by Peter Roff • Washington Examiner
Though America has prospered since the end of the so-called “great recession,” the economy has grown by so little it’s hardly worthy of mention. The boom that began under Ronald Reagan ended with the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage industry. The country is no longer moving. Something must be done to get things going again.
The answer to our problems is simple. America needs tax reform to get moving again. There are a number of good, serious proposals out there from the Hall-Rabuska flat tax to the “Better Way” plan being pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan. None of them is perfect but they’d all produce lower rates by eliminating deductions and credits. They’d all make the system simpler, and they’d all goose the economy to get annual growth in U.S. GDP where it should be, around three or four percent annually if not higher.
Unfortunately for us all, there are too many people in Washington so married to one approach to tax reform or another they end up eagerly letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. What that means for you and me is efforts to reform the tax code may end up stillborn thanks to pundits and special interests who are trying to kill it before it ever has the chance to come before Congress.
It’s unacceptable to let the D.C. swamp dwellers thwart this once-in-a-generation opportunity for comprehensive reform of the tax code. Too many jobs, too many secure retirements, too many families and small businesses that would like eventually to become big ones depend on bringing economic growth back. Unless the code is changed that won’t happen.
The American Action Network just released a poll looking at the attitudes toward tax reform among the people who put President Trump and the Republican majorities in the House and Senate in office. It found an overwhelming number of Republicans of all stripes view tax reform as “very important” and support the broad principles of tax reform being advanced by conservatives in and out of Congress.
Among the 1,000 likely Republican voters queried for AAN by The Tarrance Group, three-quarters of respondents called tax reform an important issue. Of those, 31 percent said they believed it was “extremely important” to the future of America.
The two main worries identified by those in the poll – that the tax code is too complicated and that tax rates are too high – are heard often enough throughout all segments of the electorate who actually pay taxes on their income. It’s probably not a stretch to presume the strong support for the broad principles of reform on which the GOP congressional plan is based – 85 percent of those in the AAN poll view them favorably – similarly exists among Democrats and self-described independents. Everyone wants comprehensive tax reform if the result will be an economic expansion in which wages rise, jobs are created, new businesses set up shop and there are increased opportunities for all.
If that sounds too perfect, well, consider the current code. It’s unfair to too many, it’s too complicated and the rates are too high: there are seven different tax brackets for individuals and families; the corporate rate is the highest in the industrialized world, which is chasing U.S. business out of the country and leaving us at a global disadvantage.
America needs tax reform that simplifies the system and lowers the rates. It can’t be said enough. It worked after Ronald Reagan did it in 1986 and it will work again. We must level the playing field and make sure everyone pays their fair share, which can still be done while bringing down the top corporate rate to 20 percent, as the Ryan plan does. The U.S. economy will never again become as strong as it can be as long as the code is so riddled with loopholes so many can pay nothing and the difference is made up on the backs of America’s middle class families and small businesses.
Trump and Congress have the opportunity to show real leadership by keeping the fight to replace our broken system moving. America needs a tax code that grows the economy, raises wages and creates jobs in America. Say “yes” to comprehensive tax reform and “No” to the special interests trying to stop it from moving forward.
Peter Roff is a former political analyst for United Press International and a regular commentator on the One America News network.