Thursday, December 27, 2007

Whats missing from the Candiates Quick Fixes for the tax code?

Category: Tax Law and Planning

Op Ed pieces about taxation are usually so "Opinion" and so "Editorial" that they might better be called infomercials for a better tax system. So, when I stumble on a piece that is equally critical of all of the candidates vying for the Oval Office in 08, I stop to take a look.

What's missing in tax talk - Opinion - "Set aside for a moment the biggest issue of all, which is uncontrolled spending. Tax revenues, even without further cuts, are nowhere near the level necessary to cover the massive increase in costs that will come with the retirement of the baby boomers and relentless health care inflation. Every candidate knows this, but fiscal responsibility is painful, so the campaign debate is focused mostly on tinkering."

The author goes on to tout simplification as the goal all the candidates are missing, and points out very valid items of "the other side" to all their tax plans. But to the author's main point, while having a "simplified" tax code is a wonderful goal, the idea that reducing the size of the tax code would solve all tax problems is, in a word, and "oversimplification." The tax code is the main means by which government can influence behavior - and whether you think they should be or not, government is in the business of behavior modification. Want to smoke? It will cost you more. Want to get a mortgage instead of a loan for your car? It will cost you less. So maybe the candidates need to better address the role of "governance" then use the tax code to take from one hand and give to the other.


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