01 November 2005

Final Tax Reform Panel Report.

The Tax Profs Blog has links to the final report of the President's Advisory Commission on Tax Reform and ample analysis of it by a number of think tanks. The two plans are described in gross outline on page 5 of this executive summary. One is called the Simplified Income Tax Plan and the other is called the Growth and Investment Tax Plan. The later is more radical in its treatment of the taxation of businesses.

The plans are neo-conservative wet dreams, which should be dead on arrival in Congress. They make the law more complex for the 65% of taxpayers who don't itemize their tax returns, and many who don't. The plans exacerbate the existing tax law's overtaxation of earned income, relative to unearned income, in a manner that makes the tax law unnecessarily complex. The plans discourage employers from providing their workers with health insurance. The plans penalize people in places like New York and California, which have high state and local taxes and high housing costs, as well as older workers in companies with defined benefit retirement plans, which are abolished. Both student loan interest and tuition tax credits, both of which promote higher education, are eliminated, with only a general "saving for everything" type account retained. Only a few of the ideas have any merit, even standing alone.

The taken as a whole plans are a recipe for building an American aristocracy, not a balanced growing economy. We, as a nation, can do far better in devising a just and managably simple taxation system.