Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dreaming Big: What's Missing

by Tom Bozzo

As a follow-up to the previous post on Matt Stoller's Democratic Party manifesto, here are two big issues that were unaddressed. I have no doubt that they are far more contentious even within the party, and I don't pretend to be trying too hard to sugarcoat them for mass consumption:
I think both of these are good points, and I especially like the emphasis on combining tax reform with a fairer tax code.

Since we've apparently decided by common rhetorical assent that the ideal tax return should be able to fit on a postcard, this is an important point.

The anti-tax, anti-government folks would have us believe that even things as simple as progressive tax rates are incompatible with an easy tax return -- multiplication can be tricky, I guess. They argue this point with such conviction that I think that getting a flat tax is the whole point of "tax reform".

We'll have much better success opposing a flat tax if our opposition to it is tied to our own tax reform and a commitment to sustainable government in general.
Ben: Yes, exactly. What makes the tax code more complicated are, for the most part, the parts that make it less fair -- notably, preferences for types of income that most workers don't earn, or earn in minimal amounts.

For that reason, I like the recent Wyden proposal with a common set of rates for all individual income. I'm less keen on Wyden's adoption of the fewer brackets = better/fairer/simpler pseudo-equation, but if it's the sort of thing that plays well, I can live with it.
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