The old American doctrine “public good, public interest and public representation” is a far cry to the federal American tax system. Over the years, America have been significantly distinguished with varying tax laws and revenue policy trends as a result of change in governmental leadership, as Republicans and Democrats are predominant political parties competing in the key functions of government.
The providence of “public good, public interest and public representation” the coffer of the government is the indicated performance and efficiency of governance, to which the wealth of a country implicitly signifying delivery of basic welfare and services to the American population. The typologies of revenue collection are an adjunct to federal government mandate and legislative work to implement the 16th Amendment of the US Constitution, granting the Congress the authority to collect income tax and other forms of tax payments. The amount of revenue collection and the scope of tax law procedure are divergent political change and the archetype of political-economy. This divergence shapes the quantity of public expense with added societal utilities.
In America, historical events traces “whose” political power has emerged and greatly affected or influenced the mandates on revenue collection and tax law procedures. The revenue is understood to appropriate public expenditures, from which collections comes from public taxes. The categories of tax are found critical in the aspect of collection that has created federal sanctions and legislated into law.
Responding to these changes, the roles and responsibilities of political party evolve in unpredictable proportion. Thus, this paper will specifically discuss the effect of the Republican Party on US tax law, its continuing initiatives in the legislation, and the virtues that shaped many of the US tax policies all over the years.
This paper adopts a three-prong method of study, such as (1) a review of literature relating to the effect of Republican Party on US tax law, (2) discussion of policy issues affecting its implementation, and (3) situational analysis to evaluate the national impact.
The Republican Party: a brief historical background
The Republican Party web site narrated its historical beginnings in the 1850’s as organized by anti-slavery activists who protested from the government the granting of western lands’ settlement without charge. On July 6th 1854, the members officially held its first assembly and formally established the Republican Party, in disguise to Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson. The year 1856 sloganeering for free soil, free labor, free speech, free men has made the Republican’s first national convention that chosen John Fremont’s (1813-1890) presidential candidacy, but failed the national election result of 33 percent (GOP.Com, 2004).
As cited, the election in 1860 has regained the Republicans’ presidential bid for Abraham Lincoln’s (1809-1865) victory being the first Republican and the 16th US president. In the middle of the civil war from 1861 to 1864, Republican’s legacy was highlighted in Abraham Lincoln’s celebrated “Gettysburg Address”, America was called “a new nation, founded in freedom and democracy where all men were created equal”, and declared the “1863 Emancipation Proclamation” that liberated the union of African-American slaves (GOP.Com, 2004). Followed by this proclamation was the ratification of three Amendments to the Constitution, namely the 13th that banned slavery, the 14th that guaranteed equal protection as prescribed by law, and the 15th that secured African-Americans’ voting rights. In addition, the Republican Party asserted inclusion of “women’s right to vote” by ratifying the 19th Constitutional Amendment in 1896, wherein Jeanette Rankin (from Montana) was the first Republican Congresswoman elected in 1917.
Throughout the years, Republicans has made its presidents, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961), Richard Nixon (1969-1974), Gerald Ford (1974-1977), Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), George H.W. Bush (1989-1993), and George W. Bush (2001 to present). A trivia on the Republican Party’s “elephant logo” has symbolized a mammoth of followers to jolt out the Democrats in the 1874 election, and tagged the “Grand Old Party” (GOP) to indicate loyalty of old and young supporters.
Evolution of US tax system: an overview
This discussion section aims to indicate the “timeline” and the “presence of governance” of Republicans depictive of the evolution of US tax system.
In British colonial period, tax payment was seldom imposed to individuals in suburb areas due insignificant contacting by tax collectors coming from metropolitan areas. Most of tax collections were from import and export duties, property and income tax according to profession. However, the “New England” government has intensified the tax collection during the American-British revolution, wherein every head of family was imposed with “poll tax”. To cite, the intensified tax collection was a result of the English Parliament’s promulgation of “Stamp Act of 1765”, for England to simultaneously finance the war against American colony and France, thus, further enticed American defiance, which called on “taxation without representation is tyranny”, against the English Parliament (Almanac of Policy Issues, 2003).
During the post-revolution and ratification of the first US Constitution in 1789, the “Founding Fathers to the Constitution” realized the need for government revenues to settle war claims and appropriations for home defense and common welfare of the state. In 1790, the Congress has mandated the US federal government to impose “first direct” taxation on every household, small and big estate ownership, and slaves. The Presidency of Thomas Jefferson in 1802 has made the abolishment of “direct taxation”; however, the war in 1812 has compelled Congress to increase taxes collection and the selling of government estates to generate funds for home defense or military support.
Summarily, to cite, among the historically documented laws in US tax system are as follows: (1) Revenue Act of 1861 that re-established excise and income taxes, (2) The War Revenue Act of 1899 that allegedly raised funding the Spanish-American War by selling treasury bonds, tax on workers’ used of recreational facilities, customs duty for beer and tobacco, (3) Revenue Act of 1916 that increased 15% of tax rate for estate acquisition and annual business income exceeding $1.5 million, (4) Tax Act of 1932 which radically increased tax rates despite the “US Great Depression”, (5) the Social Security Act of 1935 known as “unemployment compensation” for displaced workers, (6) Tax Reform Act of 1969 as “relief-reduction” on income tax rates of individuals and private-social service organizations, (7) The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 known as “inflation recovery tax” or “Reagan Tax Cut”, (8) the Tax Reform Act of 1986 which massively reduced “top statutory tax rate” from 50% to 28%, (9) the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 as the “modest tax cut” and known as “Per Child Tax Credit” with considerable advantage to families, (10) the Economic Growth and Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2001 known as “Bush Tax Cut” was described “to have notably shortened the period of economic downturn and prepared the economic recovery” (Almanac of Policy Issues, 2003).
Noticeably, the evolution of US tax system from the colonial era, post revolution, the 1929 US’ Great Economic Depression economic depression and until the time of World War I and II from 1930s to 1940s has indicated the “presence of governance” by Republican presidents, in which the incumbent governmental leadership has inculcated the “tax system” that could be both applicable and beneficial for families and national revenue.
Positioning affordable family income
The Republican Party platform of governance from 2001 to 2008 has consistently carried out the call for alleviating the “tax burden”, as continuing national agenda to “downsize” the rapid downturn period of US economy from effects of global problems. As cited, the Federal tax reform requires modification “to help sustain free enterprise units, economic growth, and job creation, wherein the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is objectionable to US taxpayers” (GOP. Com., 2008).
The Republican Party was moved by an action to abolish the IRS and advocated repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution that grants the Congress the authority to collect income tax and other forms of tax payments, employs “decoyed legislation” of tax laws of political nature. By repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, it cited the elimination of tax burdens, such as personal tax (income, inheritance or gift), operating-capital, business (corporate) income tax, and payroll or wage tax. In contrast, implementing a “national retail sales tax rate” has been recommended, provided that 2/3 majority from Congress and the Senate would have “requisite vote” to increase the rate.
The tax reform [by repealing the 16th Amendment and implementing the national sales tax rate] shall improve business ventures and promote sustainable economic growth. As quoted, the two primary rationales on “sales tax plan (1) ensures that nobody in America pays taxes according to needs, (2) guarantees opportunity and quality of life for low-and fixed-income earners”. The two rationales believed in transparent (visible) tax payment at any rate and computation scheme.
To cite, several issues on tax reform has been specified with critical importance, such as specifically, (1) remove Federal tax for private, parochial and home studies, (2) unconstrained deduction of home crediting interest for Federal income taxes, (3) urging Congress to extend and retain the current income tax reductions, (4) removal of regulatory taxation scheme [as barrier] to augment telecommunication and infrastructural investments, (5) restrain Congress in increasing and changing lower tax fees or creating unfavorable supplementary tax scheme on income and education, (6) judicious examination in the passing of House Bills [that has effect on business] to ascertain fair and effective legislation, (7) transparent tax billing, (8) abolish property taxes (ad valorem tax) by establishing a people-elected “Appraisal Board” that act on tax appraisal, (9) limit increase in property appraisals at 3%. Annually, (10) resist tax imposition on internet or internet services, and (12) abolish toll-fees for formerly toll-free routes and prohibit constant toll fee collection except for maintenance of existing tollgates.
It was clear from the Republican Party platform the ascription to “making affordable” the use of family income, in a way family saves, spends, and invests its own money out of tax controls. With the continuing effort of the Republican Party on tax reform, President Bush acknowledged the family’s need for earning and the necessity for spending take the function of the government, as partly quoted, “the government’s role must not control or dominate but to help gaining time and tools to make choices and improve families’ lives, and usher them towards a new era of ownership and opportunity.”
. Impact on workforces’ productivity and partisanship
Political-economic analysis of Daniel Altman (2002) of New York Times pointed out Republican’s legacy on tax reform. In Altman’s analysis, what shaped the Presidential action was the seeming effect to party loyalty, and entanglement from the historical fundamentals of Union Confederacy in 1850’s. Altman described Republican legislators and President Bush himself could collectively and resolutely deploy political power to resolving the income tax problems of every family in America.
Altman explained that improving and providing incentive [from earning and saving] would result to a “flat rate” for individual or personal income tax. To cite, twofold productivity could be well aligned into objective working capability with equivalent substantial earning, encouraging both lower and higher earner for a twofold work. In a sense, the government could then claim providing the best benefit and compensation for technical skills, translated into income welfare without “tax anxiety” (Altman, 2002).
According to Altman, recognizing Republican’s legacy on tax reform can achieve significant impact to workforces’ productivity, as he likewise proposed to abolish the tax on income [from the salary] and replace it with a national sales tax. It could be figured out, considerable members of the Republicans reflects on a situation that the elite would not get wealthier and powerful at the “expense” of the poor.
In similar acknowledgment for the work of Republicans, John Hawkins from Human Events, a leading US-based electronic media representing American Conservative Movement, has proposed supplementary agenda for the institutional virtues of Republicans. According to Hawkins, American conservatives “hold on” to the “Grand Old Party” or GOP discipline.
Thus, the American Conservative Movement’s 2007-2008 Nine-Point supplementary agenda addresses the Republicans in Congress, such as to cite, (1) A balanced budget amendment, (2) Non-retroactive term limits of Congressmen (3) continue to stand with the President on foreign policy (4) continue to stand with the President on national security issues, (5) election reform, (6) health care reform bill (7) a 21st century energy policy, and (8) getting tough on illegal immigration, and (9) prove to the American people that Republican is still the Party of low taxes (Hawkins, 2006).
On the number 9th agenda concerning tax, Hawkins emphasized that “Grand Old Party (GOP)” must move forward to realize permanence of tax policy reform and continue decisive governance to abolish the “Death Tax”. As quoted, to assert substantial requirement for a “supermajority of Congress since Democrats use the next two years for higher taxes while GOP strives to ease the tax burden” (Hawkins, 2006).
The “partisanship” could be perceived in the 9-point supplementary agenda of Hawkins and the American Conservative Movement as well. This perception may be referring to a partisanship that would strengthen and broaden the “clout” of Republicans’ block in the US Congress. In this regard, the tax policy reform draws impact on workforces’ productivity while partisanship consolidates Republicans’ old political virtues.
Solid ground for tax reform
The Fair Tax Act of 2007 (known as FairTax or HR 25/S1025) has been authored and passed to Congress by Congressman John Elmer Linder, a Republican from the 7th District of Georgia State. Congressman Linder believes that enacting the bill would be achieving a solid ground for tax reform. The FairTax could be an “overture” to precedents in abolishing “death tax” in US tax law, adherent to repealing the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.
Briefly to cite, Fair Tax Act of 2007 aims for “changing tax laws” that enable the replacement of the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and every Federal Income Taxes, such as to include alternative minimum tax, payroll taxes, social security and medicare taxes, corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, gift taxes, and estate taxes (US Congress, 2007).
The new tax scheme adopts a “national retail sales tax” to levy or impose tariff at the “point of purchase” on [all new] goods and services. Based on the tax scheme [subject to size of a family], it proposes “monthly payment” to American families and legally residing immigrant families (aliens) representing “advance tax rebate” on purchasing, as indicated by poverty level. According to FairTax computation of “sales tax rate”, Congress computed an example of 23% of the “total registered price” from 23¢ of every $1 with similar calculation on income tax, which is similar to a 30% traditional “state sales tax” that charges 30¢ on every $1.
As perceived by Congressman Linder, the existing US tax scheme is one of the effects of “hidden cost” on commodities that creates price adjustment. Therefore, FairTax would reduce cost of production by removing “market compliance” cost and enterprise (business) tax, in which FairTax shall equalize and absorb the effect on price adjustments. To simplify the explanation, FairTax could be best defined to “cushion” the effect of price adjustment by limiting the added levy or charges on consumers and manufactured goods equated by regulated “overhead” or operating cost of production, wherein the US is a highly industrialized country being dependent on high-end manufacturing and mechanized processing of goods. In addition, FairTax would not only cushion the price adjustment but make transparent or visible the computation of cost from the plant or factories to the market assemblers (retailers and wholesalers).
Moreover, the result of regulating the expense [through the FairTax] could be translated into “incentives” in the form of subsidies, like services and welfare (healthcare and medicines), that would best beneficial to families. And, likewise, cushioning the expense of economy [from production] would be “unspent revenue” to be reverted to the coffer of the government, and therefore do not need [secondary] tax generation from family earnings or income taxes.
In sum, enactment of FairTax would be a solid ground of Republicans to position its political agenda in both legislative and judicial governance. This political positioning could be a “cutting-edge” of a partisan-sponsored social reform agenda for American families, as well as for global interaction of every government for taxonomy modeling.
Partisan effect to policy issues
A continuing debate on policy issues is being referred to as contradicting views and politically driven. Particularly, partisanship sometimes meant to create a debacle amidst the population’s need for reform, progress and productivity. This segment of the paper focuses on the background of tax reform policy issue relating the formidability of partisanship.
In Andrew Leigh’s (2005) Discussion Paper from the Center for Policy Research has asked the question, “what makes it different for a donkey and an elephant?” refers to political symbolism of the Democratic Party (donkey) and the Republican (elephant). Leigh imparts the effects of partisanship to policy situation and economic result. Accordingly, empirical findings show limited indications how policy preferences and welfare result vary under leading political parties. Leigh explained that his study aims to determine the “politico-economic model” typified by political parties. In other words, the effect of political party shapes the policy environment.
Leigh’s regression method or probing probability has combined the “anticipatory” reaction of the [voting] population, using the “Downsian” model. The “Downsian” model from the theory of Anthony Downs (1957) reflects voters’ orientation to the political party platform. The typical or common attitude of voters relies on political platform.
As cited, Leigh’s regression using “Downsian” model has found “partisan sensitivity” to policy issues correlating economic outcomes, such as (1) time-varying characteristics of the state with state’s population age bracket under 15 and over 65of African-American race; (2) measures of legislative control indicating notion that Democrats controls Congress and Senate while Republicans are “much” in control of both legislative houses; and (3) voter ideology shows the effect of having a Democrat or Republican constantly hold voters’ ideology (Leigh, 2005).
The empirical finding of Russel Hardin in his journal, ‘Street-Level Epistemology and Democratic Participation’ presented at the meetings of the European Public Choice Society, has likewise recognized the “Downsian” model. Hardin “magnified” the policy issue [relating the partisan effect] to essential understanding of societal groups. According to Hardin, the policy issue on “collective goods” and “collective work” performs best economic outcomes to draw the public opinion. As explained, the preferred outcome correlates the policy issue on state taxes, whereas government revenue comes from. Hardin cited that making simpler the public issue for state taxes is the creativity to draw impact for public good, which means fiscal management of the state fund and to advocate equal distribution of the public wealth (Hardin, 1999).
It may be reflected from Leigh and Hardin’s finding on the “Downsian” model, as a practical theory of Anthony Downs (1957), are the existing role modeling of Democrats and Republicans in shaping the policy issue. In fact, the workforces’ or laborers’ issue on equal distribution of wealth has stemmed in the industrial revolution. It may be said that the shift of partisan’s political roles is outlined in the newest genre of political-economic landscape, and the rise of new political leadership. On the other hand, emerging governments synthesizes the experiences of the past and realign to the current perspectives, like Republicans’ 1850s credo is attributed to the earning and spending of families where tax policy reform issue is at hand.
Situational analysis evaluating national impact
This section of the paper will examine the effectiveness and performance of the Republicans through discussions of relevant findings, to situate the analysis in evaluating the national impact.
Unleashing a national identity
To analyze the situational factor of establishing the Republican Party, we may again sum-up the historical evolution of US Tax System in retrospect of the Republican Party’s platform of governance. According to the historical existence of Republican Party, we may cite that Union Confederacy or workers emancipation and liberty of the African-American slaves was central to tax policy reform agenda and ushering the “ownership” of the American family earners, in which the legislative and Presidential action has delivered through the legislation and enactment of FairTax of 2007.
Characterizing the Republican virtues, Laura Andronache’s (2006) work, ‘A National Identity Republicanism’, has discussed the perceptions on the Republican identity. Andronache’s work may significantly contribute to identifying the “civic virtue” and socio-political-cultural ascendancy of Republican.
In Andronache’s analysis, she noted about political “obligation” that is considered compelling. However, the fact of being a nationalist in character is a glaring truth in the Republicanism movement. As cited, political participation is a normal behavior of people or citizens to express dedication and, act on collective beliefs or common goals in a community. Andronache’s “key links” to this type of identity is characterized by a “committed family life”. Meaning, to “unionized” within the members of family units in a community represents a “virtuous man”, whether a family man or unmarried, because ascription to family value concerns the behavioral faculty of a Republican for family matters. To cite, the understanding of Republican values attests to public responsibility with relevant decision, culture and explicit socio-political belief (Andronache, 2006).
Reflective of Andronache’s characterization of Republican identity, it could be viewed that political “involvement” may be indirectly participated in under the circumstance of proving or disproving “external system”, issues and social activities outside the community. This deduction could be describing the early civilization of family units [of mostly African-American slaves] from the period of 1700s towards 1800s setting of American population.
In contrast, the immigration of families and activities of trade has significantly “mobilized” the exchange of information that has linked the public opinion, wherein Andronache’s explanation of equilibrium (balance) to “identity” could be interpreted as [indeed] “a question from a point of view” of who they were, what are they and whom they with. Thus, “consciousness” has opened the societal concern that Republican identity for a “good life” in a family may only be achieved by liberating the bondage of tyranny and slavery from powers that be outside the community.
The sociological patterns of “family living” have unleashed the patriotic or nationalist consciousness of the unspoken family man. Whereas, the 1850 outcry for free soil, free labor and freedom has eventually “radicalized” the virtuosity at a large-scale concern and mobilization.
Measuring the effect, shaping effective response
At this juncture, it could be an interesting yet figurative discussion on the effect of policy issues to political parties prior to the effect of their action on US tax law. A concise review of literature on Public Finance, entitled: ‘Public Choice of Tax and Regulatory Instruments—The Role of Heterogeneity: Evidence from U.S. State Environmental Policy’, indicates political equilibrium modeling. As cited from the journal, it discusses the size of government, taxation, public spending, fiscal and regulatory preference, and environmental regulation (Lee & Borcherding, 2006).
Focusing on the topical discussion of this paper, Lee and Borcherding has described the primordial concern of government is its “size”, referring to continuous adaptability to change management or function in governance. Meaning, the expanding size of governmental functionalities is a result of increasing population, widening political jurisdiction and the escalated capital budget for infrastructural development, provision of welfare and services to the populace. Consequently, deficient allocation of public resources critically poses a downturn in political and economic stability.
Looking at the financial availability and viability to spend, Lee and Borcherding attempted to “measure” the scope of Federal regulation. To cite, a sampling of statistical figures has been conducted at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that has found the following data, such as (1) the projected yearly cost of regulation was $279 billion in 1997, and (2) the projected total cost of U.S. federal regulation was $688 billion in 1995 which would saddle about $7,000 in every household representing half of federal tax accountability.
According to Lee and Borcherding, the year 2000 Federal regulations GDP (gross domestic product) rate was 8%, comparably total amount of federal tax receipts. As cited, if all regulatory costs would be shared by every individual, a substantial tax amount of $8,000 could be charged from every household by year 2000, of which the “tax burden” may only be resolved by a “policy instrument” (Lee & Borcherding, 2006). As a case study example, Lee and Borcherding critically considered the government’s subsidy [through payments] on vaccines [as a preventive medical treatment] to enhance the healthcare program and reduce both expenses from income tax and government revenue expense.
It was clear; the studies of Lee and Borcherding have measured the effects of seemingly sizable government accountability in fiscal management, as a result of uncontrolled expansion of both sizes of population and functions of governance, entwined in the scarcity of needed policy instruments. It may be deduced from the case study, the integration of revenue generating policies that would work both ways [in revenue collection and eliminating tax burdens] could shape effective response.
Reflective of the above findings, an earlier legislative proposal has been positioned by Congressman Bill Archer, entitled: ‘The Economy Under A Republican Congress’. The 1992 legislative proposal has called for “increased oversight responsibilities” in effect of proposing a Taxpayer Bill of Rights II, wherein it enables the “documentation” of Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To cite, documentation refers for a provision “to correct the imbalance” between IRS and taxpayers’ tax liability computation (Archer, 1992; in US Congress Archive).
This congressional initiative to increase oversight responsibilities depicts the Constitutional mandate that may empower transparency and regulatory measures. As cited, the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution states [in verbatim] that: “ the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” (US Constitution, 1791).
In which case, the 2006 State Republican Party Platform has sharply vindicated the issue on “misnomer” federal agency that hampers the government’s tax recovery programs and add burden to the taxpayers due computation discrepancies. It may be noted that Republicans has readied a legislative agenda to shape up response on burgeoning tax policy issues. As cited from the Republicans’ Party Platform, it opposes mandate of an “institution” (like the IRS) that is beyond the scope of federal authority, and called for the abolition of other federal agencies [involved in actions] not originally intended to be delegated to the federal government, as strictly interpreted by the US Constitution (Republican, 2006).
The collective work of a people’s movement has founded a colossal power of the Western world. The emergence of political institution has made it through the foundations of democratic processes, wherein government is made from a party platform. The ascendancy of Republican Party from the virtuous family man may be said as its beginnings, and ushered for a lifetime by its families from the communities.
From the founders of the Republican Party has emanated the toil of the slaves that walked through the annals of historical struggle. The “public good, public interest and public representation” brings forth the empowerment of families in every political change or changing of the guards, in which Republicans may no longer subsist in a political race of sham and shame, because for Republicans, every vote counts for the welfare of every family.
The effect of Republican Party on US tax law has drastically supplant the old political enterprise that plagued and burdened the small wage family earners from the death tax and scarcity of benefits. On the other hand, the Republican positioning in Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches of federal government must be decisively marshaled in order to sustain the achievements of the “Grand Old Party”.
Like the FairTax, it could be tangibly beneficial in the present socio-political-economic landscape but may otherwise evolve within the cycle of American tax system. Thus, the effect of regaining the ownership from the toil must be empowered with strong judicial implementation, so that the legacy shall pass through generations of families.
We may conclude, the effect of Republican Party on US tax law uphold the value of a family, from which the government of Republicans adheres to the stewardship of institutional reform and equal opportunities.
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