2012 MO GOP Convention, Springfield, MO

Whatta weekend.  It was a new experience for Mrs. Crucis and me.  This was the first time we’ve been delegates to the MO district and state caucuses. We were whooped when it was finally over but we’d do it again.

For those of you non-Missouri readers, the GOP delegates to the National Convention are chosen via a three-part caucus system.  The first caucus was held in March at the county level.  That caucus chose delegates to District caucuses in April. By District, I mean one regional caucus per congressional district.  We attended the 4th District Caucus in Sedalia, MO. The same delegates to the District caucuses were also delegates to the State Caucus/Convention on June 2nd in Springfield.

Half of the national delegates were chosen during the District caucuses, the other half were chosen at the State caucus.  Each district caucus chose one Elector in April, the remainder where chosen at the State convention as well as two Committeemen, one man and one woman, to the National GOP Committee.

To cut the story short, the State Convention seemed to mirror our District Caucus. A significant number of Santorum delegates failed to appear. Their seats were given to Alternate delegates.  Many of those, like those from our county, were Ron Paul supporters.

It appears that some of those Santorum supporters who did attend the State Convention had negotiated some deals—so they thought. Now that I’ve had an opportunity to review some of those reports, it appears some Santorum delegates tried to play the Romney (establishment?) faction against the Ron Paul faction.  Some Santorum delegates claim they were promised half of the the Unity delegate slots.  Their claim was that since Santorum won the “Primary” earlier this year…the one that served no purpose since it was contrary to the RNC rules, that Santorum should receive half of the state delegates to the national convention. At the same time, a number of Santorum delegates negotiated a similar deal with the Ron Paul faction.

I can’t verify any of these claims.  If they were true, however, why did so many Santorum delegates fail to appear?  Few Santorum delegates from our county made the trip to Springfield.  The Cass County attendees to Springfield appeared to be the same ones who attended the Sedalia Caucus.  Our county, when all the delegates were seated, contained  about the same number of Paul supporters as were seated in Sedalia.  Every Cass County Alternate was seated as a full delegate in Springfield, so I was told.

In the end, the Unity/Establishment slated contained six Santorum delegates, the remainder were pledged to Romney. The Ron Paul/”Grassroots” slate contained nine Santorum delegates with the remainder pledged to Ron Paul.  When the vote was taken—a standing vote, the Unity slate won by about 300 votes.  There were sixty abstentions (why?).  The other items to be voted on went the same way. The Paul faction coming up short on votes for their agenda.

This convention had some issues, but not with the voting.  As delegates we were seated by district, the 4th for us, and within the district by county. We had to stand and be individually counted. As we were counted, we sat down so the row behind us could be counted.

The controversy was the credentialing process.  According to the agenda, credentialing started at 6:30am through 9:00am when the Convention was scheduled to start.  My wife and I were credentialed around 7:15am. The lines were beginning to grow.  Each district were allocated a number of booths. The booths were further broken down by alphabet.  We went to the 4th District area, to the A-C for Cass County delegates and then to the M-Z line.  For us the line was empty. The A-L line next to us was thirty yards long.

Credentialing took a long time. Come 9:00am, the lines were still long.  The start of the Convention was delayed nearly two hours to allow everyone in line to be credentialed.

Credentialing lines weren’t the only issue. Three entire county contingents were “contested” as well as some individuals.  The Paul faction had filed a complaint against Cass County and several others.  Those complaints were heard before a hearing in early April and dismissed. That was the District caucus however. This was the State Convention and we had to go through the entire process again.

There was a section of seats set aside for “contested” delegates. We called it Limbo. Most of the delegates had no idea why they were contested. Conspiracy theories were rampant.  Some bordering on paranoia!  A woman sitting next to my wife, a Paul supporter, was convinced it was all a government scheme to disrupt the convention. Another Paul supporter in the row in front of me was convinced it was the state establishment out to purge the Paul supporters from the delegate lists. 

We, the Cass County folks were told finally what was happening.  We were assured it was just a procedural process and that we would be seated after the Credentialing Committee issued their report and recommendations.  That is exactly what eventually happened.  However, not a single Paul supporter sitting within earshot of me accepted that explanation.

There were around 150 contested delegates.  When the Credentialing Committee finally announced their findings, only four delegates were rejected.  two were rejected because they were delegates from one District while living in another district.  If I remember correctly, these two were from Jackson County.  Another delegate was disqualified for being too young, under 18. The fourth delegate was rejected because he was an outspoken Libertarian and had run for office on the Libertarian ticket. He failed to meet the “true and faithful Republican” requirement for delegate.  The Committee then recommended that all other contested delegates be seated.  The Committee report and the recommendations were accepted by a voice vote.

It was clear that the Paul faction intended to seize control of the convention like they had done in several county caucuses. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t have the votes. They submitted candidates for the Permanent Chairman, and every other position, issue, and slate that required a vote. When entire county contingents voted enbloc, it’s easy to see where the Paul faction was seated.  On every item, the Paul faction fell short by around 300 votes.

Listening to the comments of the Paul supporters around me, they were not happy. It was democracy in action and they didn’t like it.  It’s amazing to me that Paul supporters claim to be the true representatives of conservatism. If that was true, why can’t they win a majority of votes?  It appears their allegiance to democracy is true only as long as they win. When they don’t…well, people are stupid and need to be lead by their betters.  Sounds just like democrats to me.

Another attendee wrote in a post on Facebook about the number of younger delegates. In his opinion the demographics of the delegates, the youth of many of those members, bode well for the future of the GOP. That was a concern for me as well.

The GOP appears to be aging. We need younger members who will work to support conservatism and maintain momentum in November and the years in the future.  The GOP must grow and expand not only in members but in the newer grassroots organizations of the Tea Party and the Ron Paul supporters. I am NOT a Ron Paul supporter. I think he would be as bad for this country’s survival as Obama. Now is not the time to be a turtle or an ostrich when the world is filled with predators. Paul’s foreign policy statements, if he were President, would endanger our survival.  On the other hand, I like much of his domestic policies.

Ron Paul will be 77 years old in August. This election is his last hurrah. He appears to be trying to broker some deal at the national convention. I don’t know what his followers will do in the future. Some are expected to follow Rand Paul. Others want to create a third party.  If the establishment, those in Washington whose primary interest is maintaining their personal positions and power aren’t removed, a third party may be the only answer. 

I hope not.

A third-party will place the democrats back in power. We have only a limited amount of time to repeal and repair the damage done by the democrats. They will not stop nor disband if they lose in the Fall. No, they will be back in four years trying once again to seize the government and force us back on the road to crony-capitalism and socialism. The GOP has one term to prove they really are conservative. If they fail, they’ll be recorded in history as just another extinct party like the Whigs.

But that failure won’t matter. If the GOP fails to curtail the democrats, abolish or curtail the power of the EPA and all the other “letter” agencies created since LBJ, this will no longer be a constitutional republic but just another centralized dictatorship run by a single party. The United States as envisioned by the Founders will be dead.

Thieves in the night…

There are a sundry of news items on the ‘net today. Although it’s not getting much press with the State Media, the political news is that Ron Paul says he’s not going to spend anymore money trying to win votes and delegates in the remaining primaries.

No, Ron Paul has another plan. What he can’t get through the ballot box, i.e., delegates to the ‘Pub convention this summer, he’ll use his supporters to seize in state conventions what he couldn’t win in the local caucuses.  This tactic was exposed in recent news items out of Iowa.

“I think we’re going to spend money and campaign time in Iowa making sure that we have ID’d every single delegate to the state convention and that we turn out all of our delegates to the Iowa state convention to make sure that they vote and get their voices heard,” Benton says.

The man who was elected chairman of the Iowa GOP in February is a Ron Paul supporter and former campaign aide. Ron Paul supporters now hold a majority of seats on the Iowa Republican Party’s state central committee.

“We want to get our people involved in the process,” Benton says, “and we want our people in positions of influence.” — Radio Iowa.

Ron Paul came in a distant third after Romney and Santorum in Iowa. That doesn’t matter to the Ron Paul controlled Iowa state ‘Pub committee. No, they’ll use parliamentary procedures to “pack” the convention. Apparently the plan is to disenfranchise the Romney and Santorum local delegates in favor of those who will toe the Paul party line.

We have seen such tactics here in Missouri. Ron Paul partisans seized control of a number of Missouri county caucuses in Jackson, Boone, St. Charles and other counties.  In the district caucuses, Ron Paul partisans attempted to seize control as well.  They failed. Across Missouri, Romney, followed by Santorum won most of the delegates with Ron Paul getting four and Gingrich one. 

The remaining Missouri delegates will be chosen next month at the state convention. I am already hearing rumbles that Ron Paul partisans will attempt a power play to gain more delegates. Unlike Iowa, the Missouri central committee tilts toward Romney the last I heard. But…the same delegates that attended the District Caucuses will likely attend the state convention. And, those counties controlled by Ron Paul have large delegations. There is still a chance for an ambush by the Paulbots.

Ron Paul knows he has no chance of winning anything via the ballot box. But, like any wannabe tyrant, he’ll not let such a technicality to be an obstacle. What he can’t achieve in the light of day, he’ll try to take “like a thief in the night.”

I don’t know what Paul thinks he’ll achieve. Even if he is successful, he still won’t have enough delegates to win the party nomination.  Pundits speculate that Paul wants concessions—selecting his son Rand Paul for Veep, adding items to the party plank such as an audit of the Federal Reserve or perhaps a cabinet position (Treasury?) for Paul.

Whatever the reason, his tactics, such as his supporters heckling Romney’s son in Arizona, are reminiscent of some 3rd-world dictator. Here is a quote from a Paul supporter in Arizona. Perhaps this quote is more telling about Paul’s tactics and goals than my speculation.

Paul supporters hope to disrupt conventions across the country. Their intent is to force a second vote at the national convention, in which they are not bound to Romney who won delegates in the primaries.

One young woman told the Paul supporters that they must not value the democratic process because they are trying to subvert the will of the people who mostly supported Romney. Mitt Romney won 47 percent and Ron Paul won 8.6 percent of the vote in Arizona’s primary vote. The remainder of the vote was divided between Gingrich and Santorum. — Arizona Daily Independent.

Caucus Review

Yesterday, I presented a recap of Cass County’s caucus with my observations.  Today is a continuation on that caucus theme…not the results of the weekend but on the conduct of the caucuses across the state.

I have to say that the conduct of some attendees across the state have been…well words fail me, let’s use atrocious.  Some of that behavior, as it appears from the videos out of the St. Charles caucus, was planned.  Other instances, supported by my observations of the Cass County caucus, was through ignorance of the process and of Robert’s Rules of Order.

When I was in High School a number of decades ago, Robert’s Rules and parliamentary procedures were taught in the government and speech classes.  The latter was an elective, the former, at least at that time in Illinois, was not.

In those classes, we conducted meetings using Robert’s Rules.  We were taught how to use them and how the Rules allowed maximum communication while preventing chaos.  Such topics and school instruction seem to have fallen by the wayside in today’s “modern” curriculum.

The parliamentary procedures are necessary if the meeting is not to fall into a shouting match.  The St. Charles caucus failed to control the mob.  In retrospect, it now appears that there was nothing the St. Charles chairman could have done.  The disruption was planned in advance with the intent of seizing control of the caucus. We were more fortunate in Cass County, although for a while, our meeting got a bit boisterous as well.

It is important to recognize that when a dozen or more people are shouting, no one can be heard from that herd.  There’s a reason why adherence to the Rules are important.

Now that the caucus is over, it’s time to review the caucus and make a “lessons learned” list.  What was done well, such as the credentialing process, and what must be done better.  For the latter, let me present some ideas.

1.  Have an alternate site available in advance with working P/A facilities.  The auditorium where we met was the right size, but it lacked a P/A.  That made it difficult for the chairman to be heard in all corners of the room.
2. Building on the P/A…have a wireless mic available for speakers from the floor.  Once recognized, the speaker could be handed the mic and then be heard throughout the room.
3.  If the site is moved at the last minute, post a sign with a map and instruction were to find the new site.  I was told by a number of folks that no sign nor map was posted at the New Justice Center.  Some folks were late and were not allowed to enter.  My Pastor and his wife were some of those turned away.
4.  Better communication with the public.  Before the meeting, I roamed the room greeting folks.  One common question was, “Where’s the ballot box?”  All to many thought the caucus was just like the primary with a ballot.  Many people there did not know they would not be voting on a presidential candidate but for delegates.
5.  If I heard correctly, only the four team leaders and the chairman had a copy of the proposed rules submitted by the Rules Committee.  Going forward, copies should be available as handouts to be distributed as attendees passed through the credentialing process.  Our caucus referred to the rules numerous times during the meeting.  I had an opportunity to glance over them at the beginning of the meeting.  Most of those attending did not and did not understand some of the issues under discussion.

6. Provide a brief handout on parliamentary procedures, explanations for “Points of Order, Points of Information, and Question.”

7.  Finally, the county Central Committee should, and may have such already, schedule a review of the planning and performance of the caucus.  Along with that review, record a “lessons learned” document for any future events.  We don’t, as a party, want continue to make the same mistakes if/when the next caucus occurs.

I’m sure those who were more actively involved in the planning and conduct of the caucus can add more to my short list above.  It is as important to document what went well as that that didn’t go well.  When the next caucus or large meeting occurs, use those lessons learned to make that future event a success. 

As important Robert’s Rules of Order are for a successful event, risk management—what could go wrong and how to mitigate the risks, is a top tool for planning.  Lessons Learned provide input to the risk management process to make the meeting move smoothly.

Judging from the size of caucuses across the state, the Republican Party has grown.  More and more are interested in Grass Roots politics.  Many, such as myself, are becoming more active to work within the Party and to restore confidence in our government and respect to the Constitution.  The Party as a whole must be prepared to accept these new members and integrate them into all levels from the local, through the state and on to the national committees.

We have a great opportunity before us. To paraphrase Archy Bunker, “Let us not screw this up!”

Missouri Republican Caucus, Cass County Style

My wife and I attended the Cass County Republican caucus Saturday.  It was our first caucus and we looked forward to the experience.  To say it was a learning experience is an understatement. From beginning to end, the caucus was five hours of instruction.

This year, the ‘Pub caucus was specifically designed to give all counties, rather than a populous few, representation.  Delegates selected at the local caucuses will go to caucuses for each congressional district on April 21st, and to the state caucus on June 2nd.  The congressional caucuses will select delegates to the national convention. The state caucus will select some state-wide delegates and alternates for the national convention.  (Note: I’m relying on memory and the state caucus may select some other delegates not mentioned here.)

The Cass County caucus started at 10:30am.  It was moved late in the week from the New Justice Center to the Harrisonville High School when early estimates indicated the Justice Center would be too small. As always, there were some who did not get the word.

The process was straight forward.  We arrived, filled out an affidavit showing our name, address, attesting that we were registered voters and that we were Republicans.  We then showed our photo IDs and were credentialed.  This process would come to be important later in the session because the state rules and the rules adopted later stated that all delegates and alternates had to be credentialed. We were each given a numbered red card that we would present to have our vote counted and to be allowed to re-enter the caucus if we had to leave.

Everyone who attended and signed the affidavit was credentialed allowing anyone attending to be qualified as a delegate or alternate.  The final count was 342 credentialed attendees.

The meeting open with the Pledge of Allegiance and a Prayer.  The first order of business was the selection of a caucus chairman.  Two candidates were submitted, Bill Kartsonis by the Santorum faction and Ron Johnson. I’m unsure who nominated Ron Johnson. Ron Johnson won the vote on a 51% to 49% spread.

The Rules Committee Chairman, presented the proposed caucus rules. These were the same as the proposed rules issued by the state.  After discussion, one amendment was added to require the delegates to be bound for the first ballot to their candidate. Thereafter they would be released to vote their conscience.

Under these rules, if no one candidate acquired more than 50% of the votes, delegates would be selected proportionally from the four candidate groups.  The initial assumption was that no one group had than 50+% majority.  It was supported by the fact that the Santorum faction, recognizably the largest group at the caucus, had failed to get a majority of votes for their candidate for caucus chairman.

Two and a half hours had passed and we were just getting to the meat of the caucus—the straw poll to determine the distribution of supporters for the four Presidential candidates.

Group          Votes      %      Delegates   Alt. Delegates
Santorum:     162      51%         22                 22
Paul:               88      28%         12                 12
Romney:         37      12%           5                   5
Gingrich:        27         9%          4                   4
Total:            314                      43                 43

As a full disclosure, my wife and I were in the Newt Gingrich camp.  Frankly, it was a close choice for us between Gingrich and Santorum. I could live with either but I liked Gingrich’s aggressiveness, intelligence and his scoring points on Obama rather than on other ‘Pub candidates. I had hoped to be a delegate for Gingrich to the District and State Caucuses, but that was not to happen.

After the straw poll the Santorum faction had sufficient votes to block the proportional slate.  As the session continued, it was apparent the Santorum leadership intended to seize control of the caucus from the beginning.  It was only by a narrow vote their chairman candidate was defeated.  The initial agreements supporting proportional representation was tossed aside and an alliance was made between the Santorum and the Romney camps to acquire a clear majority.

Understanding politics, this was acceptable.  The Santorum group had the votes. They could now present their slate of delegates and get them approved. Cass County was allocated 43 delegates and 43 alternate delegates for the subsequent District and State caucuses.  

What happened next is where the controversy arose.  The Santorum faction failed to present a complete slate.

Initially when delegate lists were presented for the proportional distribution, the Santorum faction submitted only twenty-two names—their percentage of the 43 delegates. However, they did not submit any names for alternates.  The other three groups did submit people for their allocation of delegates and alternates.

As the Chairman read the delegate counts submitted by the leadership of each faction, the Santorum shortage was revealed and the Santorum group erupted.  It took some time for the Master-at-Arms to quiet the room.  The Chairman recessed the caucus for fifteen minutes to allow the Santorum group to present a full list of 22 delegates and 22 alternates.

At the end of the recess, instead of submitting a complete list of names—delegates and alternates, the Santorum leadership called for an up-down vote of the proportional slate “as presented”, that is short 22 alternate delegates from the Santorum faction.

During the recess the leadership of the Santorum group made an alliance with the Romney group to vote down the proportional slate.  With that alliance, those two group could control the slate and leave the Paul and Gingrich groups out in the cold.

And that is exactly what happened.  One Santorum leader was heard to say that since Santorum won the primary in February, it was only right that he receive all the delegates from Cass County.

Yes, it was within the rules.  Combined, the two groups had the votes to sweep the slate. They did so.  And, truth be told, while it was unexpected, I can’t argue against that tactic.  It was within the rules.  What followed next, however, was not.

The rules voted and accepted at the beginning of the caucus, stated that ALL delegates and alternates had to be credentialed, i.e., be a Cass County resident, be a registered voter and attest to be a “good Republican.”  Each of us attended completed and signed before a witness an affidavit attesting to those conditions. Therefore each attendee had been credentialed.

The Chairman asked the Santorum leadership to present their slate and for each delegate and alternate to stand and be recognized.

The Santorum leadership refused.  They claimed that the rules stated that proposed delegates and alternates did not have to be present to be qualified.  That was true as I read the rules.  The Chairman agreed.  Already, according to the vote counts, thirty people had left the caucus some time between the beginning to the caucus and the time when the initial slate was voted down.

But those thirty people had been credentialed.  By refusing to present the slate before the caucus, how could those of us there, those of us who would vote for that slate, know if the slate met the requirement to be credentialed.  It could happen, as one attendee stated, the Barack Obama’s name could be on that list.  

Again, the Santorum leadership refused to reveal their slate and they had the votes to force an adjournment of the caucus. One excuse was that it was getting late and some attendees wanted to attend the St. Pat’s parade in Belton.  Politicians love to get their face before a crowd.

After five hours, the caucus adjourned. No one, outside of the Santorum faction leadership knew who was on the slate of delegates and alternates.  It was a prime example of the tyranny of the majority. Democracy in action.  For all we knew, the slate was filled with democrats although I say that tongue-in-cheek.

After the caucus, I spoke with a number of people who attended. Many, like my wife and I, were neophytes—and to an extent, naive in local politics.  We received a good teaching experience.

I am very curious why the Santorum leadership refused to present their candidates to the caucus body.  They had to provide the names to the Chairman so he can forward them to the GOP state organization.  The consensus of those whom I spoke at the caucus was that the list was filled with the cronies of the Santorum leaders. I’m not that familiar with the county’s internal politics to know if that’s a possibility.  

Another attendee said that the slate contained names of some who were not present and had not been credentialed.  The Chairman offered to give the Santorum leadership time to acquire credentials for any on his slate who had not been credentialed that morning. Again, the Santorum leadership refused.

I had several conversations over the weekend about the results of the caucus. I was curious about the refusal to reveal the slate by the Santorum leaders.  I have since been told, by more than one attendee, that the slate contained names of people who did not attend nor were credentialed and that in the end, the slate will be short by 4 to 8 delegates.  The number varies depending on the source.

Since the Santorum leadership refused to present their list of names, we don’t know what the real motivation was.  Inexperience? Perhaps. Poor planning and leadership? Perhaps.  Chrony politics? Perhaps.  All of the above?  Perhaps.

The Santorum group won…but in the end, the county lost.  I don’t mind that Santorum will get our votes at the next caucus.  I do mind that in their pursuit of seizing control of the caucus, the Santorum leadership lost track of the purpose of the caucus—to provide Cass County with full representation.  An apparent personal agenda won with little regard for others.

Regardless which faction you favored in the caucus, I can guarantee the experience will be remembered for some time to come.

No Sales Tax on Caucus Platform

I belong to a number of conservative groups in Missouri. Note, I said “Conservative,” not Republican groups although I belong to those too.  For the most part, quite a large part, I agree with their viewpoints—smaller government, fiscal and social responsibility, adherence to the Constitution as it was originally formulated and presented to the states.

But there is one area I vehemently disagree.

Many of these groups are on FaceBook.  I received notice of a post this morning concerning the ‘Pub party platform for this coming Caucus and what should be included.  Once again, the Hydra raised its head—the Federal Sales Tax.

I am continually amazed how people think this is a solution for their hatred of the IRS!  I don’t like the IRS either.  However, it has a necessary purpose.  As long as there are taxes, some agency must exist to insure the government gets its legal cut.  It’s true that often the IRS can give mob leg-breakers tips and lessons how to get people to cough up what is owed.  I don’t like those techniques either.

However, removing the IRS, which seems to be the primary motive of the Sales Tax crowd, won’t remove the need for the function served by the IRS.  Something WILL replace it.

Be that as it may, let me list the objections that I have about any sales tax.

It is a tax on consumption.  Read that again!  It a tax on consumption.  It will increase cost of the taxed item to the buyer.

When times are good, the personal impact is less and often ignored.  The personal bite has a lesser impact. When times are bad, like it has been since the fall of 2008, the tax bite grows longer teeth. 

When times are tough, people review their expenditures…and cut back.  Necessities come first, everything else is reduced or cut completely according to circumstances.

That has had a decisive impact to Cass County. A county sales tax is the sole revenue stream for the county.  Sales tax revenues have fallen short of forecast.  The budget was developed using those forecasts and now when the bills are coming due, the funds aren’t there.  Spending levels depended on that missing revenue. Now, for a number of reasons, the county could have bankruptcy.

That’s one danger of a sales tax, the “trickle-down” effect.  But let’s take another look at sales taxes—the unintended consequences.

Who and what will be required to be taxed.  The proponents say that a sales tax will be more equitable, that everyone will pay their “fair” (oh, how I detest that word) share.  Does anyone really think those on the lower end of the economic scale, those on various welfare programs, will pay their “fair” share?  I don’t.  They already receive food stamps, many receive free or subsidized housing, free medical care.  The liberals will immediately move to exempt this block from the sale tax and given the plethora of liberal judges in the state, I think it would be a matter of hours before some judge blocked the sales tax or exempted the welfare class. 

But that’s just an expected legal entanglement.  What about those working poor?  They must buy food, fuel, pay for housing just like every taxpayer.  The impact to them is higher prices for the necessities of life.  It matters not if the base price of those necessities doesn’t increase (they will), the bottom line is that with the additional sales tax, food, fuel and housing will take more of their limited dollars every month. The people will, in self-defense, cut spending for other items that can be deferred or ended. 

Then there is the impact of increased sales taxes on fuel.  Shall there be limits on who shall be taxed there.  Should fuel be taxed? There is already approximately $0.35 state and federal tax per gallon now and around $0.45 tax per gallon of diesel fuel. 

Increased taxes on fuel has a significant trickle-down effect on everything, everything that is transported by truck from food, fuel, delivery of manufactured items, from auto-parts to clothes at the local Target and Walmart stores. Everything that is sold at the retail level must be transported by truck. If fuel costs go up, so will those items.

Fortunately, we here in Cass County, live close to the Kansas State line.  Kansas has a higher sales tax than Missouri at this time.  If Missouri’s sale tax increases to that or higher than that in Kansas, what is the incentive to buy here, in Missouri?


People will take their limited dollars to neighboring states with lower taxes and buy their necessities there.  Shall Missouri build guard posts on the state borders to impose a sales tax on people returning from shopping trips in other states? 

It is interesting that Kansas has, in past times, sent “spies” into Missouri looking for Kansas residents buying in Missouri to avoid the higher sales tax in Kansas.  Will Missouri now create an office to monitor our buying habits?

The proponents say, “We’ll exempt food and fuel.”  From everyone or just individuals?  If individuals are exempt, what about corporate entities?  Like restaurants.  Shall restaurants be exempt from sales tax on food purchases?  You do know they will then pass those costs along as increased prices for that steak, or hamburger you just bought, don’t you?

And what about the service industry?  Shall they be taxed, too?  They sell a service.  If we’re to be “fair”, the service industry must collect sales tax too.  Like your plumber, or your neighboring electrician.

Shall internet sales be taxes, too?  Many such sales already are.  There will be a significant impact to internet sales as well.  Amazon already has legal battles in some states over the collection of sales tax.  So much that Amazon has moved some facilities from those states.  A number of on-line dealers will no longer sell to California residents for similar reasons.

If the proponents say they’ll exempt every example of these taxed items, how will that meet the state’s revenue requirements?  How can the state properly project revenue to insure it has the funds to meet the budget?

They can’t.  That’s how Cass County got itself in the situation it is now for revenue.  They forecasted a very modest increase and discovered that instead of a slight increase of revenue from the county sales tax, the revenue decreased.  People cut their spending.

With every exemption, the sales tax system gets more complex, more difficult to stay in compliance.  Errors in collection, errors in accounting will increase.

That is the problem with income taxes—too much complexity, too much confusion, unequal application, unequal assessment, unequal enforcement.

A consumption tax can easily turn into a death spiral from negative feedback.  Taxes increase. People spend less. Revenues fall. The state then increases the sales tax to compensate for the lost revenue. People cut further, buy in neighboring states, move out-of-state. Revenues continue to fall.  That’s negative feedback.

So, what is to be done?  I agree the current progressive income tax is too complex and too unequal to continue.  At the federal level, it is supported by the 16th Amendment. To remove the income tax at the federal level, that amendment would have to be repealed.  The likelihood that of happening is remote to say the least.

If a federal sales tax is imposed without that repeal of the 16th Amendment, we would end up with both a federal sales tax AND a federal income tax the next dime the liberals gain control of a house of congress.  I have no expectation the establishment ‘Pubs would fight the revival of the income tax. Worst, the federal sales tax would morf into a Value Added Tax like Europe. At every stage of production, through the wholesaler, to the retailer, to the end user, every stage is taxed and the rolled up costs added to that of the end-user.

That last is exactly what the liberals and democrats want—turn the US into a welfare state like Europe destroying the Constitution in the process.

No, there are too many dangers in expanding scope of sales taxes to allow such to continue.  If you truly want equitable taxation, change the progressive income taxes into flat taxes.  Everyone pays, no exemptions, a flat rate for all, individuals and corporations.  The progressive tax can be changed to a flat tax by an act of Congress or the state legislature.  The trick is passing it in such a fashion to make it impossible (if that can be done) to revert to a progressive tax model.

That is the true fair tax.

All to often people seize on an idea without thinking it through. There are always unintended consequences to every act.  Most can be recognized and planned for.  Any risk manager knows this.

Let’s all be risk managers. Block any inclusion of a state and/or federal sales tax in our party platform come the caucus.