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A Fair and Simple Tax Plan

America has been treated to a quite rare and underreported occurrence this summer. The Chairmen of the two tax writing committees, a Republican and a Democrat, have been barnstorming the country together hoping to build support for significant tax reform. Both the Ways and Means and the Finance Committees have had hearings and joint discussions about the principles of reforming America’s complicated and unfair tax code. Doesn’t that sound promising? Well it should, but it isn’t. And it is not the fault of Dave Camp or Max Baucus that this is not widely reported or particularly hopeful news.

Not too long ago, such a tour would have been a harbinger of great potential. Unfortunately, these two leaders face unrelenting opposition from President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Neither of them wants tax reform. They are wedded only to tax increases. You can call it whatever you want, but if it doesn’t result in trillions more dollars taken from American citizens and sent to Washington, they will kill it. No progress can be made on making the US tax system fairer and simpler as long as the President and Senator Reid stand athwart reform screaming: HIGHER TAXES.

Even so, Senator Baucus and Congressman Camp are doing the country a great favor. Taxes are a complicated subject. Making the tax code into a simpler, fairer and more growth oriented law is one of the most important economic issues facing America. Their efforts can be used to set up an important debate: a debate which every candidate for President in 2016 must join or be left by the wayside.

Tax reform is a necessary (but not sufficient) part of any program to return opportunity and jobs to America. It is not a magic wand which will solve all problems, but America will not recover its earlier vibrant economic growth without tax reform as a part of the program of change.

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