Ben Carson on Tax Reform
Tea Party challenger in Republican primary
CARSON: I didn't say that the rate would be 10%; I used the tithing analogy. The rate is going to be much closer to 15%.
Q: 15% still leaves you with a $1.1 trillion hole.
CARSON: You also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes. You also have to do some strategic cutting in several places. Remember, we have 645 federal agencies and subagencies. Anybody who tells me that we need every penny in every one of those is in a fantasy world.
Q: You would have to cut government by about 40% to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole.
CARSON: It's not true.
Q: It is true. I looked at the numbers.
CARSON: When we put all the facts down, you will be able to see that it works out very well.
Gov. KASICH: We're going to have a 10% tithe, and just fix everything with waste, fraud, and abuse? Folks, we've got to wake up!
CARSON: It's all about America. You know, the people who say "the guy who paid $1 billion because he had $10 billion, he has still got $9 billion left, that's not fair, we need to take more of his money." That's called socialism. That doesn't work so well. What made America into a great nation was the fact that we said, that guy just put in $1 billion, let's create an environment that's even more conducive to his success so that next year he can put in $2 billion. And that's the kind of thing that helps us to grow. We can't grow by continuing to take a piece of pie, and dividing it, and redistributing it.
Q: Do you support the FairTax, like Governor Huckabee?
CARSON: I'm evaluating the FairTax, and I'm talking to the American people.
A: I want things to be fair for everybody. When you do things on a proportional basis, it works very well. 10% is an easy number to use because it's easy to do the calculations. But you know, you make $10 billion, you pay a billion. Now there are a lot of people that say that's a problem because the guy still has got $9 billion left and we need to take more of his money. But that's called socialism. But the problem with socialism is that it ends up looking the same, with a small group of elite at the top, and a rapidly diminishing middle class and a vastly expanded dependent class. That's not America.
Q: So include low earners as taxpayers?
A: When you have a tax system that includes everybody, it's very difficult for the politicians to engage in raising taxes.
CARSON: What we have to think about is, "How do we fix the economy so that it encourages entrepreneurial risk taking and capital investment? How do we create a ladder that allows those people in the lower income brackets to move up that ladder?" That's what we need to be concentrating on. Not how do we make them comfortable in that situation. That's not what America was all about. And we can do that.
CARSON: I say the thing that is really impacting that person making $30,000 or $40,000 is all of the regulations that we're coming up with. Every single regulation costs us in terms of goods and services. It increases the price of everything. Who gets hit by that the most? The people in the lower economic brackets. That's what we need to be concentrating on. Those are things that are driving income gap
HUCKABEE: We can get rid of the Internal Revenue Service if we would pass the FairTax, and move power back where the founders believed it should have been all along.
Q: Dr. Carson, do you agree with that?
CARSON: What I agree with is that we need a significantly changed taxation system. And the one that I've advocated is based on tithing, because I think God is a pretty fair guy. And he said, you know, if you give me a tithe, it doesn't matter how much you make. If you've had a bumper crop, you don't owe me triple tithes. And if you've had no crops at all, you don't owe me no tithes. So there must be something inherently fair about that. And that's why I've advocated a proportional tax system. You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. And everybody gets treated the same way. And you get rid of the deductions, you get rid of all the loopholes. And I have a lot more to say about it.
CARSON: I like the idea of a proportional tax. That way you pay according to your ability. And I got that idea from the Bible, tithing. You make $10 billion a year, you pay $1 billion. You make $10 a year, you pay $1. And also, if everybody is paying, it makes it very difficult for these politicians to come along and raise taxes. It's easy to raise it on 1 percent or 2 percent or 5 percent. It's very difficult to raise it on 100 percent.
Q: Low and middle- income families would get a big tax hike, while wealthy families would actually get a tax cut.
CARSON: I don't agree with that assessment, let me put it that way, because I've been in contact with many economists. And, in fact, if you eliminate loopholes and deductions, then you're really talking about a rate somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent.
We don't necessarily have to do 10% but it's the principle. He didn't say if your crops fail, don't give me any tithe or if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithe. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in one. Of course you've got to get rid of the loopholes. Some people say, 'Well that's not fair because it doesn't hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made 10.' Where does it say you've got to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs.
Critics complain that the poor guy who puts in $1 will be hurt more than the rich guy who puts in $1 billion. But, Carson asks: "Where does it say you've got to hurt the [rich] guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands."
The Constitution is quite clear that the government has the right to tax in order to support its programs, but there is nothing in the Constitution to support redistribution of wealth. Some proponents of big government get around this by creating many programs and then argue that these have to be supported by taxes. In this way they redistribute wealth according to their agenda. As a society we need to be mature enough to recognize that the wealthy in this nation provide many opportunities for those who are not rich by creating jobs and paying taxes.
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