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Jewish World Review
Feb. 27, 2012/ 4 Adar, 5772
Every candidate has to have a tax-reform plan
Sadly for presidential candidates beating the drums for various tax plans, Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution is unmistakably clear on one point:
"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills."
The House's chosen instruments for raising revenues that's taxes to us laypeople is the House Ways and Means Committee, perhaps the most powerful panel in Congress. Its leader is invariably described as "the powerful chairman."
It's a good bet that the vast majority of Americans have no idea who that person is despite his influence on their economic well-being. He is 11-term Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., described by CQ's "Politics in America" guide as "an unassuming policy wonk who diligently works behind the scenes to listen to others and find compromises."
His reception of President Barack Obama's proposed corporate-tax reforms was lukewarm, concluding, "Notably, the administration's proposal fails to address the need for comprehensive reform of our tax code."
The need for a thorough overhaul of the tax code is incontestable, but it would be a herculean legislative task requiring a Congress far less emotional and more reasonable and willing to compromise than this one or the one likely to succeed it.
And an army of tax lobbyists stands ready to defend their clients' loopholes, special breaks, exemptions, incentives and other breaks that have grown over the years to make the tax code the monster it is.
Despite that daunting obstacle, the four remaining GOP presidential candidates have all come out with their tax-reform plans because, well, it's expected of them.
According to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Newt Gingrich's and Rick Santorum's plans, with their generous cuts and absence of new revenues, would blow a huge hole in the national debt.
The study says that Gingrich's plan would add $7 trillion to the national debt over the next nine years; and Santorum's, $4.5 trillion. These are worse than no plans at all because the government would fare better simply by running on automatic pilot.
Mitt Romney's plan, with many details yet to come, would have a 2016 deficit of $700 billion to $800 billion, according to the study. Obama's plan promises a deficit of $649 billion in 2016, using tax increases to do it.
Ron Paul, the GOP's libertarian outlier, has a plan to more than offset his tax cuts by spending cuts, and reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion, but by the politically improbable course of eliminating five Cabinet departments and greatly reducing spending on popular social programs.
The only thing standing in the way of any of these plans is the Constitution and an unassuming policy wonk from Michigan. But the candidates can't be accused of not having a tax plan
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© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
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