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On John Linder and Scientology

U.S. Rep. John Linder rang up about an hour ago. He wanted to talk about the Bruce Bartlett attack on the Fair Tax, which we made reference to on Monday.

Most importantly, Linder wanted to explain that he and Tom Cruise are not of the same faith.

In a piece for the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Bartlett, a number cruncher for Bush No. 41, said the Fair Tax “was originally devised by the Church of Scientology in the early 1990s.”

Hogwash, said Linder, who has paired up with local radio talk show host Neal Boortz to write one book on the topic. Another is on the way. Linder and U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss also have a bill pushing a national sales tax in lieu of an income tax.

“I was just astonished. First of all, I know Bruce. I’ve been on the same stage with him. Where this Scientology stuff came from is just beyond me,” Linder said.

The congressman said he understood that another group with a similar aim — Citizens for an Alternative Tax System — had some sort of relationship with the Church of Scientology.

“But CATS has nothing to do with us. In fact, they got very angry when we started Americans for Fair Taxation, because they thought they owned the field. We just ignore them,” Linder said.

Now, we’ve heard enough charges fly back and forth about this — so we called CATS, which was founded in 1990, at its Virginia office. Glenn Wahlquist, the national director, picked up.

Is there a Scientology connection? “There was in the very, very beginning. A couple of guys who founded CATS were Scientologists. Their interest grew out of some of the church’s experience,” Wahlquist said.

The group has peaked. The organization’s phone rings at his house.

Oh, and about Linder’s religion. “I’m not now nor have I ever been a Scientologist,” he said. He is a Presbyterian elder.

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Comments

By GodHatesTrash

August 28, 2007 8:29 PM | Link to this

Lindner doesn’t look like a Presbyterian - he looks more like an airport bathroom cruiser, like Senator Craig.

He is a Republican after all.

Trash.

By roger gonnet

August 29, 2007 1:46 AM | Link to this

Anyway, what’s the matter?If ever Hubbard invented such a system, that was because, once more, he wanted to escape tax people and get more money. There is no wya such a system of taxation could be balanced: it would always profit more to rich people than to poor ones, increasing therefore the differentes and inegalities.

By robo

August 29, 2007 7:31 AM | Link to this

Scientologists choose to pay their taxes to ZENU the space conqueror, who 75 million years ago placed billions of conquered space aliens on volcanoes here on earth. He then blew them up with atomic bombs, but they are still hanging around today, within us poor earthlings.

Look it up if you don’t believe me. These sci-dopes PAY dearly for this story and other precious lies.

Now, how ron hubbard persuaded sci-wingnuts to pay loads of cash for that little tidbit, just demonstrates PT Barnum’s not-so-secret principle: “There is a sucker born every minute.”

By Matthew Brady

August 29, 2007 10:07 AM | Link to this

So, Scientologists didn’t create this version of the so-called “Fair Tax.” Very well. BB’s point equating their scheme with the Linder-Boortz version is still 100% valid. The basic aim of this nonsense is so that rich people can avoid paying taxes. That is ALL Boortz cares about. Augustus Boortz, esq. hates poor people with a passion. and, BTW, he is using this column to imply that Galloway thinks Bartlett is a liar and, therefore, Galloway endorses the “Fair Tax.” No one ever accused Boortz of arging fairly. He is, after all, a lawyer — even if a minor-league failed one whose J.D. came from some now-defunct diploma mill.

By Ken Hoagland

August 29, 2007 11:13 AM | Link to this

The FairTax actually eliminates all federal taxes on the poor and gives a middle class family of four $27,000 of federal tax free spending a year. Wealth, when spent, will be taxed at the same rate across the board without distortions by tax lobbyists that always favor the rich. Foreign manufacturers will lose the income tax produced price advantage they now have which is moving American jobs and wealth offshore. Because it also eliminates capital gains taxes, the inheritance tax and corporate taxes, however, some think of this as merely a gift to the wealthy. Not so. It, unlike every other tax proposal over the past 50 years, is actually good for every income level. We have been so conditioned by our leaders to see any gain by one segment of the American population as a loss to another that it can be hard to wrap one’s mind around a tax proposal that helps all. But a public policy issue driven by the public that could unite the left and the right against the broken income tax system would be a very healthy change from politics as usual. In this, John Linder and a few other legislators are bucking the usual class warfare trend. It will fall to the public to bring along the rest of Congress who remain addicted to manipulating the tax code for power and profit.

By ashanti

August 29, 2007 12:44 PM | Link to this

There was a Scientology connection in the beginning?

Hm, the three officers of CATS as appearing on their publically available 990 are Steven Hayes, President, who is a high-ranking Scientologist (OT level 8), his wife Paula is Treasurer and also OT 8, and Glenn Wahlquist his own bad self is listed as having completed OT 5 audited NOTS in 1992 in Source magazine 81. In 2003 there were 3 other officers who had no available Scn background. They’re gone now, though.

The 990s show that CATS has a lot less money now than it did a few years ago. Are they simply ditching it and infiltrating into Americans for Fair Taxation?

AFT’s latest 990 shows that it outsources its payroll, so technically doesn’t have any employees - except Ruth Carey. She is paid $88,000 on the 2005 return.

Ruth is the only AFT officer whose name comes up on Kristi’s truthaboutscientology site - listed as completing OT 8 in Auditor 320, in 2005.

CAT’s last two years of 990s show a marked decrease in funds - maybe it’s cheaper to just infiltrate the AFT?

I think it’s also interesting that Steven Hayes may be the same attorney who purchased the assets of Cult Awareness Network after Scientology, Inc. sued them into the dirt. Yes, a Scientologist now answers the phone at Cult Awareness Network.

By Sa Vant

August 29, 2007 12:52 PM | Link to this

“Fair Tax” junkies need to stop swilling the kool aid before they start shoveling the manure. If income is removed from the rich folks, then somebody has to replace it in this “revenue-neutral” shell game. Yeah, the economy is PREDICTED to grow once the tax-related shackles are removed. Right, and I predict the Falcons will win the Super Bowl. Predictions are worthless, and economic predictions are notoriously unreliable. Who reasonably would want to jeopardize the financial foundation of this country because a few assorted eggheads and blowhards predict so and so? This whole scheme is based on one premise: to get Boortz and his rich friends off the tax hook. Everything else of this Big Lie flows from that objective. They got theirs, and they want to protect it and grow it like the Vanderbilt pirates did back before income tax. Conf gress is not going to pass it, and no major candidate is going to endorse it. But prostitute Boortz can use it to sell more books to his nutty myrmidons.

By Sal Planet

August 29, 2007 12:55 PM | Link to this

Glenn Wahlquist in Scientology’s Published Service Completion Lists

The following completions for Glenn Wahlquist appear in official Scientology publications:

L 11 Source 60 1987-12-01

INVESTIGATORY TECH COURSE Source 60 1987-12-01

NEW OT IV Source 68 1989-10-01

NEW OT V AUDITED NOTS Source 81 1992-06-01

PROSPERITY RUNDOWN Source 81 1992-06-01

ABILITY CONGRESS COURSE Freewinds 39 2000-08-01

STUDY CERTAINTY COURSE Source 138 2002-06-01

Is there a Scientology connection? “There was in the very, very beginning. A couple of guys who founded CATS were Scientologists. Their interest grew out of some of the church’s experience,” Wahlquist said.

Mr. Wahlquist, methinks you know a bit more about the scientology underpinnings of CATS than you let on.

By Randy Duncan

August 29, 2007 1:58 PM | Link to this

WELL FOR ALL WHO CAN FIND ALL THE WRONGS WITH THE “FAIR TAX ” TELL ME WHAT ADVANTAGE DOES THE CURRENT TAX CODE GIVE? NONE ONLY IF YOU ARE WEALTHY, THE FAIR TAX WOULD ELEVATE OUR ECONOMY AND MAKE US A WORLD MANAFACTORING POWER AGAIN.

By Justin

August 29, 2007 5:05 PM | Link to this

“If income is removed from the rich folks, then somebody has to replace it in this “revenue-neutral” shell game.” “…to get Boortz and his rich friends off the tax hook.”

How exactly does the FT do this? The FT taxes every dollar spent at the retail level on new goods and services above the National Poverty Level.

Rich people spend money above the NPL. Poor people don’t.

Under the FT, ‘poor people’ (those with a spending level at or below the NPL) will pay ZERO net taxes…some might even make a buck or two off the deal.

Under the FT, ‘moderate income’ people (those with a spending level up to twice the NPL) will pay 0-11.5% net taxes on their spending.

Under the FT, ‘high income’ people (those with a spending level over twice the NPL) will pay between 11.5% and 23% net taxes on their spending.

The more you spend over the NPL on new goods and services, the higher your effective tax rate is. Every time, in every situation, for every citizen.

New house - taxed at 23% Used house - taxed at 0% New car - taxed at 23% Used car - taxed at 0%

Who buys new houses and cars? Poor people or rich people?

Dental Veneers - taxed at 23% Food - taxed at 23% The newest Cadillac - taxed at 23% The newest Yaris - taxed at 23%

who spends more here? Rich people or poor people? The more you spend….the higher your rate.

easy, simple, fair.

By David

August 29, 2007 5:56 PM | Link to this

I was at the beginning of CATS and I am a Scientologist. I used to disseminate the virtues of the FT. I still think it’s a better solution then what we have. Isn’t 90% or more of the wealth and spending relegated to 2-5% of upper class americans? Yet, the majority of the taxes are paid by the remaining 95% hard working people. Paying on what you spend will eliminate the loop holes that allow the extremely wealthy and otherwise knowledgeable upper class to avoid paying taxes. Whereas those of us who have trouble (the lower end and middle class) paying for the necessities - get the break we need to be able to live the American dream and get a real chance to accumulate assets and financial security. Isn’t it also a point that when CEO’s make hundreds of millions and yet pay their regular employees practically minimum wage? But that the CEO gets taxed at a lower rate percentage wise than the minimum wage guy/gal? Those opposed to the FT only scream at it because they themselves use the current system to avoid paying their own taxes. Or in a few cases are ridiculously ignorant of how FT works.

By David

August 29, 2007 6:02 PM | Link to this

I was at the beginning of CATS and I am a Scientologist. However, I haven’t heard a single Scientologist talk about FT or CATS for nearly 15 years. That a few members are somehow still corporate members is besides the point and whomever is trying to say there is something wrong with Scientology; and so therefore there is something wrong with FT - is malicious and part of the same people who believe the american dream is unattainable in every wise. Religious and financial. It’s a better solution then what we have. Isn’t 90% or more of the wealth and spending relegated to 2-5% of upper class americans? Yet, the majority of the taxes are paid by the remaining 95% hard working people. How is that fair? Paying on what you spend will eliminate the loop holes that allow the extremely wealthy and otherwise knowledgeable upper class to avoid paying taxes. Whereas those of us who have trouble (the lower end and middle class) paying for the necessities - get the break we need to be able to live the American dream and get a real chance to accumulate assets and financial security. Isn’t it also a point that when CEO’s make hundreds of millions and yet pay their regular employees practically minimum wage? But that the CEO gets taxed at a lower rate percentage wise than the minimum wage guy/gal? Those opposed to the FT only scream at it because they themselves use the current system to avoid paying their own taxes. Or in a few cases are ridiculously ignorant of how FT works. The only people that lose are the very wealthy.

By tool time

August 29, 2007 6:54 PM | Link to this

Wanna know what REAL trash is? The liberal Demoncat campaigner who snubbed Boortz for a Cleland interview and was about as ugly as that GodHatesTrash fella to the Boortz crew. It doesn’t get any better than this. Jailed for a warrant on drugs and being a car jacker. I hope that POS Demoncat supporter finds a new butt buddy in jail. What goes around, comes around. That is your typical Demoncat voter constituent. Wastoid.

By Ian

August 30, 2007 2:06 AM | Link to this

Apparently, this type of misinformation is a long-standing tradition by Mr. Bartlett.

Witness:

(Paraphrased) Reply by Dan R Mastromarco (LL.M., Taxation, Georgetown, principal in the Argus Group, adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, International Management Program, and research consultant to Americans for Fair Taxation - FairTax.org) **to:

“A National Sales Tax Doesn’t Add Up” by Bruce Bartlett, December 29, 1999**

Many engaged in true tax reform find Bartlett-type attacks exasperating, if not embarrassing. I’d like to convey perspective of both flat taxers and sales taxers who believe that such attacks are counterproductive, but first provide some political history by which to frame said perspectives.

For years Conservatives have posited that a VAT is bad policy (when liberals were discussing it), fearing it would become additional to an income tax (it was called a “money machine”). Circa 1980, conservative intellectuals touted Hall-Rabushka “subtraction method” [ H-R ] VAT which taxed business value added at the business side and labor value added at the labor side. Unlike European VATs (identical in scope), H-R became favorite of Dick Armey and Steve Forbes. It eliminated steeply progressive tax rates and tax on savings. Because of the prior VAT criticisms, H-R was packaged as the “flat tax” and is sold as an income tax to this day, rather than the VAT that its DNA characterizes it as being.

Some conservative commentators have called for the repeal of the 16th Amendment and for the adoption of the flat tax, (despite the fact that it is styled as a direct tax and could not be adopted with such repeal). Mr. Bartlett has called the national sales tax [ie, the FairTax] a VAT (which it isn’t), castigated VATs as evil, and has said that sales taxes have become VATs in Europe (which they didn’t). In the next breath, he “throws his arms around” the flat tax (which is a VAT). He quotes Bill Gale that the [FairTax] would have to be imposed at 60 percent, but glaringly fails to recognize that if the two bases are the same, he would have to impose that rate for the flat tax to be revenue neutral. In truth, all economists know that the two plans differ NOT in economic effect or base, but in administration.

An income tax taxes savings and investment multiple times. Both flat tax and FairTax are neutral as to savings and investment, tax income only once, and are both consumption taxes. Both are single rate taxes, have nearly the same base, and would improve the U.S. standard of living. Neither redistributes wealth.

While some have even suggested that hey are the same plans under different names, the flat tax taxes value added at each stage in the production process, but the FairTax prefers to tax it when it is added up at the end and eliminate the need to make everyone a taxpayer and collector.

Substantive commonalities between the flat tax and FairTax doesn’t mean that there are NO key political and policy distinctions that could be exploited in pitting one against the other. If FairTax supporters wanted to retaliate in response to the Bartlett-type critique, they would have much material with which to honestly do so:

• The flat tax will make small firms and farmers pay the tax even if they have no profit • The flat tax is opposed by many small business groups • The flat taxers implicitly support big government by disguising even more of the overall tax burden as the current law • The flat tax has been kicking around for nearly 20 years • The flat tax makes everyone a taxpayer and collector, while the FairTax exempts 115 million filers [2000 figure] from ever having to deal with the IRS • The flat tax is regressive, but the FairTax would enable everyone to keep his full paycheck. • The flat tax has not only stalled, it has lost public and Congressional support. • The FairTax is instantly understood, while even some proponents of the flat tax don’t understand it • There are no transition rules developed for the flat tax and they would be very difficult to craft • The flat tax taxes exports and relieves imports from tax • The flat tax confuses tax reform with temporary tax reduction and makes both twice as hard • The flat tax retains the entire income tax apparatus which erodes as quickly as you can say, “tax bill”

FairTaxers could advance these truthful points without resorting to bigotry associated with a cultic religious organization. However, for the most part, FairTax supporters have chosen not to attack the flat tax, but rather accentuate the commonalities between the plans - despite the above-noted differences. The reason is that, in the battle for tax reform, the real enemy is our current system.

Income tax advocates look down upon the articles of Bruce Bartlett with smug chortling, as Bruce is doing their work for them. The IRS and the liberals who want an income tax to ensure (1) taxes can be raised without the American people knowing it, and (2) wealth can be redistributed from the middle class to the poor, do not even need to fight us - we’re killing ourselves!

Perhaps Mr. Bartlett believes that the flat tax will help elect Republicans, effect tax reform, and provide tax cuts; however, the real effect of his criticism is to divide conservatives, to delay serious national consideration of tax reform, and to fertilize the roots of the income tax.

( Source

By davidpbrown

August 30, 2007 8:01 AM | Link to this

Do those of you who still support the Income Tax know who came up with that idea? Karl Marx of communism fame.

I’ve come to realize there are three types of people who do not support the FairTax: 1. Those who don’t understand it. 2. Those who are afraid of anything different/introduced by a Republican. 3. Politicians who realize how much power they will lose when the FairTax is passed.

Have you taken the pledge? The FairTax Pledge

By Pat Landy

August 30, 2007 8:03 AM | Link to this

“Say it ain’t so Bruce”….. Could it be that Bruce is joining the ranks of the “prostitues” (lobbyists) he wrote about in 2006. I cannot think of another reason for this “hit piece” on the FairTax HR25. A cursory glance at the Fairtax.org website, specifically the page in Rebuttal to the Mack/Breaux Tax Panel report at http://www.fairtax.org/PDF/Excerptsfromresponsetotax_panel-103006.pdf answers each of the faulty arguments he raises in his Wall Street Journal column. Bruce Bartlett is usually meticulous in his research, so I can only conclude that a.) he had a “lazy” day, or b.) he deliberately listed failed arguments to bolster an agenda, which by the way would account for the non germane inclusion of the Scientology reference.

By Craig also

August 30, 2007 8:18 AM | Link to this

I’ve come to realize there are three types of people who support the national sales tax. 1) Those who willingly swallow everything they are told by shock jock talk radio types. 2) Those who have absolutely no understanding of economics. 3) Talk Radio gurus who understand how gullible many of their listeners are, and are looking to cut their own taxes.

www.fairtaxfraud.com

By Craig also

August 30, 2007 8:24 AM | Link to this

Oh wait, there’s another. 4)Politicians who realize that dimwitted listeners of talk radio will blindly support whatever their guru tells them to.

By Brady

August 30, 2007 10:56 PM | Link to this

What stands out after reading all the posts to the original article is the method each writer employs to bolster their point. Look which writers refer to arguments that can be further researched and those that employ only emotional attacks. It becomes clear that if one relies on name calling, then the substance of their argument must come from the same childish substance. This is much too important of an issue to revert to a blind support of either side. We need to look at what the present system does, who benefits the most from it, what it does to our economy, and who would chose such a system if given the opportunity to vote for it. Then we need to look for a viable replacement if it is decided that the present system is too corrupt to serve the “People”. Our forefathers knew an income tax would not benefit our country, why do we find it so hard to believe that now. Americans need to make new and bold changes to the massive invasion of their private lives by the IRS and study every proposal that ends that unconstitutional hold on our lives. Ask yourself if you would volunteer for a tax audit and be sure that were no mistakes made in any of the last ten years of your taxes. If you can say yes, then maybe you should be comfortable with our present tax system. If you say no, then you need to find and support a more transparent system and one in which you know how much and when you pay federal taxes. Do your really know how much in federal taxes you paid last year. I’ll bet you don’t. It is much to complicated to find that figure. Think first. Act second.

By R.C.

August 31, 2007 12:00 PM | Link to this

There are so many problems with how this FairTax thing has been covered, I hardly know where to begin.

Okay, so Bartlett was incorrect about the FairTax being associated with Scientology. It takes a paragraph or less to say that, and to add that he mistook it for another group, CATS, with another (similar) proposal. Done.

But it was an unimportant argument to use against FairTax anyway, wasn’t it? A stopped clock can be right twice a day, and even a Scientologist can plausibly come up with a reasonable tax system that’s better than our current system. (“Better than our current system” is, I think we all agree, a pretty low bar)

The more important flaw in Bartlett’s piece which AJC missed entirely is that Bartlett, supply-side guru, tax advisor to Presidents, GOT IT WRONG. All the details, wrong. (Imagine Steven Hawking making a PBS Special arguing the moon was made of green cheese.)

Bartlett debated the 30% vs. 23% semantic issue, but completely forgot that this amount is added AFTER the embedded taxes (paid under the current system) have been removed from the retail price.

That’s a glaring error. On an item currently costing $100 retail, the price after the FairTax is implemented is around $101 (adding the $23 FairTax, but first subtracting the current $22 embedded tax we unknowingly pay).

Bartlett, math genius that he is, said the new price would be $130. Thank God he’s not my tax accountant.

Bartlett also stated that the prebate was income based. That’s exactly what it’s not; it’s cost-of-living based. The whole point of the FairTax is to base things on consumption, not income. How could Bartlett miss that? (Maybe he mistook it for the CATS proposal again?)

The real scandal here is that a supposed expert like Bartlett managed to get such a public, national platform for his opinion piece, and then displayed his utter ignorance of the topic. That’s like an Olympic diver belly-flopping.

Now that’s news.

By R.C.

August 31, 2007 12:35 PM | Link to this

As an addendum:

The website www.fairtaxfraud.com is pretty ignorant of the details of the FairTax; it’s evidently written by someone who reflexively hates the message if it’s delivered by the wrong messenger.

As a progressive, I’m not inclined to support much that Boortz or Linder support. But I won’t write a demented screed sprinkled with triple exclamation marks, ad hominem attacks, and hyperbole like the aforementioned website.

The reality is that Democratic Senator Mike Gravel is absolutely correct to support the FairTax; it’d be a boon to the working poor. Only a person who hasn’t examined the details thinks otherwise.

Imagine a low income earner. He earns, say, $20K a year for the wife and kid. Under the current system, around 15% of that vanishes into FICA withholding. (7% is claimed to be “his employer’s share” but everyone knows his employer considers that part of the cost of having that employee.) So his reported pre-tax income is $18,600, and his take-home pay is more like $17,000, assuming he’s in the 0% bracket.

Under the FairTax, he just takes home 20,000, because withholding goes away. At the same time, embedded taxes vanish from the retail price of goods, but then a 30% tax (23% if you figure it inclusively) is added on, which more or less balances out the embedded tax reduction. The result is that the item costs about the same it always did.

So our low income guy pays the same he used to for his stuff, but has more take-home money to pay with.

Add to that the prebate. Now, he’s reimbursed (preemptively) on all the retail taxes he paid on stuff up to the cost of living. Let’s say the cost of living for his family is estimated at $15,000. He’ll get a prebate of $3450 or thereabouts.

So his actual situation is: A guy who used to bring home $17,000 is now bringing home $23,450, and paying prices that haven’t changed much.

Mother Teresa didn’t do that much for the poor.

The FairTax puts the tax burden on to consumers, but completely skips taxes on consumption up to the cost of living. Therefore, the poor pay nothing (which is less than they pay now), frugal non-poor consumers pay a bit of taxes, and opulent spendthrifts pay the most of government’s expenses. And best of all, hookers, pimps, drug-dealers, and others who currently pay nothing because they leave their illegal income unreported, finally pay their fair share. (They report no income…but they’ve gotta eat.)

Sounds right to me.

By Terryeo

September 2, 2007 1:08 AM | Link to this

Scientology has commented on our convoluted, complex, practically impossible income tax ? Oh. Umm, anyone else ever comment on it? HEH !

By Mike

September 8, 2007 9:58 AM | Link to this

Oh my gawd!!! Some of you people are outrageous. You’re hatred of conservatives is overwhelming. If you can read- read the book on the FairTax. With an open mind, if possible. Do you still really want to give your money to the govt. first? And, by the way, under the FairTax, “poor” folks don’t pay anything at all!!! They get a check every month covering any tax they ‘might’ have to pay! Everybody else pays at the register—the way it oughta be in America. It is Fair!

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