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Published February 07, 2013 in News by Sharon Harris
Arguing for REPEAL on the 100th Anniversary of the Income Tax
February 3, 2013 marked a black day in U.S. history. It was the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 16th Amendment, which enabled the creation of the U.S. federal income tax.
One hundred years later, more and more Americans are asking: Can the income tax be repealed -- and replaced with… nothing?
The answer is: yes! Ron Paul interjected it into the national debate during his presidential campaign. Now it's up to us to take up the mantle.
In recognition of this unpleasant anniversary, we're reposting a 4-part series by Advocates President Sharon Harris on how to argue effectively for ending the income tax.
Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part Three
This is Part Three of my series on persuading Americans that abolishing the personal income tax is sensible, desirable, and realistic.
In the past two issues I've given seven ways to begin that argument. If you haven't read them, you can find them here and here.
Now let's continue.
EIGHT: Make the benefits of abolition come alive for your listeners! In my earlier tips I offered ways to show listeners that ending the personal income tax is politically and economically possible.
Now it's time to do what every good salesperson -- and political persuader -- must do: sell the benefits of the idea.
Help your listeners *feel* the desirability of income tax abolition. Make them feel in their pockets the extra money that would be theirs. Create for them a vivid mental picture of what they would do, and how they would feel, when freed of the awful burden of the personal income tax. Help them see the better America that would emerge from this change. Make the dream come alive!
No one was better at doing this than the late Harry Browne, two-time Libertarian Party presidential candidate and one of the best libertarian communicators of all time.
Here is an example of how Browne made the idea come alive for his listeners:
"Imagine what would happen if we repealed all forms of federal income tax -- including the personal income tax, the corporate income tax, Social Security, the estate tax, and the gift tax. A world of benefits would quickly come in the wake of repealing these taxes.
"The first benefit is the most obvious: all the money you're paying in income taxes will be yours -- to spend, to save, to give away as *you* see fit, not as the politicians think is best for you...
"When we repeal the income tax, all that you pay now in income and Social Security taxes will be yours at last -- to do with as you see fit.
"If yours is the average American family, that means over 10,000 dollars a year that's been going to the politicians that will stay in your hands.
"Every dollar you earn will be yours -- to spend, to save, to give away as you see fit...
"So what will you do with that money when they no longer take it away from you?
"Will you put your children in private schools -- where you could get exactly the kind of education you believe best for them? ...
"Will you start that business you've always dreamed of?
*Will you move into a better neighborhood, take your family on a better vacation, arrange a much more comfortable and much more secure retirement?
"Will you help your church or your favorite cause or charity in a way you've never been able to do before?
"What will you do with that money?
"At last, it will all be yours -- and the government will no longer have a claim on it." ...
"There will be a similar increase in take-home pay for everyone you do business with -- your customers or your employer -- meaning that people will have more money to spend on what you have to offer.
"A similar increase in take-home pay will occur throughout America, unleashing the biggest boost in prosperity that America has ever seen. There will be a job for everyone who can work and charity for everyone who can't.
"Your life will be your own again: an end to government snooping into your finances, an end to keeping books for the IRS, an end to fear of an audit, an end to rearranging your financial life to minimize your tax burden."
Wow! Harry really gives flesh and bones to this abstract political idea.
Notice, too, that he doesn't just appeal to narrow self-interest. He realizes that many people want to keep more of their own money so they can help others -- by giving to churches and charities, improving education, and so forth.
That excerpt is from Harry's great 2003 article "Freedom from the Income Tax." You can read the entire article here.
Use this example to create your own way to make your listeners feel, at a deep emotional level, the benefits of being completely free from the income tax.
(Harry also wrote Liberty A-Z: 872 Libertarian Soundbites You Can Use Right Now, a book of his campaign-tested, highly effective soundbites on this and many other issues. It is published by the Advocates, and available from us here.)
Next post I'll share some final thoughts on persuading listeners that this bold libertarian proposal is realistic and desirable.