The answer is a fair, flax tax with a generous personal exemption, so the tax burden doesn?t fall disproportionately on poor people. All income would be taxed once, at a flat rate. Taxpayers could fill out their return in minutes and mail it in on a postcard, instead of struggling for days and then stuffing form after form into an envelope.
All these reforms probably will be a tough sell in Congress. But departing Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma has an idea that could speed the transition: Allow taxpayers to fill out returns under the current system and under a reformed, flat-tax system. Then they could put the returns side-by-side and file the one that benefits them. Most people are sure to prefer the simple system, especially since it will usually save them money in the long run.
President Bush has a clear mandate to make the tax code flatter and fairer. That?s what the president wants and what taxpayers deserve. When he succeeds, he?ll have turned a mandate into a legacy.