More than 32,000 people petitioned the White House asking the president to take an hour to talk with conservative talk-show host and author Neal Boortz about the FairTax plan (yes, it's referred to as one word).
The request was posted Jan. 8, 2013, on We the People, the White House's online petition site. The 32,421 digital signatures it collected earn this week's By the Numbers honor.
That total, however, was not enough to convince President Obama to make room in his schedule for the requested meeting.
"We've taken your request seriously and while we appreciate the suggestion, we respectfully decline," wrote the White House last week.
Why the White House said no: Although the White House isn't planning a sit-down with Boortz, the Administration's response did note that the president's advisers have talked with the National Economic Council about the tax proposal.
"The fact is that Mr. Boortz's fair tax plan is actually pretty unfair -- and inconsistent with those goals for reforming our tax system," said the White House in its response. "George W. Bush's Treasury Department figured this out, too, when they considered and rejected it."
Basically, the FairTax would apply a national sales tax to virtually all expenses on goods and services. That would, says the White House and other opponents of the measure, disproportionately affect middle-class families while simultaneously eliminating taxes, such as the estate tax, that are more often paid by high-income households.
Fairer tax for wealthier taxpayers: The White House cited the Tax Policy Center, which found that under the FairTax, "tax burdens on middle-income households would surely rise while high-income families would get a big tax cut."
Then there's the bipartisan Advisory Panel on Tax Reform appointed by Bush 43, which said the FairTax would:
- Increase taxes on a typical, median-income family by nearly $5,000, or 36 percent, and
- Cut the share of Federal taxes paid by the top 1 percent of Americans by more than 40 percent.
"That's not a fair way to reform our tax system," said the White House.
Second FairTax rejection: Boortz and his supporters, I'm sure, are not surprised by the Administration's refusal to meet. After all, the White House already rejected a "Support the FairTax Legislation" petition that was submitted back in 2011 and garnered less than 6,000 e-signatures.
Neither are Boortz et al seriously disappointed by this latest FairTax rebuff.
They got what they wanted from the petition, 2.5 years of publicity, along with a new round following the White House's final response.
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