The simpler the better
Progressives and tax loopholes
The New York Times is apoplectic that many workers will get to keep more of their own money under the Republican tax plan. A recent Times editorial called the measure “an immense tax giveaway to the rich” but then proceeded to offer a roaring defense of loopholes and handouts that primarily benefit the rich.
The paper claims to have crunched the numbers and found that, under the House proposal, “taxes would go up for 45 percent of middle-class taxpayers by 2027.” This is a guess predicated on a number of assumptions that may or may not materialize over the next decade and depend on a whole host of variables tied to every wage earner’s unique circumstances. In fact, only about half of households making up to $100,000 itemize their deductions. Doubling the standard deduction — as both the Senate and House bills propose — will result in fewer taxpayers filing Schedule A forms, meaning savings for most middle-class workers.
The Times eagerly supports the fact that the tax code has become larded with special-interest write-offs that provide job security for a bevy of accountants and attorneys. The paper labels as “meanspirited” efforts to eliminate tax breaks for wind energy projects, moving expenses and the purchase of electric cars — as if Joe Sixpack will now have to abandon plans to buy a $100,000 Tesla thanks to the dastardly GOP. Truth is, most of the loopholes targeted in the Republican plan overwhelmingly benefit the well-off.
The real question is why any of these tax subsidies — and dozens more — exist in the first place. Is the purpose of the tax code to fund the government or to serve as a blunt instrument to reward or punish behavior to achieve social goals deemed beneficial by those inside the Beltway? Yes, Americans deserve to keep more of what they earn, and loopholes help achieve that end. But tax law that results from lobbyist arm-twisting, special pleadings and cronyism is neither fair nor efficient and breeds rancor and resentment.
The National Taxpayer Advocate, an IRS watchdog, estimates that Americans spend $195 billion a year complying with the tax code. Critics can attack the GOP plan on a number of fronts, but how can anyone oppose the goal of making this rat’s nest less complicated? The Republican plans, however imperfect, make an honest effort in this regard.
“On simplification, it’s actually pretty good,” Duke law professor Lawrence Zelenak told the Wall Street Journal this week. “It gets rid of several things which add a lot of complexity for a lot of ordinary taxpayers.”
And that should be applauded as a significant accomplishment.
The Review-journal welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should not exceed 275 words and must include the writer’s name, mailing address and phone number. Submissions may be edited and become the property of the Review-journal.
Email email@example.com Mail Letters to the Editor
P.O. Box 70
Las Vegas, NV 89125
Fax 702-383-4676 the Bush tax cuts. George W. Bush inherited an annual budget surplus. Thanks to his tax cuts, plus the initiation of another unending war, the surplus evaporated, debt doubled and deficits skyrocketed.
Now it’s 2017. More Republican tax reform. I’m supposed to believe this will benefit and expand the middle class? Reduce corporate rates and they will return a portion to workers? Bull. Already more than 20 percent of corporations in the Dow pay less than 20 percent. Half pay less than 25 percent. Conned again? In the midst of this quagmire, another president hellbent on more war.
History repeating itself? Only if we let it. given an anesthetic to “put me out,” I was told to “count back from 100.” I never remember getting to 98. I’ve also seen animals put down. It was done humanely with no pain. But, somehow, defense attorneys believe that the state is in the business of torturing murderers before they are executed. I find that absurd.
Furthermore, how can the state possibly harm the defendant anymore than he has already harmed — indeed, heinously murdered — the victim?
The goal of Scott Dozier’s attorneys is simple: to help their client avoid paying the ultimate penalty for viciously taking from his victim what they now don’t want taken from him, the gift of life. There is a better defense: Do not murder your fellow human beings in the first place.