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Presidential Issues: Taxes


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Here’s What Genuine Tax Reform Looks Like

December 23, 2015

By John H. Cochrane

Left and right agree that the U.S. tax code is a mess. The men and women running for president in 2016 are offering reform plans, and proposals to fix the code regularly surface in Congress. But these plans are, and should be, political documents, designed to attract votes. To prevent today’s ugly bargains from becoming tomorrow’s conventional wisdom, we should more frequently discuss the ideal tax structure.

The first goal of taxation is to raise needed government revenue with minimum economic damage. That means lower marginal rates—the additional tax people pay for each extra dollar earned—and a broader base of income subject to tax. It also means a massively simpler tax code.

In my view, simplification is more important than rates. A simple code would allow people and businesses to spend more time and resources on productive activities and less on attorneys and accountants, or on lobbyists seeking special deals and subsidies. And a simple code is much more clearly fair. Americans now suspect that people with clever lawyers are avoiding much taxation, which is corrosive to compliance and driving populist outrage across the political spectrum.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal: Here’s What Genuine Tax Reform Looks Like

Issue Categories : Taxes,