Politics (from Greek: πολιτικά, translit. Politiká, meaning "affairs of the cities") is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group.
It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state. The academic study focusing on just politics, which is therefore more targeted than all Political science, is sometimes referred to as Politology (not to be confused with Politicology).
In modern nation-states, people have formed political parties to represent their ideas. They agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders.
An election is usually a competition between different parties. Some examples of political parties worldwide are: the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the Conservatives in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India.
Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as "the art or science of government" and "political principles"), but often does carry a connotation of dishonest malpractice. The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to "Confound their politics", and the phrase "play politics", for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: "We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us."
A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level.
It is very often said that politics is about power. A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a given society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics and the works of Confucius.
The FairTax is a proposed change to the tax laws of the United States that would replace the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and all federal income taxes (including corporate taxes and capital gains taxes), as well as payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a national retail sales tax. Its enacting legislation, the Fair Tax Act, is pending in the United States Congress. The tax would be levied once at the point of purchase on all new goods and services. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all households of citizens and legal resident aliens (based on family size) as an advance rebate of tax on purchases up to the poverty level. The sales tax rate, as defined in the legislation, is 23% of net prices which includes the tax (23¢ out of every $1 spent—calculated like income taxes), which is comparable to a 30% traditional sales tax (23¢ on top of every 77¢ spent). With the rebate taken into consideration, the effective tax rate would be progressive on consumption and could result in a federal tax burden of zero or less. However, opponents of the tax argue that while progressive on consumption, the tax would be regressive on income, and would accordingly decrease the tax burden on high income earners and increase the tax burden on the middle class.