Mike Gravel on Tax Reform

Libertarian for President; Former Democratic Senator (AK)


Automatic return-free tax system by online IRS filing option

The tax prep industry consistently fights for tax filing to be difficult, confusing, and overwhelming, and they've been profiting off of every instance of someone handing the reins over just to not have to deal with this mess of a system. Through legislation like the one Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced in 2017, an automatic tax system could benefit almost all Americans.
Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeGravel.com , Apr 9, 2019

Progressive tax: 60% at $1 million, and up from there

The American tax system should be reformed so as to be significantly more progressive; it is fundamentally unfair for working-class people to be paying a burdensome amount in taxes while wealthy people benefit from tax cuts.
Source: 2020 Presidential campaign website MikeGravel.com , Apr 9, 2019

Eliminate income tax so the wealthy can’t “game” the system

Gravel has another controversial proposal: to eliminate the income tax and fund the government solely through sales taxes. While appealing, again, to libertarians, the proposal is bound to alienate liberals who might otherwise sympathize with the ex-senator: Sales taxes are considered “regressive,” meaning they take proportionately more from those with lower incomes than from the better-off. But Gravel maintains that since the present tax system has become corrupted by “wealthy people gaming the system,” his fix would provide a solution; to help the poor, he’d provide a guaranteed minimum income, distributed through Social Security. Getting rid of the income tax was until fairly recently a topic relegated to the far right wing.
Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.197 , Nov 11, 2007

Tax code is corrupt & serves the wealthy

The tax code stands that high and there’s not a human being alive that understands it. Do you think it’s accident that all of a sudden we wake up & the wealthy aren’t paying a fair share? The only way they’re going to pay a fair share is wipe out the income tax--it is corrupt, it’s corrupting our society--and begin to put in place a tax that everybody will know what everybody’s paying, and that’s a retail sales tax. You can make it progressive. A tax where everybody will know what everybody is paying
Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University , Jun 28, 2007

Wipe out the income tax! -- it’s regressive

We ought to wipe out the income tax, wipe it out! It’s the most regressive, unfair system of taxation in the world, and it’s what’s causing us to lose our jobs. It brought about the Rust Belt.

Now, what kind of a tax should we have? The most important thing a government can do is raise revenue. Now, if it raises unfairly -- which is what we’re doing -- the people intuitively know in their gut that the government’s going to be unfair in all of the programs that deals with the people.

Now, what kind of a tax should we do? I’m for the Fair Tax. You’ll hear liberals say, “Well, that’s a sales tax, that’s regressive.” That is not regressive. Both systems of taxation, that is the income tax and the sales tax, are both progressive. Whatever you make, you pay a tax on. If you make more, you pay more tax. With respect to consumption, sales tax, whatever you spend, if you spend more, you pay more tax. So now they’re both the same. The income tax has been gamed by the wealthy people with 30,000 lobbyists.

Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada , Feb 21, 2007

National sales tax; no exceptions; prebates for essentials

The income tax has been gamed by the wealthy people. I for the Fair Tax [national sales tax]. The essentials of life that we have -- food, lodging, medicine, what have you -- we can deal with that. We can’t provide an exception. When you go to the grocery store, you’ll pay the tax on it. Because if you start giving an exception, then Katy bar the door, the wealthy will game the system again. But what we can do is create a prebate. Determine what the average cost of essential is to average American, and then turn it around and multiply that by the tax, take the amount of tax, divide it by 12, and send every single registered American a check at the beginning of the month to cover what he would pay in the way of taxes on the essentials of life. Now that creates a cash flow, and then you go get your paycheck, and there’s no tax deductions at the federal level.
Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada , Feb 21, 2007

Supports a national sales tax to replace IRS

Gravel’s campaign is based primarily on his ardent support for direct democracy (the National Initiative), but also emphasizes his support for a national sales tax and abolition of the IRS, immediate withdrawal from the war in Iraq, a single-payer national health care system, and term limits during his campaign.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, “Mike Gravel” , Jan 1, 2007

Repeal the income tax and close down the IRS

Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, gravel2008.us, “Issues” , Dec 25, 2006

Tax system unfairness only superceded by incomprehensibility

The Fair Tax: Describing the current tax system as one whose “unfairness is only superceded by its incomprehensibility” the senator promised to place before the people “a straightforward national sales tax with proper consideration for the necessities of life through a pre-bate.”
Source: Press release “Announces Run for President” , Apr 17, 2006

Less regressive tax on poor; more capital gains on rich

The inequities of today’s tax system rob the lower & middle income citizens, while favoring the rich & supporting huge corporations, whose owners are taxed at only a fraction of what they should pay. People with annual earnings below $2,000 pay about 40% of their income in taxes of all kinds. People earning below $50,000 pay about 30%. Only for persons earning over $50,000 does the effective tax rate begin to rise, but even then only to 45%. We find the burden of taxes falling just as heavily on the poor as on the well-to-do, partly because everybody has to pay state, local & federal taxes that tend to be highly regressive--sales, gasoline, personal property, real estate, & social security taxes--and partly because of the loopholes built into the present federal income tax system.

The largest loophole is the break given the rich who have capital gains income. Today such income is taxed at a much lower rate than earned income. Capital gains should be treated as ordinary income & taxed accordingly.

Source: Citizen Power, by Sen. Mike Gravel, p.131 , Jan 1, 1972

Other candidates on Tax Reform: Mike Gravel on other issues:
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Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
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Page last updated: Jun 03, 2019