When the vote for leadership of the House debacle took place and finally came to a conclusion with the selection of Kevin McCarthy, it was hard to know exactly what he had agreed to do in exchange for the votes. It was clear that ill-advised committee assignments and carte blanche wasteful investigations into penis pictures of former vice presidents’ children would be a part of the deal. But what else had the so-called Freedom Caucus demanded for their acquiescence? Public canings? New committees like the ‘Marjorie Taylor Greene is the Bestest Person House Committee On Being CrossFit’?
One thing that became clear very quickly: McCarthy’s desperation to have the title of House speaker meant more to him than having any convictions. An example of his clear powerlessness in whatever deals he agreed to were reports that he would bring a ludicrous tax proposal for a vote on the House floor. It’s the Fair Tax Act, a deal first created as a way to get out of taxes by the Church of Scientology, back before they were finally granted tax-exempt status for their religion in 1993. Before then, the Fair Tax Act was called the national retail sales tax (NRST) and was promoted by Scientology by way of Citizens for an Alternative Tax System.
The basic idea is to do away with all of the taxes that might affect anyone with money and put all of those taxes on retail—passing off tax burdens on to consumers and making the lives of people with the least amount of money far more miserable. It is an easy tax plan to dismiss because it is such a transparently terrible idea. It has also been kept off the floor of the House by both political parties because it is a no-win plan for virtually everyone, including big business.
The Democratic Party has been playing offense in pointing out how bottomless the Republican Party’s hypocrisy is at this point and on Wednesday night, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana went on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to make it very clear what he and Americans think about this conservative giveaway.
RELATED STORY: There’s lots of reasons this ridiculous national sales tax bill never made it to the House floor
This plan has always been dead on arrival in the Senate—if it could make it to the Senate. This isn’t the first or second time the Republican Party has dusted off this turd of a tax giveaway to the rich. During the Bush Jr. years, people like former Sens. John McCain and “lazy” Fred Thompson promoted it, as did Christian conservative loser Mike Huckabee. The real reason Republican leadership has never wanted to bring it to the floor is they didn’t want to force their party to point out how shitty an idea it is, and risk alienating their most nihilist tea party-cum-MAGA base.
One thing about the Big Sky State is that while they may have some Democratic leanings, they also do not like federal intervention in most things—especially made-up sales taxes. Sen. Tester explains how simple this tax is to understand: “It's a sales tax, but the truth is, we do not want sales tax in Montana. And we do not want the federal government telling us oh no, you have no say over this, we are going to drive one down your throat.” Another issue Tester pointed to was that it would hurt working people’s pockets before anything else. “Because it will increase costs. It will hurt business. It will really hurt working families across our state. And I'll tell you, it's not the right thing to do.”
But how does he really feel about it? “I think quite frankly it's a silly doggone idea and like I said, over my dead body. We will fight every day until this thing goes down to defeat.”
RELATED STORY: McCarthy’s bad deals coming to light, including a promised vote on the most ridiculous tax bill ever
Listen to the latest episode of The Downballot podcast for an in-depth analysis of the 2024 Arizona Senate race and the implications of Kyrsten Sinema's re-election decision. Special guest Victoria McGroary, the Executive Director of BOLD PAC, will also discuss the efforts to prevent losses among Hispanic voters and the fight against disinformation in Spanish language media.