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Old 10-28-2011, 03:20 PM   #81
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Sure, but we got pretty much exactly this in the the tax reform of 1986. I don't think it should be impossible to do the same thing again.

Get the R's to give up the "no new taxes ever" mantra in return for the D's giving up the "only raise taxes on the rich" mantra and we will be good to go.

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Statists usually reject this because one of the ways they can smack down high earners is the phaseout of deductions and tax credits with income thresholds.
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:29 PM   #82
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Wasn't there a Chinese philosopher who said, "The more taxes you have and the more laws you have, the more tax evaders and lawbreakers you have."
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:51 PM   #83
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I don't think it should be impossible to do the same thing again.
It's impossible now, but it will certainly be possible if political cards get reshuffled in an election. The two important questions would be:
1) Will the public be mollified by tinkering with the existing taxcode, or do they demand fundamental change to the way we raise revenue.
2) Whether we just ammend the current tax code or start anew, what mechanisms can be put into place to defend against a regrowth of tax code complexity? We had the reforms of 1986, and here we are with a still more complex and impenetrable system. No one can possibly understand all of the present law. Supermajorities, a constitutional amendment--something should be done to keep the tax code "clean" for the long term so businesses and individuals can plan, and so we don't end up here again. If we decide we need more or less money then change the tax rates, but can we please not try to use the tax code to micromanage the economy and people's behavior?
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:40 PM   #84
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Wasn't there a Chinese philosopher who said, "The more taxes you have and the more laws you have, the more tax evaders and lawbreakers you have."
Lao Tzu. He's right again.
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:43 PM   #85
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1. I don't think the general public has a big problem with the basic structure of our Federal taxes. It's the complexity and unfairness of some of the loopholes/credits that sticks in the craw. It bothered me a lot when I was the one getting the shaft. It bothers me a little less now that I am the one doing the shafting, but it still does bother me.
2. I'm leery of changes like a supermajority. I think the dangers of that may be worse than the dangers of a crazy tax code. The 60 vote requirement in the Senate has made the country borderline ungovernable. I think the tax code is just like a garden-- you need to weed it regularly. It took 25 years to get this messed up again, if we have to cut the code back down every 25 years, well, there are worse things.

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It's impossible now, but it will certainly be possible if political cards get reshuffled in an election. The two important questions would be:
1) Will the public be mollified by tinkering with the existing taxcode, or do they demand fundamental change to the way we raise revenue.
2) Whether we just ammend the current tax code or start anew, what mechanisms can be put into place to defend against a regrowth of tax code complexity? We had the reforms of 1986, and here we are with a still more complex and impenetrable system. No one can possibly understand all of the present law. Supermajorities, a constitutional amendment--something should be done to keep the tax code "clean" for the long term so businesses and individuals can plan, and so we don't end up here again. If we decide we need more or less money then change the tax rates, but can we please not try to use the tax code to micromanage the economy and people's behavior?
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