U.S. taxpayers, mark your calendars. The long-delayed and anxiously awaited tax overhaul recommendations will be made public on Friday, Aug. 27.
Obama created the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB), which is led by former Federal Reserve Board Chair Paul Volcker (at right in the photo below), in early 2009.
The task force (that's its working designation) has been charged, in part, with examining possible tax reform options.
As with any Washington, D.C., panel, everything is on the table. When it comes to taxes, that means tax code simplification, closing tax loopholes, combating tax evasion and reducing what many see as unfair corporate tax breaks.
The board's report has been slower than anticipated, and we can only hope that means its findings will be worth the wait.
But I wouldn't hold my breath for several reasons.
First, it's an election year, so any meaningful tax law changes are damn nigh impossible.
Second, Capitol Hill is staring down the expiration of Dubya's tax cuts, along with already expired tax extenders and the estate tax. That means that Representatives and Senators are not going to be in any mood to deal with even more controversial tax matters.
And did I mention it's also an election year.
Third, there's history, and some pretty recent history at that.
Dubya marched into D.C. in 2001 waving a big tax reform flag. Soon after settling into the Oval Office, he set up his own blue ribbon tax overhaul panel.
But in December 2005 when Dubya got the suggestions of his advisory group, which like this current panel included some well respected fiscal and political representatives, the report and any tax code modifications it might have spurred were DOA.
The main reason was that the Bush panel had the audacity to suggest substantive changes to the home-related tax breaks.
And did I mention that back then, the Republicans in the White House were worried about what might happen during the coming midterm elections if they started tinkering with sacrosanct tax breaks and just enacted tax cuts?
I don't want to sound too pessimistic. I'm certainly interested in seeing what Volcker et al suggest. So, like you, I'll be up early Aug. 27 to see what the panel suggests when it comes to making our tax system better.
But, as I said, I don't really expect much to come of their findings.
- Tax cuts or total tax reform?
- 'Uncle' Alan Greenspan's latest on taxes
- Debunking 5 Bush tax cut myths
- Is it time for tax reform?
- 2010's expiring tax cuts likely to be dealt with
by a lameduck Congress
- The ever-growing tax code
- White House seeks tax advice
- Presidential tax panel, take 2
- Tax reform panel report delayed
- Tax overhaul, over and out ... for now
Want to tell your friends about this blog post? Click the Tweet This or Digg This buttons below or use the Share This icon to spread the word via e-mail, Facebook and other popular applications. Thanks!