FairTax Rally - Gainesville GA (Part 1)
By HARRIS BLACKWOOD
Herman Cain was part salesman and part evangelist as he spoke Wednesday in support of a national sales tax.
Cain, who finished second in the 2004 Georgia GOP race for the U.S. Senate, was the featured speaker at a "fair tax" rally held at Longstreet Cafe in Gainesville.
"Fair tax" is the term supporters use to describe a proposed national 23 percent tax on goods and services that would replace the current income tax system.
"We're now a movement," Cain said of growing national support of the concept.
The fair tax has become popular fodder for conservative talk show hosts and their message appears to resonate with many. A crowd of some 200 packed the popular cafeteria-style eatery.
Many sported shirts and buttons with the letters "IRS" with a red slash through them.
Cain's mention of turning April 15, the traditional tax filing deadline, into "just another day" drew loud applause from the crowd.
Cain said later he continues to be amazed at the idea's growth.
"I think it's because people are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the same old mess," said Cain, a successful business executive whose conservative ideology has drawn widespread acclaim.
"The average person has gotten sick of the insanity of this tax code and our elected officials doing nothing about it," Cain said.
The fair tax was first introduced in Congress by Rep. John Linder of Georgia.
Linder, a conservative Republican, and Atlanta-based syndicated talk show host Neal Boortz wrote "The Fair Tax Book," which explains the concept in detail. The book has been a best seller in both hardback and paperback.
Georgia's seven Republican Congressmen, including Gainesville's Nathan Deal, have signed on as supporters of the fair tax, as have both U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson.
Cain said despite the widespread support in Georgia, the tax is a long way from passage.
"It's still an uphill battle, because you're going to have people fighting it from the other side," he said. "There are some people who do not want this country to be the best that it can be."
Cain said he was astonished at the size of the Gainesville crowd.
"They expected 25 people and we ended up with almost 300," he said.
"That's what I mean by a movement. You get crowds of people who have already been converted who want to be reinspired."