Hastert Book Says GOP Plans to Abolish IRS

Hastert Book Says GOP Plans to Abolish IRS
September 1, 2004

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) wrote in a new book that congressional Republicans plan to push for elimination of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if President Bush is elected to a second term.

The Drudge Report revealed on August 1 that Hastert's recently published book, Speaker: Lessons From Forty Years in Coaching and Politics, discloses a plan by Bush and the GOP Congress to replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax.

"People ask me if I'm really calling for the elimination of the IRS," Hastert writes. "I say I think that's a great thing to do for future generations of Americans."

IRS Abolished

A growing number of members of Congress have become supporters of the so-called Fair Tax, a national sales tax on new consumer items. U.S. Reps. John Lindner (R-Georgia) and Steve King (R-Iowa) have been vocal supporters of the plan, and Lindner already has introduced such a plan in Congress.

"By adopting a sales tax, ... we could begin to change productivity," Hastert writes. "If you can do that, you can change gross national product and start growing the economy. You could double the economy over the next fifteen years.

"All of a sudden, the problem of what future generations owe in Social Security and Medicare won't be so daunting anymore," Hastert continues. "The answer is to grow the economy, and the key to doing that is making sure we have a tax system that attracts capital and builds incentives to keep it here instead of forcing it out to other nations."

King, who campaigned on the sales tax proposal during his first run for Congress in 2002, said he believes the measure would pass if Bush were to get behind it during his second term. He also believes that once taxpayers understand the ramifications of the change, they will embrace it.

"We need to stop taxing productivity," King told Talon News on August 2. "As Ronald Reagan said, whatever you tax, you get less of. I believe we should give taxpayers a one-year moratorium on withholding tax and let them keep everything they earn while trying the Fair Tax. Do that and they will never go back to the old system."

Hastert admits the change won't be an easy thing to accomplish.

"Pushing reform legislation will be difficult," he writes. "Change of any sort seldom comes easy. But these changes are critical to our economic vitality and our economic security abroad."

A recent poll reported by Talon News indicated 93 percent of respondents want to see the current federal tax system replaced by a sales tax or flat-rate income tax. Only 1 percent expressed a preference that the current system be left in place unchanged.


Doug Patton (dpatton@neonramp.com) is a reporter for Talon News (http://gopusa.com). An earlier version of this article appeared on Talon News. Reprinted with permission.