The Freshmen 50

The Internet is a big place.  Yesterday Jim Schaefer stumbled upon The Freshmen 50 , which describes itself as an independent political action committe, “unaffiliated with any political party, group, or lobby”, whose sole mission is to put “50 new fiscally and legislatively responsible citizens into the House Of Representatives in 2010.”  The founder, Brian Miller of Arizona, welcomes Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, and has attracted an astonishing 81 candidates willing to pledge allegiance to 6 principles.

We don’t agree with the idea of a single tax rate for all Americans, but the rest of the platform looks very reasonable:  

 1.     Apply the Law Equally:  All laws that apply to all citizens also apply to Congress.

 2.     Limit Terms in Office:  Amend the Constitution to limit Congressmen and Senators to no more than 12 years, respectively. 

 3.     Enforce Congressional Ethics

  a.     Mandatory, yearly tax and expense audits of every member to be made fully available to the general public each Oct 1, until the federal tax code is reformed (see item #5) 

  b.    No member of Congress, or Congressional staff member, can ever be hired as a lobbyist, paid or otherwise, to Congress 

  c.     Unleash the ethics committee:  require only 50% of an ethics committee to approve an investigation    

4.     Read the Bill:  Prior to final vote, the bill to be voted upon must be read out loud, by one or more of its sponsors, in its entirety, on the floor of the House.  Should amendments be required, they must also be read in the same manner.  A member may not vote on the bill unless he or she was present for the entire reading, including applicable amendments.   

5.     Reform the Federal Tax Code:  Repeal the 16th Amendment and replace the current federal tax code with a clear, simple, and fair tax code which includes the following principles: 

  a.    Tax only once 

  b.    Tax at one rate 

  c.     A Constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority for any new tax or tax hike 

6.     Balance the Budget:  Amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget, unless sanctioned by a three-fifths majority in each house of Congress.

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  1. James Schaefer says:

    I believe the sixth item must also include a limit on the size of the federal government, as a percent of the economy. I would offer 20% as a maximum, and would prefer something lower. This is a great list.

  2. Kevin Dalphonse says:

    John, why are you opposed to a single tax rate?

    • Kevin;

      I do think that a person earning millions of dollars a year (see my previous post, Hard Numbers should pay at a higher rate than somebody making $12,000 a year. I don’t agree with the President’s assertion that we can get all the revenue we need by taxing the rich (note that he didn’t volunteer to pay any extra tax in 2009), but it’s just not fair to make a poor person give up a quarter of his income to federal taxes—on top of FICA, sales taxes, and other state and local taxes.

      Thanks for commenting! John

  3. Kevin Dalphonse says:

    “it’s just not fair to make a poor person give up a quarter of his income to federal taxes”

    I agree. But then again, I also don’t think it’s fair to make a rich person give up a quarter of their income to federal taxes!

    Regardless, there are other ways of handling this without a progressive tax rate. For instance, exempting the first X number of dollars from federal taxes.

    And at a more reasonable rate (10%?), the burden on the “poor” is much less, too. After all, a “single rate” for all Americans can’t be the end of the discussion, or else the old jokes will soon become a reality:
    1. How much did you make last year?
    2. Send it in.

  4. phoebe says:

    The irony is that, even if taxpayers sent everything they made to the federal government, it would not be enough to satisfy government’s appetite, and it would continue to borrow or print to continue the spending addiction.

    Statutory entitlements become legal precedents to continued spending.

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