Why Are Republicans Making Tax Reform So Hard?

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Tax reform should be one of the easiest policies to sell — yet elected Republicans in D.C. still can’t figure it out. To the question in the headline — here is Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Art Laffer, and Stephen Moore writing at the New York Times:

In the aftermath of the health care blowup, President Trump and the Republicans need a legislative victory. Tax reform probably should have gone first, but now is the time to move it forward with urgency.

Unfortunately, the White House seems all over the map on the subject. One day there is a trial balloon for a value-added tax. The next, the idea of a carbon tax or a reciprocal tax. And now we are hearing the curve ball of a payroll tax cut. Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, has thrown cold water on the idea of any tax bill meeting the August deadline.

One sure lesson from the health care setback is the old admonition “Keep it simple, stupid.” The Republicans tried to fix the trillion-dollar health insurance market instead of keeping the focus on repealing Obamacare.

They have a chance to make amends with a new tax bill and still hit the August deadline. We advised President Trump during his election campaign and we believe the Republican Party’s lesson for tax reform is this: Don’t try to rewrite the entire tax code in one bill.

Instead, the primary goal of Mr. Trump’s first tax bill should be to fix the federal corporate and small-business tax system, which has made America increasingly uncompetitive in global markets and has reduced jobs and wages here at home. The White House and the Treasury already have a tax plan that we were involved with last year. The three most important planks of that plan are:

First, cut the federal corporate and small-business highest tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, which is now one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.

Read more: NYT

Image credit: Shutterstock.

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