Some Thoughts from the Tax Policy Center on Tax Credits and Tax Reform

November 11, 2009

Here are a two good blog posts from the Tax Policy Center’s TaxVox blog.

First, a proposal by Bob Williams for a few great income tax credits to help turn around the stock market, prop up the book market, and inflate holiday spending to a healthy level. While I appreciate his humor regarding tax credits, the shot at voters electing Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey seems strange. There is a big difference between cutting taxes broadly and enacting targeted tax credits meant to stimulate the economy. One has broad economic benefits, the other benefits special interests.

Secondly, a few words on Obama’s “tax reform” commission. Here’s a little of what Howard Gleckman had to say about the commission’s forthcoming report:

Despite once-high expectations, it is likely to be a waste of everyone’s time.[…]

[T]he reform panel […] is going to produce…a mouse. From its earliest days, the group was forced to work under impossible constraints. Chief among them: Obama’s insistence that no one earning less than $250,000 should pay higher taxes. Exempting more than 95 percent of families and individuals from tax hikes of any kind essentially shut the door on any serious discussion of reform, which inevitably creates winners and, yes, losers.[…]

Obama is surrounded by economic advisors who understand better than I that reforming the way government collects revenue is both necessary and inevitable. Apparently, their views have been drowned out by his political advisers who, I assume, see the whole issue as a swamp.

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