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Correspondence: I'm No "Right Winger"

Dear Editor,

When Jonathan Chait writes that the FairTax campaign recently hired "some right wing activists" to promote the idea, he must mean me. I am the chief spokesman for the campaign and an architect of our turnaround but Mr. Chait is just as wrong about me as he is about his criticism of a national consumption tax to replace all federal taxes on income.

After a decade working for the elderly in Washington and leading the charge against the Catastrophic Care Act in 1989, I headed a Nader aviation safety group. Since then I have helped win needed tort reforms in Texas but that hardly makes me a "right wing activist". Such imprecision is perhaps not surprising from a writer who cannot see that the cutting down the 67,500 pages (as published by the organization CCH) defining the current tax code--which costs the nation $265 billion annually in compliance costs alone--is not the "craziest idea" ever.

I am attracted to public policy issues on either side of the political divide where the public interest is being poorly served by elected officials. As such, the FairTax is not "right wing" nor am I. Mr. Chait should be less cavalier with his assertions and policy makers--and pundits--less cavalier about the monstrosity the FairTax is designed to replace.

Ken Hoagland, Communications Director

By Ken Hoagland