How Should We Reform Taxes?

More

by Patrick Appel

Bruce Bartlett has some ideas. He points out practical problems with the flat tax, which Andrew has long favored:

[T]he flat tax always required a trade off between the exemption level and the rate. The higher the exemption, the greater the number of people paying no income taxes at all, which broadened support. But that required a higher rate to bring in enough revenue, which reduced support. Experience showed that the rate could not be much above 20% or support for the flat tax simply evaporated...Finding a rate and an exemption that fully satisfied every political requirement proved to be impossible if the flat tax were to be implemented in a revenue-neutral manner--neither raising nor lowering the overall tax burden.

Bartlett is enticed by the Wyden-Gregg plan:

[It] would be highly desirable to clean up the tax code, eliminate special tax provisions, and try to establish more uniform effective tax rates across income classes. That is what Sens. Wyden and Gregg propose. Here is a list of the credits, deductions, exclusions and other tax preferences they would abolish. A key benefit would be abolition of the Alternative Minimum tax in return.

It's too soon to say whether the Wyden-Gregg proposal is a viable vehicle for tax reform, but it's a good start.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down