The Jan. 31 column by John V. Tunney and Gary Iskowitz ("Reform Has Led to a Taxpayer's Nightmare: In the Name of 'Simplification,' Tax Code Was Made Less Fair--and Far More Complicated") comes from a long and now familiar line of writings criticizing tax reform. Both before and since its passage, tax reform has been subjected to all manner of doom and gloom predictions, much of it wishful thinking.
An examination of the column reveals numerous distortions and inaccuracies. Initially, however, some very basic points that the anti-tax reform authors failed to relate to Times readers about the new tax law need to be highlighted.
First, four out of five individual taxpayers are going to pay less in taxes under the Tax Reform Act of 1986 than they did under the old law. The new tax code removes some 6 million working poor from the tax rolls altogether while subjecting other taxpayers to a simpler, dramatically lower, two-rate structure as opposed to the previous high, multirate structure. The new rates are lower than they have been in almost 60 years.
Moreover, both the personal exemption and the standard deduction have been raised. The impact of these changes is powerful--for most taxpayers the increase in the personal exemption and standard deduction more than make up for any of the reductions in tax preferences which existed under the old tax code.