Political and policy fiasco alert: The GOP Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee is gearing up to waste the House Republican Majority's energy, time and political goodwill on a doomed-to-failure scheme that conservative realists know cannot emerge from the Congress.
We almost always face an uphill battle in our efforts to restrain the power and greed of the political class. And in some areas, such as the fight for pro-growth and humane tax reform, I see very little reason for hope.
President Obama opened his State of the Union address with a quote from President John F. Kennedy: “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.” But Obama’s speech that followed and the agenda it advocated indicate he failed to study JFK’s famous 1963 State of the Union and its ambitious program of tax cuts and tax reform that successfully shifted the U.S. economy into high gear.
One of the services of the Simpson-Bowles Commission was to set out a path for tax reform, with lower income tax rates and removal of many tax preferences -- or, to use the commission's term, tax expenditures.
The comments by Harvard University’s Lawrence Summers, arguably the most important economist on the Democratic side for the last two decades, last week at Brookings exemplify this attitude. Summers discussed four priorities for tax reform.
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