Robert Samuelson in The Washington Post on simplifying the tax code In the State of the Union, President Obama proposed several tax credits, including one for businesses that move foreign jobs home. "Manipulating taxes to favor or disfavor particular industries, groups or regions is a source of power that Democrats and Republicans alike are loath to surrender. That's why major tax reform fails, despite routine endorsements from both parties," writes Samuelson. He notes that the White House claims it supports simplifying the tax code, but he looks at the proposed tax credits and argues they will just fuel lobbying over specifics and further complicate decisions for tax payers. He describes a political environment where both parties benefit from designing tax credits for various constituencies. "Tax simplicity sounds good, but — politically — complexity wins hands down."
Jeff Greenfield in Bloomberg View on Republican convention rules In the lull between major primaries and debates, political junkies might want to familiarize themselves with the Republicans' rules for conventions and delegate selection, writes Greenfield. "These rules could determine the party's nominee and help shape the general election campaign," he says. As evidence, he points to the 2008 Democratic race, where Obama's campaign better understood the way delegates were awarded to beat Clinton. Despite losing most of the major states to her by small margins, his bigger victories in smaller states gave him the edge. The rules are different for Republicans, but they provide opportunity for Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul to collect delegates on a district by district basis, lengthening the primary and giving them leverage at the convention. "If those adamantly opposed to Romney wind up with this kind of strength, it means they will have the power to start rules fights or demand the gold standard be included in the platform."