Monday, April 14, 2008

Here's an Idea: Let's Abolish the Tax Code and Start Over from Scratch

In honor of tax day tomorrow, I refer you to legislation submitted last year by U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va. 06) called the "The Tax Code Termination Act." The idea is gimmicky, yes, but still worth pursuing: set a date certain (he recommends Dec. 31, 2010) at which point the federal Tax Code will cease to exist, and in the meantime force Congress and the White House to come up with a simpler alternative to the current monstrosity. (I still think Jerry Brown had it right back in 1992 when he said we should all be able to compute our taxes by filling out the back of a postcard.)

Rep. Goodlatte's proposal is so simple, it may just work -- though it will never, unfortunately, be enacted. There are powerful interests in this country whose livelihood and profits depend on keeping our tax system as complex and loophole-rich as possible, so the natural course of things is for the Tax Code to get larger and more abstruse each year. As far as I'm concerned, both parties are at fault and it's we the people who suffer the consequences.

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