As a retired person -everytime I take money out of an IRA – I must then
    pay an ADDITIONAL tax on the Social Security money for that year.
    The normal tax on the ira + the additional tax on the normal S.S for
    that year. My pension is less than 20K a year.
    The VAT tax seems to be a fair way fro the Government to get money
    to run the country & would remove all the loop holes that are in the
    current system- Tax Lawyers would lose a lot of money- but that sounds like a good thing.
    sincerely

    DICKOD

    May 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  219. Carol - Fort Worth Texas

    No, a blanket national sales tax on everything is not the answer. Young families and the poor will be taxed disproportionally. Our leaders just need to be BRAVE enough to bite the bullet and end all of the pork projects that do not have immediate value – bovine flatulence studies..really !...bridges to nowhere! I could go on and on, but everyone knows what these are and how much they cost. Why can't our leaders just say "no" to wasteful spending. When we get our economy under control, then maybe we revisit some the projects that need to be put off now.

    Don't punish us all for the mistakes of a few!!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  220. Jack

    It's simpler than that ,Jack. The government should simply nationalize everyone's income. Why settle for 5%? Just take it all.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  221. Tom in Dubuque Iowa

    Give them all that money, and they'll do with it like they did with Social Security Trust fund; squander it for some pork barrell project!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  222. Carolyn S. in Butte Montana

    If well-thought out( a huge if) , a national sales tax in lieu of income tax would not be a bad idea.However,I do not believe food and medicine should be taxed.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  223. Matthew Schmitz Oxnard, CA

    No, the answer is to get all the Democrats in Obama's Administration to pay there taxes and we will be able to afford Universal healthcare.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  224. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    More taxes on the rich wealthy elitists of this nation is the only form of additional taxes this nation can bear. They should tax the hell out of the idiots who wanted to wage war against Iraq as well as the GOP fools who were against regulation of Wall Street and other industries. If our government continues to burden the middle class of this nation then it is simply going to disappear and the USA will look more like Mexico.

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    May 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  225. Ronald Scott Colson

    We would exit this recession in record time because, without income tax, we would keep every dollar we earned at the same time that the cost to buy things would drop dramatically. That's because corporations don't pay income taxes. They just raise the price of what they sell to us to cover their income taxes. Without any income tax, corporations would have to lower their prices to remain competitive while we would have more money to spend to buy their products. Win-win!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  226. George Owrey

    The sales tax should be only paid on items made outside the USA. The great push to have free trade urged on by so called "economist" like Greenspan who now admits he made mistakes. The economic theory of substution need only apply when we have full or near full employment. Our manufacturers cannot be competitive while paying for employees health care. A sales tax would be well worth considering. We need a one payer plan now.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  227. Mageen, Northern Virginia - The unreal America

    Swap sales tax burden for health care? Wait a minute! There are actually people who have never had to see a doctor in their entire lives (at least since the delivery room). They started out healthy and remain so. They may be a small percentage of the entire population but where is the equity in this swap for such a minority? And we are a country that is supposed to care about minorities, remember?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  228. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Yws, but make it a smart national sale tax and do not put it on food, medication and heating cost to keep the basic needs more affordable.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  229. Trevor

    How about the Federal Goverment learn to stay within a budget and remember it is not there job to take care of everyones wants and needs. They are over grown and bloated and if we give them more of our money it wont change anything they will just get bigger and spend it and ask for more.

    They need to cut some of the spending they have now, balance a budget and find away to pay for the bare minimum that the central government is suppose to take care of, then maybe ill consider giving them some more.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  230. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Yes, but make it a smart national sale tax and do not put it on food, medication and heating cost to keep the basic needs more affordable.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  231. Jonah from Canada

    Jack, we have one here in Canada, and boy was it unpopular! It was introduced in the early '90's, and the government was thrown out of office in the next election. Good luck to President Obama if he wants to introduce that one!

    May 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  232. Kent Wallace

    Yet another attempt to tax the US to death as promised by every Democrat. Obama said he would not raise taxes and here he goes again trying to increase our taxes.

    This is a tax that would slow down an economy in trouble already. Does anyone out there understand supply side economics and how it works? Increasing the volume of transactions to create more income for everyone. This tax would slow them down bringing unemployment to new levels.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  233. happy girl

    Higher taxes are the answer for every problem our country is facing. After all, with tax money, there's always plenty more where that came from.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  234. Rory Murray, San Bernardino, CA

    Jack!
    The United States should eliminate State and Federal Income Tax and enact a nationwide 20% sales tax. This way the rich, who buy more, would pay a higher percentage of taxes. And the Illegal Immigrants, who pay NO INCOME TAX would finally start paying their fair share of the great finacial strain they put us through. Also tax the remittance sent to their "countries of origin".
    Rory M.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  235. Chris Champagne

    Jack, I believe the national sales tax is a good idea. Our country loses too much each year to unpaid income taxes. Provided it can be implemented fairly and with very little possibility of fraud, it has the potential to improve our national bottom line and eliminate the bulk of our nightmarish federal income tax code.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  236. Kellie

    I didn't even consider a VAT being added to property and income taxes...

    Additional taxation without representation is not the answer to our country's economic or social problems. It is simply redistribution of wealth at the hands of those who are unqualified to make those kinds of decisions. "Animal Farm" comes to mind...
    ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
    BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

    Do you want to be in control of your destiny, or do you want the government to put you in your place?

    May 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  237. val

    A " Value Added Tax " and a " Sales Tax " are not the same thing at all. Value added is incremental taxation from raw materials to finished goods only on direct costs that enhance a product. Sales tax is a Retail arbitrary percentage related to revenues needed. The problem is too many "scribers" & "spinners" who really don't know much.

    May 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  238. Terry from Illinois

    The VAT is not a good idea. Rather see each tax-payer pay 0.5% of wages to create money for healthcare.
    The rich can help pay more and the poor would not be as affected. A person making $40,000 a year would pay about $200 bucks a year, $400,000 a year pay about $2000 a year and $4,000,000 a year would pay $20,000 which is very minimal for full healthcare.

    May 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm |