In Washington these days there is no shortage of chatter about the need for fundamental tax reform. Not just small tweaks to the system, but a large, comprehensive overhaul. Lost in that larger debate is the current reality facing families and businesses--expiring or expired tax provisions that Congress routinely reauthorizes along with the coming 2013 fiscal time bomb when the current tax rates expire that could result in a disaster for our economy.
American families and businesses, small and large, mired in a sea of uncertainty over the nation's tax code, are cognizant that something must be done to address more immediate deadlines already baked into the system. Most folks-whether they have filed taxes as an individual, the head of a family or a business owner-understand that America's tax code is a needlessly complicated maze. In many ways, it is the perfect representation of a bureaucracy gone mad. Annual compliance costs for individuals and businesses are north of $100 billion with six: billion hours spent over the year calculating, compiling and filing tax returns.
Adding to that logistical nightmare are questions over what Congress will do to address specific tax provisions and the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax rate reductions. House Republicans believe we need a tax system that encourages private-capital investment, business growth and job creation. W have held numerous hearings on the subject and put forth proposals that would lower rates and broaden the base to make America and American entrepreneurs more competitive.
Does that mean getting rid of certain tax extenders or similar targeted tax provisions? It could under fundamental reform, so long as the code is made less burdensome and we are not simply responding to an inequitable tax code by rearranging the inequities to fit a political agenda. However, none of this should be done overnight and under duress.
That is why Republicans have committed to reviewing the tax extenders to determine what works. Those discussions should be open, honest and conditioned on a firm commitment to move forward with positive, principled, fundamental reform.
For his part, President Obama has tried to steer the debate over tax reform away from the policy arena and into the political arena. We hear talk about the so-called "Buffett Rule" that will add another layer to an already burdensome, complicated tax code. There's no credible economic or fiscal rationale for this idea. There is only a...