‘Fair Tax’ seen as wedge issue to push split between Republicans, Tea Party

By Russell Berman, The Hill

Democrats are eyeing the “fair tax” as a wedge issue in the 2010 elections, hoping to force Republican candidates across the country to take a stand on the conservative proposal.

The so-called fair tax — which would replace the current income tax system with a 23 percent national sales tax — has been a campaign plank for some conservatives for years, but it has gained prominence with the rise of the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party “Contract from America,” released last week, calls for a “single-rate tax system.”

Republican leaders in Washington have voiced general support for the Tea Party platform but have shied away from endorsing its specific proposals. For Democrats, highlighting the “fair tax” issue is a component of their strategy of trying to splinter the GOP from the Tea Party movement.

Democrats say the proposal would benefit the rich at the expense of working families, a line that dovetails with their broader campaign message that Republicans are backing big-money interests rather than “Main Street.”

“This radical new tax hike from House Republicans and their candidates would have a devastating impact on middle-class families,” said Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

While the Tea Party platform calls for a single-rate tax, it does not specify whether the tax should be on income or sales. The executive director of the New Patriot Journal, Shelby Blakely, said the goal was a system in which “everybody pays the same proportional tax.”

“Once we get there, we can debate which one is the better idea,” Blakely said.

To read more, http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/93455-fair-tax-seen-as-wedge-to-split-gop-tea-party

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