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Wetterling's New Ad: "Michele Bachmann: Radical Ideas We Can't Afford"

Commenter Karl stated below that he'd seen the new Wetterling ad. I checked and it's now up on her website, entitled "More."

The ad says that Bachmann supports a 23% national sales tax, and concludes, "Michele Bachmann: Radical Ideas We Can't Afford."

This is a claim I had not heard before. I did some searches and I can't find Bachmann explicitly making this claim. It's certainly not on the "economy and taxes" page of her website.

[UPDATE]: Here is the solid source for the ad's claim.

Bachmann did mention a national consumption tax in a Star Tribune candidate profile dated 2/21/06:

[Bachmann] says the federal tax system is "totally broken," and "in need of a complete overhaul." She would consider the elimination of federal income taxes, to be replaced by a national consumption tax.

And here's a quote from a debate between the candidates for the Republican nomination:

Michele Bachmann: "...we are now at a time where we are, very realistically, looking at a consumption tax vs. an income tax. And the whole difference behind this is that people would really feel the burden of the tax increases, and they would choose how they want to proceed."

I can't find her making the solid claim to "support" a national consumption tax, and nowhere does she mention that 23% number. I can't see a source in the ad, either; perhaps it is too small to be read in the tiny internet version.

[UPDATE]: Here is the solid source for the ad's claim.

IP candidate John Binkowski is the only candidate I've found to have put out the 23% national sales tax idea. He gets it from the "Fair Tax" plan proposed by Rep. John Linder of Georgia, which has over 60 co-sponsors. Perhaps Bachmann made the claim to support that at one of the recent debates, I don't know.

I was going to write a post a while back detailing the fallacies of Binkowski's plan, but it never caused much of a splash so I held off. I would refer you to this article by Media Matters on the many fallacies of the "Fair Tax" plan.

For one thing, the 23 percent figure is calculated by the "tax-exclusive" method; using our current "tax-inclusive" method the sales tax rate would be 30%. Also, the recent Bush administration Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform concluded that the tax rate would have to be even higher to make it truly "revenue-neutral":

In their submission to the Panel, proponents of the FairTax claimed that a 30 percent tax exclusive sales tax rate would be sufficient not only to replace the federal income tax, but also to replace all payroll taxes and estate and gift taxes and fund a universal cash grant. In contrast, the Treasury Department concluded that using the retail sales tax to replace only the income tax and provide a cash grant would require at least a 34 percent tax-exclusive rate.

Some may wonder why the tax rate estimated by FairTax advocates for replacing almost all federal taxes (representing 93 percent of projected federal receipts for fiscal year 2006, or $2.0 trillion) is so much lower than the retail sales tax rate estimated by the Treasury Department for replacing the income tax alone (representing 54 percent of projected federal receipts for fiscal year 2006, or $1.2 trillion).

In conclusion, John Binkowski is supporting some bad legislation and is not being straight with the voters when he proposes this 23 percent sales tax plan. If Michele Bachmann supports it, or has in the past, she is also guilty.

As of right now, with no proof that Bachmann concretely "supports" this proposal, I have to say I'm disappointed in the Wetterling campaign or the consultants who decided this ad was necessary. I suspect they're trying to counter Bachmann's recent "Accomplishments" ad that talked exclusively about taxes, but there are better ways to make taxes an issue. Why not talk about Bachmann's do-nothing record in the State Senate, or how extending the Bush tax plan hurts the middle class instead of helping it. Then contrast that with Patty's own middle-class tax plan.

The Wetterling campaign could have stayed above the negativity of Bachmann and the NRCC; now they've waded into it. I think this could be a poor campaign move.

I will wait for a source on the Bachmann 23% claim; until then I'm reserving judgement. I do like the line, "Michele Bachmann: Radical Ideas We Can't Afford." It could have been made in a better way.

[UPDATE]: Here is the solid source for the ad's claim.


I just going to start looking for Bachmann's views on the sales tax. I seem to recall her saying she was at least interested in the idea. Anything that lowered taxes was ok with her.

Certainly, she is not going around campaiging on it.

And yes, there are arguments both for and against it. Obviously lawmakers would not want to do it in such a way that would greatly increase the tax burden.

Some say the burden would fall more on the poor, but there are ways to address that, such as giving them some kind of refund.

On the plus side, a person can choose what they spend, and so can lower their own tax burden, rather than being at the mercy of the federal tax code.

I'll give you points for not being a cheerleader for the ad.

how does GWB's tax plan hurt the middle class? You canNOT blame his tax reductions for the deficit...Fed revenues have skyrocketed..it isnt that we are taxed too little, but, rather, that the government spends too much..... Are you going to call a spade a spade, in that, Wetterling is a liar?

Wetterling is teling it like it is. "How does GWB's tax plan hurt the middle class.. ?. . . Fed. revenues have skyrocketed." The definition of a deficits is spending more than you are taking in. The Bush tax cuts are directly responsible for the unprecedented deficits which will not be paid off for generations. They have not stimulated any economic growth. The country is not adding jobs especially paying a living wage that can keep up. That's one of the reasons you have taxes to help direct investment and growth in decent jobs.

The national sales tax is a terrible, unfair tax idea which would rob from the poor to support the coupon clipping rentiers and support the wasteful and indefensible defense budgets, which are mostly for the benefit of the waelthy elite. It would be the greatest heist since Reagan deregulated the savings and loan industry.

Binkowski is in support of this idea. Bachmann is in a tough position here - if she opposes this legislation, she loses fiscal conservatives on the right, she supports it, she is extreme. In that way, the Wetterling campaign is smart to focus on it.

Michele Bachmann has NOT lowered taxes she has delayed them and in the long run increased them. The Republican Congress has had a HUGE deficit and has not lowered taxes, they just have not paid their bills and have left the taxes for us and our children. Attacking the sales tax idea is misguided and does not talk about the real problem, which is that our country cannot afford to lower taxes after the Republicans have bankrupted us.