Talk:FairTax

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Monthly tax rebate[edit]

I believe that the amounts shown in the table for monthly rebate check are incorrect because they are based on 23% of the poverty level for the various family sizes. Instead, I believe the intent of the bill H.R. 25 Sec 301 and ref. to section 101(a)(1) the 23% would be added to make the GROSS payment = 100%Taking from the table that is shown in the article - taking the "two adult household with 4 children:"the table shows poverty level ( consumption allowance ) $37060 with annual prebate $8524. In my opinion, the calculation should be as follows: $37060 / 0.77 = $48,130, then $48130 - $37060 = $11070 annual prebate; finally 11070 / 12 = $922 monthly rebate check. MelvilleS (talk) 21:32, October 14, 2012 (UTC)

In this example, I'm pretty sure $37,060 represents gross payment and the calculation uses a non-accommodation model, which assumes consistent after tax prices. You are correct that given price changes, the prebate would increase as it is adjusted for inflation. See Theories of retail pricing for a better understanding of the possible accommodation scenarios. The material is sourced to the group that designed the plan. I've updated it for the 2012 figures. Morphh (talk) 13:47, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

New as I am to this sort of Wiki stuff (2nd attempt on my part), I don't see the connection between your - Morphh - comment and mine: If you Morphh are only 'pretty sure' that the figures in the table - the figure that is called by some fancy name with the words 'consumption allowance' in it (based on my vague recollection that it is not called Poverty level) is actually the GROSS amount attributed to some typical family of 4, then how or where can I find that out 'for sure?' Further, I don't see any connection at all between 'price changes' or 'inflation' and the prebate: the prebate is based on a family INCOME. Nor do I see what the use of the words 'non-accommodation' have to do with the prebate - something vaguely about years somewhere in the future?? I certainly appreciate that you took the time to respond to my previous remarks. Melville S. MelvilleS (talk) 17:51, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

The prebate is not based on family income. It is based on family size. These figures are sourced from the group that actually wrote the legislation. You can read the material in this publication The FairTax Prebate Explained. The annual consumption allowance is based on the 2012 DHHS Poverty Guidelines, which represents the net income level for poverty level spending. The figure represents gross spending. For nominal income and spending to remain consistent, it assumes a non-accommodation model - FairTax replaces income taxes, net income and after tax prices stay the same. $37,060 total spending, includes $8,523 in taxes, offset by $8,524 prebate, meaning the family of four can spend up to $37,060 tax free. $37,060 is the gross (post tax) consumption, not pre tax. $48,130 in consumption that you describe ($37,060 * 30%) would represent a 30% rise in prices, if the FairTax was added on top off existing price levels - so no reduction of cost due to the removal of the income tax system (a full accommodation model). In such a scenario, this would increase the poverty level income / consumption as it adjusts for the inflation, increasing the consumption allowance (prebate value). Hope that helps explain it. Morphh (talk) 19:11, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

This is MelvilleS back again with continuing attempt to get the dollar amount of prebate for various famiy sizes - to get it understood or straightened out: You ocmmented on my remark about the prebate being based on family income, as if you misunderstood what I intended to imply by the use of the words Family Income. My intention was to indicate the relationship of "poverty level" family income to family size, as the two are shown in the table above. The opinion I have now developed is the same as the one I started with: the terminology 'consumption allowance' used in the table is used incorrectly. The heading should be "annual income," because it is taken from - copied from - "2012 Poverty Guidelines, Federal Register No..." that I have just now reviewed by going to thst link here Wikipedia. The same table is shown there as the part of the above table that is identified as 1 adult, and the page that I have printscreened includes the table as I show in abbreviated form here:

The following guideline figures represent annual income 2012 POVERTY GUIDELINES for the 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES and the DISTRICT of COLUMBIA Persons in family/household Poverty guideline 1 $11,170 ... 6 $30,970 etc. down to 8 $38,890 (( didn't find a similar table for 2-adult families in Fed Reg)

Now, after struggling to get all of this 'talk' so far, what was I trying to do? I was trying to explain that I'm convinced that the Rebate Amounts shown in the table in the FairTax wikipedia 'monthly rebate' article are incorrect, and too small because they are 23% of what the table incorrectly calls Consumption Allowance as the term is defined in H.R. 25, Title II, "Subtitle A - Sales Tax" - Chapter 3 - Family Consumption Allowance; Sec. 301 - which then refers to Title II "Subtitle A - Sales Tax" - Chapter 1; Section 101(b)(1)where the words read: "...tax is 23 percent of the GROSS PAYMENTS for the taxable property or service." So the dollar amounts in wikipedia table, being income, are not the gross payments that a family would spend, they are 77% of the gross payments that the family would spend (if they spent it all). At this point, believing that I have imposed on your time too much already, may I wish you the best, and assure you that I will appreciate any more time that you may give to my problem. What does the note down below my post mean when it says: Sign your posts on talk pages: MelvilleS (talk) 23:00, 28 October 2012 (UTC) ??

This may be digressing into WP:NOTFORUM since it falls into WP:OR, but here are my thoughts. While the consumption allowance may be based on measures of income (and the CPI), it is inappropriate to use the term income to describe what is applied to consumption in this case. Regardless of the income level (rich or poor), the family size determines how much that family can spend tax free - your income plays no part in your prebate. It is an allowance of consumption based on family size, intended to make such consumption tax free based on an estimation of poverty level spending for that family size. I think your mistaken calculation can be addressed in this statement "So the dollar amounts in wikipedia table, being income, are not the gross payments that a family would spend, they are 77% of the gross payments that the family would spend (if they spent it all)." The dollar amounts in the table is based on income and is also the gross payments, 100% of what the family would spend, not 77%. It is inclusive, meaning the total spending includes the tax (income, gross spending, is 100% of which 23% is tax). For your net income to remain consistent, which you assume here, then the cost of products decrease by removal of the income tax system, leaving after tax prices essentially the same. So spending $10,000 post income tax, is equivalent to spending $10,000 post FairTax. Gross income = Gross spending, taxes are 23% of total spending covered by the prebate. Morphh (talk) 14:02, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
Thinking on a new train of thought... Are you adding the prebate itself as gross spending for the year in calculating the value of that prebate itself? The prebate is not part of the CPI calculation, so I don't see that as accurate in determining the figure. If you did add the prebate in, then the CPI itself would adjust to cover that, meaning 23% of that 23%, or just factoring 30% of the original. Morphh (talk) 14:40, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
The sign your posts on talk pages (this page) means to use the four Tilda at the end of your post, which you have done. Morphh (talk) 14:02, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

NPOV issues[edit]

I just came upon this article and found it to be obviously biased in favor of the FairTax proposal. A quick scan of the Talk Archives shows that it has a long history of NPOV violations. I'd recommend that the article be thoroughly reviewed for POV by editors who have not previously contributed to it.

Examples of note:

  1. The first paragraph mentions several initiatives in support of the proposal, without mentioning opposition.
  2. The few references in the article about points of opposition are sandwiched between supportive arguments or rebuttals.
  3. The prominent photo at the top of the main article shows some politician comparing the newly introduced legislation (133 pages) with the entire 100-year-old tax code (voluminous). A fairer comparison would be to the original income tax section of the Revenue Act of 1913 (16 pages). The photo itself is biased should be remove entirely from the article.
  4. many more examples throughout the article...

My suggestion is to scour the article from top to bottom, looking for phrases with the words: support, oppose, advantage, disadvantage, proponents, opponents, argue, critics, and others and move all that stuff into a section(s) about criticism/support for the proposal, or into the existing section which discusses the movement itself.

The bulk of the article should be limited to a factual presentation of the proposal itself -- what the legislation is and what it does, with a brief legislative history.

I'm tagging the article with a {{NPOV}} tag to solicit help from editors who have not contributed to the article in the past so we can get some fresh (hopefully unbiased) eyes on it. Sparkie82 (tc) 19:17, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Contentious articles often have an archive and long history of NPOV disputes. It's the nature of a controversial subject to have editors view it from different perspectives and debate the presentation of that content. This does not indicate the validity of the disputes, application of Wikipedia best practice and policy, or that the outcome was not satisfactorily resolved. The article has been reviewed many times by editors outside the scope of the article, even from outside the topic country (PR,GA,PR,FAC,PR,FAC,FAR and intense review when listed on the main page of Wikipedia).
Comment on examples of note:
  1. The lead is required to describe how the topic is notable and what instances, if any, led to its notability. This is why the initiatives that propelled it to popularity are listed. If you have sources that indicate that opponent opposition advanced its notability, then such a inclusion might be appropriate, but I'm not aware of any such movement or event.
  2. As per Wikipedia:Criticism, sections that focus on criticism or support are discouraged and avoided. "The best approach to incorporating negative criticism into the encyclopedia is to integrate it into the article, in a way that does not disrupt the article's flow. The article should be divided into sections based on topics, timeline, or theme – not viewpoint. Negative criticism should be interwoven throughout the topical or thematic sections." We've done our best to present the major topic areas and include the main points of view in a balanced way. If you have suggestions on how we can improve the prose for better flow and less back / forth while still presenting all viewpoints, that would great.
  3. The primary focus of most tax reform is to reduce complexity. No one is trying to replace the tax code of 1913. They're trying to replace the tax code of today, so any comparison, be it size, tax rate, distribution, economic effects, etc should be compared with the current tax code, not the code of 1913. Any tax code is subject to legislative changes, but Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. Having an image of the long time initial and primary sponsor of the legislation, displaying the legislation, and what he'd like to replace is a fair inclusion in the "Legislative overview and history" section.
I don't see that your final suggestions of rewriting the article structure fit with Wikipedia best practices and policy. If there is particular prose that you think could be written better or any criticism that you feel is missing, then let's discuss specifics on how we can improve it. It is much easier to reach agreement and compromise when we're dealing with specific content recommendations, rather than general statements of bias. For example, perhaps the first paragraph that states "Increased support was created after..." could also indicate increased opposition - maybe "support" is a poor word choice for neutrality, where "visibility", or a synonym like attention, prominence, popularity, or notability, would work better. We might otherwise get into a fierce debate regarding the content of note 1, when all we needed to do was change a single word. Morphh (talk) 15:35, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments. I understand that the article has a long history with a lot of discussion, but as you said, it's no guaranty of NPOV and in this case the process failed to achieve that.
  • There is no policy or even a guideline that I am aware of that requires the lead to describe a topic's notability. Of course there is a requirement that an article's topic have notability and topics that are challenged must demonstrate notability, however, it does not have to be explicitly described in the article. Also, notability only needs to be demonstrated for the topic of the article, not for each piece of information in it. (WP:NCC). The guideline WP:LEAD gives very specific guidance on how to construct a lead and what to include. This article's lead is too long and includes much more than what that guideline recommends. For NPOV treatment, I'd recommend that the major pro/con arguments be briefly mentioned in the final paragraph of the lead, written as: Proponents say [it will do these good things]...; Opponents say [it will do these bad things]...
  • WP:CRITICISM is not a policy or even a guideline; it is an opinion essay written by some of editors of WP. Also, it mentions several different types of outline that could be used to present opposing points of view in an article, including the recommendation I gave above. Most of the POV issues can be eliminated by sticking to the facts that describe exactly what the legislation says and its history. (And the history section should come first after the lead and be separate from a discussion of what the law does exept as necessary to explain changes in the porposal over time.)
  • Many of the effects of the law are disputed, so each section that discusses the law's predicted effects should begin with a statement about the range of predictions, followed by specific, sourced predictions in some consistant NPOV order. There is no need to discuss the pros and cons there. The pro/con arguments can be in a section(s) reserved for that purpose. That pro/con section should NOT be titled "Criticism". It should have a NPOV title.
  • The photo was obviously a publicity stunt by its supports. To include it in the article without any balance is a POV issue. It adds little if anything to the article and it feels like the PR photo was looking for an excuse to be included in the article.
If you'd like to find the specific POV problems in the article, just search for the words: support, oppose, advantage, disadvantage, proponents, backers, opponents, argue, argument, critics. That will find most of them. It would be too tedious to try to copy each one here on the talk page. I could go through the article and move them all to a separate section as I suggested, but I'm sure I'd get reverted without having a consensus to do that first.
When all those POV statements are peppered throughout the article, it makes it difficult, if not impossible to present the pro/con fairly. Sparkie82 (tc) 02:22, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
You'll find what passes for guidelines or even community style preferences, such as the lead describing aspects of notability and not grouping viewpoints in sections tend to become peer review requirements when you get to FA evaluations. It's not an easy process for controversial topics and I've gone through several.
  • The lead fits within the requirements for lead length (3-4 paragraphs) and presents an overview of the article as required. The second paragraph in WP:LEAD states (bold added by me) "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points—including any prominent controversies."
  • WP:CRITICISM is not policy, but WP:STRUCTURE is, which says "Segregation of text or other content into different regions or subsections, based solely on the apparent POV of the content itself, may result in an unencyclopedic structure, such as a back-and-forth dialogue between proponents and opponents.[1] It may also create an apparent hierarchy of fact where details in the main passage appear "true" and "undisputed", whereas other, segregated material is deemed "controversial", and therefore more likely to be false. Try to achieve a more neutral text by folding debates into the narrative, rather than isolating them into sections that ignore or fight against each other."
  • I agree that the picture is a photo op, but so may be founders signing the Declaration of Independence or a politician's statesman photo, but they require no balance (no opposing King George III or unsightly politician photo). I don't see the inherent bias in it for an article about legislation designed to replacing the current tax code. This is the legislation, this is its purpose, this is the sponsor and his intent. POV suggests that there is an opposing viewpoint for the image or caption, something disputed. This article is not about the support of the current income tax system. It is an article about the FairTax and its history - this is a picture of that history and it's purpose. What would add balance?
I don't understand your point of identifying POV problems by searching for words that generally outline a disputed point of view. NPOV is the act of including various major viewpoints and such should be worked into the topic point. So if we're talking about the major topic point of tax evasion and proponents suggest this, and opponents contend that, you would expect to see both points of view presenting the opinion in such a section. In this case, our first two paragraphs outline the proponent view, and the second two describe an opponent position. This is not a POV problem - it is a shining example of NPOV policy. Morphh (talk) 16:32, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Morphh, this is not about some specific phrases with POV issues or a specific structure of the article, it about an article that has been relentlessly edited and discussed by you for over seven years, and the result is an article that has POV issues. It has a long history of POV issues. So whatever policies or guidelines or structures you've been trying to follow -- it's not working.
  • What's even more disturbing is that you can't even see the POV issues when confronted about them. I realize the preference is to comment on the content rather than other editors, but after reviewing the long archive of this article, in this case I think that's where the problem lies. My suggestion is that you take a break for a a while. Let others edit the article for a year or so and see where it goes. Sparkie82 (tc) 19:29, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Fair Tax or FairTax?[edit]

I made a few edits on the name before I realized that in the article, it's spelled "Fair Tax" and "FairTax" in numerous places. So, now I'm not sure whether "FairTax" is incorrect or is just an alternative "acceptable" spelling. Does anyone know why it's spelled both ways in the article? Famspear (talk) 02:52, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

It is primarily referred to as the "FairTax" in sources, which includes the plan, movement, etc. It even has a service mark. The legislation uses the name '"Fair Tax Act". So we only separate the name if we're specifically describing the bill and in any other case we use the single word. Morphh (talk) 16:41, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I figured it was something like that. I was too hasty when I made the edit, and then after looking at the article more carefully (including the name of the article), I realized there was probably a good reason for spelling it both ways. Thanks.... Famspear (talk) 16:51, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Exemptions[edit]

I was looking for information about exemptions to the FairTax and could not find it. I finally found a paragraph buried in the section on the tax rate. I moved the misplaced information into a section called "Exemptions" so it could more easily be found by readers. Sparkie82 (tc) 12:32, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

My concern was that exemptions, described in four of those sentences, were not a large enough topic to be considered a major topic area and may give undue weight to it in the overall article structure (it just looked out of place). Exemptions are a definition of tax base, which is use in describing the tax rate application and in determining the effective tax rate. So, I figured there wouldn't be an objection to making it a sub-section of tax rate, so long as it remained a section header for easy identification. However, based on your objection, I do see how that can be confusing to readers since exemptions may not seem like a logical sub-topic of the tax rate. In reevaluation, I think we could expand the scope of topic header slightly to better reflect the content and justify a major section heading. Since half of the section is not what is exempted but reaffirming what is not, I think "Tax base and exemptions" would better identify and reflect this material. Morphh (talk) 15:21, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
I forgot to note that I prefer your prior term "exemptions" over "exempted items" since the exemptions can cover services. Morphh (talk) 15:30, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
LIFO - A service can be referred to as an item, so I don't understand the problem with that. "Tax base" sounds like who is being taxed, not what is being taxed, so that definitely is not going to work.
It seems silly to make the section title more obscure simply because we mention items that are taxed while explaining the exemptions. With a general sales tax (as opposed to an excise tax), they are called "exemptions". I see no reason to confuse readers. Sparkie82 (tc) 19:02, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Tax base is a very common term in tax policy and economics in general. It defines what is being taxed. The tax base is consumption, the value of products and services being taxed, and exemptions being the products or services that are not taxed - value exempt from the tax base. That is what the section covers. I'm not trying to make it obscure - those are the correct and common terms. For the sake of simplicity, we could perhaps do something like "Taxable items and exemptions". I still don't care for "items" since calling a teacher an item just sounds weird to me, but I get your point. Morphh (talk) 19:44, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, that's fine. It's your article, so I guess you can do what you want. As I suggested in #NPOV_issues above, I think the article would benefit if you took a year or so off from editing it and let some fresh eyes work on it. Sparkie82 (tc) 13:12, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Image removed[edit]

I removed an image of two protesters for the following reasons: 1. Only one person was actually holding a Fair Tax related sign. 2. There were only 2 persons in the picture, and it looked more like someone's backyard than a protest. 3. The protest as described was about the IRS scandal, not the Fair Tax. 4. The person in the picture is the contributing editor, which caused some discussion of COI issues at Talk:2013 IRS scandal. Brianyoumans (talk) 01:40, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for explaining your reasons. The IRS building exterior did not have an IRS sign. There were only two of us at that time of the day -- it was the best photo we could get at the time -- but later many more people showed up, perhaps half of them FairTaxers, many TeaParty-ers. FairTax as you probably know is a proposal to abolish the IRS, so protesting IRS is highly consistent with FairTax.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 10:05, 24 May 2013 (UTC)