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Public Statements

The Fair Tax

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, it's always nice to come to the House floor after someone has just said ``God bless America.'' It makes me feel good, sir, and I want to associate myself with those remarks.

Candidly, I'm a little worried about what happens here in this country. Mr. Speaker, I know you have the pleasures I do of seeing all the folks from across America who come here to see the procedures that go on here on the House floor, and I know folks often wonder and probably ask you, Mr. Speaker, Where is everybody? What's going on? Well, of course, with the exception of those of us on the House floor, everybody is in their office watching on the closed-circuit TV so you can multitask and do it all. I came down here to bring words to those folks who are watching on TV.

But really, Mr. Speaker, it's about the youngest folks we have in the country. It's about the economy that you and I are going to leave to the next generation of Americans. And we can do things here in this House today that guarantee a better economy in the years to come. Right now--right now--I don't tweet. I don't use Twitter. I'm not that interesting that I have something to say to folks every moment of the day, but if I were tweeting, I would say that right now in the Joint Economic Committee there's a hearing on fundamental tax reform, asking the question can tax reform boost investment and job creation? And the answer is absolutely, it can.

Here, in this country, what we tax, we destroy. Think about that. The power to tax is the power to destroy.

Mr. Speaker, when I go to speak to high school students, I say, okay, I've got a $20-an-hour job working in my congressional office. Who wants to come work for me? Everybody raises their hand. I said, I'm going to need to tax you about $19 an hour on that, so you're only going to get to take home 1. Who wants to come work for me? And all the hands go down. The hands go down because they don't want to work for $1 an hour. They want to keep what they earn.

The power to tax is the power to destroy. Today, in this country, we tax income. We are the only Nation in the OECD that does not have a consumption tax. We tax income. And when you tax income, which is productivity, you destroy productivity.

I have a proposal that is the most widely cosponsored fundamental tax reform proposal in either the House or the Senate, and it's called the Fair Tax. It's H.R. 25 here on the House side. And I have the great pleasure of working with so many of my colleagues to push that bill forward. It abolishes the income tax in favor of a consumption tax.

Now, when we're in a tough economy like this, folks say, But Rob, I'm cutting back on my consumption. Would we still be able to bring in the revenue that we need with a consumption tax? Well, I bring charts. What you see here in the blue line is personal consumption, and what you see in the red line is personal income. The red line represents what we tax in the income tax, and the blue line represents what we would tax in the consumption tax. And what you see are two things. Number one, they are roughly the same--roughly the same.

Yes, we can tax consumption and bring in the same revenue we get today by taxing income, but when they're different, it's because the volatility of the income is greater than the volatility of consumption. When you tax income, all you get to tax is income. When you tax consumption, you end up taxing income, plus savings people are spending, plus borrowing that they're doing. It's a much more stable tax.

Why is that important? Mr. Speaker, what you know in your time here in the House, as I know from my time here in the House, is that if you give this House more money, we're going to spend it. I don't want to spend it. I wish we wouldn't. And I'm going to vote ``no,'' but I'm going to lose.

If you tax something that's volatile, in the boom years, the money comes pouring in. Do you think we save it for a rainy day? We don't. We spend it. And then when the down year comes, folks are accustomed to a high spending level. What do we do? We borrow it from our children and our grandchildren and spend it anew.

Having a stable income stream that doesn't have the highs and doesn't have the lows will lead to a better Federal budgeting process. And taxing consumption, which is what we take out of the economy, instead of taxing the income, which is what we put into the economy, will grow it;

Mr. Speaker, a few years ago, the Joint Tax Committee here did a study and said, How would we evaluate consumption tax? We don't even have a model for it. How would we do it if we did away with the income tax and brought in the consumption tax? They brought in economic groups from the left and the right. Of course they disagreed about absolutely everything, those groups from the left to the right, all the way across the spectrum, except for one thing, Mr. Speaker. Every single economic model and group agreed that if we moved to a consumption tax from today's income tax, America's economy would grow faster.

Mr. Speaker, every dollar we can grow, every job we can create, they matter today. And I encourage folks to take a look at H.R. 25, the Fair Tax, as a mechanism for making that happen.

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