May 4, 2012
Republicans and Democrats agree that the federal tax system is broken, but they couldn't disagree more strongly about how to fix it. That's true largely because each side clings to a different set of theories about how taxes affect the country, only some of which bear much relationship to reality. Hoping to dispel a few of the myths pervading the debate, a Washington think tank offered a report this week laying out a dozen facts about tax reform. The bottom line: Good fiscal policy comes at a steep political cost.
October 31, 2011 |
Tax reform proposals are the political equivalent of science fiction: entertaining but imaginary. No tax proposal ever passes through Congress unscathed. There are too many interests that believe their survival depends on tax preferences — hence the tax code's immutable tendency to accumulate complexities as a ship collects barnacles. Still, presidential candidates' tax proposals are useful windows into their philosophies. Should income taxes on the wealthy go up or down? Should income from investments be taxed at a different rate than income from labor?
April 15, 2010 |
On April 15, every Washington policy wonk's fancy turns to thoughts of streamlining the tax code. This year's most-talked-about idea comes from two iconoclastic senators, Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg. The two have proposed a plan that would simplify the tax law, shrink your 1040 form to a single page and even cut taxes slightly for most people who make less than $200,000 a year. Their plan still has a few kinks.
February 27, 2012 |
The need to deal with the soaring budget deficit, make U.S. businesses more competitive abroad and address the widening gap between rich and poor make U.S. corporate tax reform inevitable, said former top Obama administration economic aide Lawrence Summers. "Leaders in both parties should commit themselves to the goal of tax reform for growth, fairness and deficit reduction," Summers wrote in an opinion article in the Financial Times on Monday. "Nothing that is likely to be done during the next presidential term will be more important.
February 28, 2014 |
It turns out that Democrats may not be the biggest stumbling block facing Rep. Dave Camp's ambitious proposal to simplify the tax code and reduce rates. Many of Camp's Republican colleagues, convinced that their party is poised to make big gains in the November elections, don't want to take up something as controversial as a tax code overhaul this year. And Camp's bill raised hackles among some important GOP donors by targeting them for tax hikes. As soon as Camp, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, unveiled his magnum opus Wednesday, his brethren started backing away from it. Although it's as thorough a rewriting of the code as you're likely to see, the GOP leadership didn't assign it the bill number they had reserved for tax-reform legislation, HR 1, signifying that Camp's proposal was anything but a consensus document.
October 8, 2012 |
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been talking about tax cuts for more than a year, but his bottom line has evolved considerably since last year's 57-point plan for the economy. Those changes raise questions about whether Romney's plan would actually promote economic growth, which was supposedly the point. The answer depends on the details, many of which Romney hasn't provided. But if it's designed the right way, a tax reform like the one Romney has advocated could still spur growth, even if it doesn't actually cut the tax bill faced by "job creators.