Reform = Scrap the Code

Presidential candidates are rapidly staking claim to the mantle of the true “reformer.” When it comes to taxes, only a candidate with a real plan to take on the IRS and simplify the current tax code can call himself the “reform” candidate.

SCRAP THE CODE: The current tax code is an abomination and makes no sense in today’s modern economy.

IRS paperwork costs taxpayers at least $135 billion per year – equal to the combined sales of IBM, Intel, Microsoft, America Online and Sun Microsystems.

Americans spend 5.7 billion hours each year filing out IRS forms.

The marriage penalty forces 21 million couples to pay an average of $1400 in higher taxes for the privilege of being married.

3 million new families have been hit by the marriage penalty in the past 6 years because of the increase in two-earner households. The tax code does not reflect the realities of the modern American family.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush proposes a substantial reduction in income taxes and eliminates the death tax and the marriage penalty. According to Rep. Bill Archer, eliminating the death tax alone would eliminate 180 pages from the tax code. Gov. Bush’s $483 billion tax cut moves in the right direction of simplifying the code, but he has made the mistake of not telling anybody about it. Gov. Bush should more forcefully make the case for scrapping the code and demonstrate how his plan is a first step in that direction. He needs to talk about his whole plan, telling Americans that his is the only proposal that downsizes the despised IRS.

Sen. John McCain has told CSE that he wants to scrap the code and said, “I believe taxes are too high and the tax code too complex. The federal tax code is a 44,000 page catalogue of favors for special interests and a chamber of horrors for the rest of America.” While his rhetoric is to be commended, rhetoric is not reform. The McCain plan falls far short in substance. The McCain plan raises too many taxes and widens the disparity between the top rate and lowest rate.

The reform mantle remains up for grabs. Bush needs better rhetoric and McCain needs a better plan.