Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp, R-Mich., has proposed the Tax Reform Act (TRA) of 2014.
The press release proudly proclaims that this piece of legislation is a means to fix the broken tax code by "lowering rates while making the code simpler and fairer for families and job creators."
This will "spur stronger economic growth, greater job creation and puts more money in the hands of hardworking taxpayers."
And it does all this without raising the deficit. Of course, it doesn't reduce the deficit either.
No prior tax law has fixed the tax code, made compliance simpler, enabled job creation, spurred economic growth or let hardworking taxpayers keep more of their money.
Camp wants the American taxpayer to believe that this time it is going to be different.
We are expected to swallow this since the legislation has been analyzed by the "non-partisan" Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).
For those poor souls who are unfamiliar with that tower of credibility that is the JCT, it is a congressional committee composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Every congressperson appointed to the JCT is there precisely because they are fiercely political and fervently partisan.
There is no argument by either Democrats or Republicans that the income tax is a broken system.
The draft legislation, as proposed by Camp, is a 900-page monstrosity that raises $600 billion in additional taxes.
It is widely praised by every form of lobbying organization. Anyone who makes a living off the government thinks the TRA of 2014 to be a godsend. Tax professionals are just giddy over the prospect of another tax reform law.
To put congressional tax reform legislation in perspective, the Tax Reform Act of 1969 was passed just as I was starting my tax career. That was followed by tax legislation, as best as I can recall, in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, —almost every year right up to the now proposed TRA of 2014.
Nobody running for Congress has ever read the Internal Revenue Code, but each promises at each election cycle most sincerely that when elected they will reform it.
This is a political scam going into its 101st year. Politicians know and rely on the fact that taxpayers have little to no understanding of the income tax law.
Then again, it is questionable whether tax professionals or the IRS are much better off.
Camp says the TRA of 2014 will tackle waste, fraud and abuse at the IRS. It is an old story and a good con to pull, especially around election time. Congress told this tale in the IRS Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998. Congress assured us then that the abuse of taxpayers would end.
The Internal Revenue Code is already some 75,000 pages long. It has been "reformed" one way or another by Congress nearly every year since 1969.
Do you think that the income tax as imposed on you will get better or worse if Congress monkeys yet again with the tax law?
I think that this time we should tell congress, "Please, no more tax reform."
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