Thursday, April 23, 2009

Obama Vows to Reform Monstrous Tax Code

Have at it, my friend:
President Barack Obama promised Americans his administration would reform the "monstrous" U.S. tax system as millions faced the dreaded annual deadline on Wednesday for filing income tax returns.

Obama used Tax Day, a national ritual of public frustration due to the confusing tax code, to underscore his drive to cut taxes for many Americans while increasing spending to jolt the United States out of its worst recession in decades.

Opposition Republicans seized the chance to rail against what they see as wasteful spending by his new Democratic administration, and some of Obama's grass-roots critics staged "tea party" protests in several U.S. cities.

Obama is pushing a $3.5 trillion federal budget plan that Republicans and some Democrats say carries too much deficit spending and too few tax cuts.

The rest of the article is political boiler-plate with no details about how the Tax Code will be reformed. The truth is, it won't be. Sure, we all want a simpler tax code - Hey, let's just make it a straight across the board 10% tax after a certain exemption, based on household numbers. Oh, but that wouldn't be fair to the poor when the rich could afford to pay more than 10%. And what about ways to encourage good behavior like charitable donations or owning a home or contributing to a retirement fund or purchasing health insurance? What about credit for additional children under a certain age? College expenses.

There you see the problem.

No, the Tax Code is a tangled mess and for good reason. I suspect when it comes down to it, no matter what we say, we'll much prefer the Code the way it is to what it could be if we tried to make things more simple and fair. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

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