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Letter: Wanted: massive tax reform

It is the end of the line for U.S. Rep. David Camp and Sen. Max Baucus. Camp will be termed out as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee at the end of 2014 and Baucus will not be seeking re-election in 2014. In keeping with the origination clause in the Constitution, all revenue bills must originate in the House. To this end, Camp has floated several draft bills to Baucus. Nothing yet has taken hold with the Senate Democrats.

The importance of bringing forward a massive, revenue-neutral overhaul of the tax code cannot be overstated. Corporate America is sitting on upwards of $2 trillion in cash, owing to the uncertainty of future tax changes. Small-business America is facing the double-barreled threat of Obamacare and an uncertain tax code. There is nothing that will encourage economic private-sector growth more than stabilizing and reforming the tax code.

The obstructionist-in-chief, Harry Reid is the singular obstacle for meaningful tax reform.

Camp should proceed with his best legislative bill. The legacy decision for Baucus: Will he be known for bringing forth meaningful tax legislation and working with Camp or for falling off his motorcycle too many times without benefit of a helmet.

ROBERT C. WASHBURN

Concord

Legacy Comments6

SS is nothing more than a ponzi scheme. When you do not have enough folks paying into it, it will go broke. I am all for the young folks investing their ss in savings accounts or whatever. Give your money to the govt and they will raid it. Next bubble to burst will be disability.

Tax reform begins with the congress understanding their role under the constitution. Government is way over their boundaries when it comes to entitlements. This is a country built on one providing for themselves and standing on your own two feet. Not standing on my feet too.

FreezeFrame, I hear you but also know that many decade of investing heavily in the SS system (as in putting away for retirement), I will not be placed in the category of of "just an expense that needs to be restricted". We did our part - big time! However, the politicians have repeatedly raided that fund - spent it on other things instead of them constraining expenses - there is the problem; not those who did their part.

Robert, I completely agree with your proposal of tax reform (critically needed and long overdue). The models I have heard all have supporters and detractors with no lack of passion. Would very much like to hear one that constitutes real reform, is workable, more user-friendly and stands a decent probability of getting through congress. Have one?

The only tax reform in play seems to be Rep. Camp's effort to eliminate just enough tax expenditures to reduce the top corporate and individual business rates to 25%. This will enable investors and corporations to increase profit without additional risk and without creating any new jobs. The President just wants Harry Reid to soak the rich because it is good politics. Congress does not have a champion for the poorer half of the population that lost 70% of their net wealth between 1995 and 2010. Net wealth needs to be included as an adjustment to income tax liability so tax expenditures are not wasted on those who do not need them. Read more at TaxNetWealth.com.

Since the 1970's, those who oppose progressive income tax rates have succeeded bit by bit in whittling away at our progressive federal income structure. The right has invested millions in think tanks like Cato and Mercatus to produce studies that make claims about the virtues of free markets, flat taxes, and less regulation . We've seen the effects of this whittling; the accumulation of wealth to the 1% over this time period, and the decline of the middle class are both due to this trend. The trend itself has its roots in a misdiagnosis of the fundamental changes in the world economy during the 1970's-- the oil shocks and increasing globalization. Instead of increasing investment in manufacturing R&D, education, and basic infrastructure, we allowed our own version of capitalist fundamentalism to take over. It blamed "big government" for the nation's ills. With a vengeance, it set out to rewrite our own economic history. We've constructed a fairy tale of rugged individuals who carved out mighty empires and built this nation, ignoring the role that a strong federal government played as the principle engine of economic development in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the 1970's, we did not protect our industrial base or our budding high tech industries, instead we ceded both to the Asian "tigers" to retain their Cold War loyalty. Our reliance on service sector jobs and the inversion of manufacturing and finance as a % of GDP over the last 30 years have their roots in Cold War and economic fundamentalism. They were not an accident. Instead they are the result of over 40 years of deliberate policy decisions made by the "best and brightest" among us, who increasingly work hand in hand with the rich and powerful. Call it Oligopolus.

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