Health care reform is done. Financial reform is on its way. What's next? Rich Gold, the head of the lobbying group at Holland and Knight, says it is only a matter of time until Washington is consumed in a major battle over tax reform. Here is a brief edited transcript of our conversation on Monday.
Whom do you represent as a lobbyist?
I work for a diverse bunch of interests. Local governments, a variety of corporate industry firms, manufacturing firms, service industry, green tech. I do a lot of climate change and budget work.
Why do you think major tax reform is inevitable?
Systemically revenues are obviously well out of balance with expenditures. With mandatory spending only getting worse, we'll have to start fundamentally looking at entitlement reform. Sixty-five percent of the budget is mandatory, 15 percent is defense, 20 percent is discretionary. You can take defense down a little bit, but we're fighting two wars. There's not money there on the discretionary side to have an impact. It's hard to know whether health care bends the cost curve up or down significantly, although I like some of the things like the review board for Medicare. But we're way overdue for something on tax policy. We're in the 1990-1991 tax deal moment, and I don't think Obama wants to go into reelection year without doing something on deficit reduction.