Friday, July 20

Yes, We Need to Raise Taxes, but We Also Need a More Transparent Tax System

Conor Friedersdorf writes in The Atlantic:
"It is beyond dispute that there is a huge amount of rent-seeking in the American system, that lobbying yields truly stunning returns on investment, that the complexity of our tax code benefits very rich people who employ extremely intelligent tax attorneys to reduce their tax burden, and that certain policies (like the Wall Street bailout) redistributes toward moneyed interests. ...

"When campaigning in 2008, Obama explicitly argued that the American system required systemic reform as a precondition for fair outcomes. After being elected, he abandoned any real effort to fundamentally change the system, and proceeded to work on enacting reforms within it. I'd love to see Obama achieve systemic tax reform that ends the advantages the rich gain from complexity and access. Instead he's focused on the "within the system" reform of raising rates on the rich. Given the alarming fiscal situation we're in there's a case to be made that doing so is necessary. But it's a suboptimal course, and there should be no illusions about that." (Emphasis added.)
Focus on the Ill-Gotten Gains of the Rich Instead of Their Tax Rates