When the 112th Congress convenes in January, the prez reportedly wants to tackle comprehensive tax reform.
It's not officially on Obama's legislative wish list yet, but the New York Times reports that the Commander in Chief has directed his economic team and Treasury Department analysts to review ways to close loopholes and simplify corporate and individual income taxes.
Apparently, Obama is intrigued by his deficit panel's findings.
One proposal, the Zero Plan, says that by eliminating tax expenditures -- that's all those often very complex deductions, credits and exemptions that end up costing Uncle Sam money -- the tax code obviously would be smaller and tax rates could be dramatically compressed and lowered.
It's a worthy goal. The last significant tax system overhaul was back in 1986.
Since then, the tax code has again become convoluted and bloated. But recent efforts to tackle overall tax reform have been abandoned because of practical, logistical, economic, philosophical or political concerns -- or varying combinations of all those reasons.
Just look at the receptions that greeted both this week's announced tax cuts deal and, a week before, the deficit panel's tax proposals.
Of course, healthy disagreement and discussion on tough topics like taxes are to be expected. And in an ideal world, such discourse would produce a better result.
But we're talking Capitol Hill. That's definitely not an ideal world.
Maybe the growing public clamor for federal deficit reduction will be the catalyst for a real examination of our tax system.
Then again, maybe those new folks who were elected in November to the House and Senate on budget-cutting platforms will find once they settle into their Washington, D.C., offices, that they like them.
And in most cases, folks in the nation's capital find that the best way to stay there is to not do too much.
- Dems agree to disagree on tax deal
- Reaction to proposed tax deal mixed (vote in the poll!)
- Obama, GOP strike deal to extend tax cuts
- House approves extension of middle-class tax cuts in symbolic vote
- Tax cuts task force to hammer out deal
- Deficit commission tax overhaul, take 2
- Is it time for tax reform?
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