The 10-point agenda, whose name is a takeoff of Republicans’ 1994 Contract With America, offers a series of promises for candidates running for Congress and other elected positions to adopt. Hundreds of candidates and a few members of Congress, including Washington state’s Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, have made the pledge.
The planks reflect an agenda of fiscal and economic conservatism aimed at small government and low taxes: repeal the federal health care overhaul, oppose regulation of carbon dioxide and expand “exploration of proven energy reserves,” limit earmarks and require a balanced budget.
The most sweeping change offered might be replacing the federal tax code with a “simple and fair single-rate tax system,” the text of which would have to be no longer than the Constitution.
The FairTax would abolish income taxes, corporate taxes and all other federal taxes and impose a 30 percent federal sales tax (the group calls it 23 percent because it calculates it like an income tax) in their place. A flat tax would keep the idea of income taxes but set them at a single rate for everyone regardless of income. Opponents say either system would be too regressive.
Rossi told me there are various ways to create a single-rate tax, and singled out the flat tax as one possibility. “The idea is making it fair and predictable,” he said.
Didier is on board with the FairTax — he wants to change the Constitution to abolish the income tax. He thinks a sales tax rate could end up much lower than 23 percent. “If God can run the world on 10 percent,” he told me, referring to church tithing, “I don’t know why we can’t run our country on 10 percent.”