Fred Thompson Channels L. Ron Hubbard - 2007-09-06
The story of the FairTax's provenance is one that I can tell with some firsthand knowledge. In 1993, fresh from a stint at the Treasury Department, I spent a few months at the Cato Institute. I was filling in for Steve Moore -- now an editorial writer at The Wall Street Journal -- who took a brief leave from his job as director of the think tank's fiscal studies program to advise former Texas Representative Dick Armey. It was there that I was visited by a man named Steven L. Hayes, the founder of group called Citizens for an Alternative Tax System (cats) that promoted the nrst, and who was, as Moore pointed out to me, a prominent Scientologist.
It wasn't hard to figure out the Scientologists' motives for hawking the nrst. The IRS had refused to recognize Scientology as a legitimate church -- a fact that seemed to enshrine their popular reputation as a "cult." To remedy this situation, Scientologists waged war against the IRS. At various points, the Church attempted to infiltrate the tax authority and even hired private investigators to examine the private lives of IRS officials. And the same impulse behind these measures led them to devise the nrst. One church spokesman told National Journal's Paul Starobin, "We thought, If this [discrimination] is happening to us, there must be a lot of people to whom this is happening.' ... How could some positive changes be made?" Since nearly every state has a sales tax, it would be a simple matter to get them to collect a federal nrst, rendering the IRS instantly superfluous, a ripe target for abolition.