Reps. Pappas and Tauscher
April 16, 1997
in this forum:
Is Congress promising too many tax cuts? Is Congress going too slow? Is a progressive tax unconstitutional? Where is Congress' budget? Will the IRS resist any change? Is there tax justice for all?
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A question from Alexander Ives of Boston, MA:
Unconstitutionality of Progressive Tax
I have always seen the idea of a progressive tax system, which we have now, as unconstitutional and illegal since it is essentially discrimination on the basis of wealth by the government. Do you agree? What about the idea of a Flat Tax?
Thank you very much for your time and answer.
Representative Pappas responds:
There is no doubt that we need bold tax reform to make taxes fairer and simpler. Many proposals including the flat tax and consumption tax are currently be considered by this Congress. Just yesterday in Boston, five Members of Congress reenacted the Boston Tea Party by symbolically throwing the current tax code into Boston Harbor.
Representative Tauscher responds:
I believe the idea of a progressive tax makes sense, especially as the disparity between rich and poor in this nation continues to grow. As someone who has been incredibly blessed by the opportunities this nation presents. I feel those of us who have been given an opportunity to make a little more should probably pay a little more. As for being unconstitutional, the Constitution clearly gives Congress, with the approval of the President, the ability to levy and collect federal taxes and does not prescribe or limit the type of tax to be collected. It is clear, however, that we do need tax simplification and an IRS that does not have an adversarial relationship with the American people. What we need is a simpler and faster tax system that removes the punitive nature of our tax code and the IRS.