Re: Bipartisan Blight: The Great Tax Reform Mirage
Today, in a column grandly entitled, "A Tax Reform Vision," [David] Brooks celebrates the growing beltway consensus on tax reform, suggesting that a bipartisan accord could be built around lowering tax rates, simplifying the code, and erasing most tax deductions and loopholes.
Only we really have played this game before. In the mid 1980s, under Ronald Reagan, civic minded Senator Bill Bradley joined with reformers to fashion a similar deal -- lower rates, eliminate egregious tax loopholes and deductions, in a revenue neutral fashion. The establishment rallied; the bill passed.
Only while the deductions were eliminated, the lobbies that created them were not. They went to work. The loopholes, tax expenditures, various dodges returned. Now the tax code is so riddled with them, that beltway pundits can call for playing the same game once more.
Only while the loopholes returned, the lower rates stayed largely in place.