The phrase real tax reform makes an appearance in Washington

The president is mentioning taking up “real” tax reform by which he means, from the scant details I’ve read, lowering income tax rates by closing or eliminating the thousands of exemptions, deductions and incentives strewn through the federal tax code. the Times reports, the last time Congress took up something that ambitious it took three years, a lot of bickering and beaucoup de mojo to get something passed. Even then some of the deductions and exemptions that were closed as part of the 1986 Tax Reform Act were revisited a couple of years after that ambitious piece of legislation became law. (For anyone interested in the 1986 Tax Reform Act, I’d recommend reading “Showdown at Gucci Gulch” by Alan Murray and Jeff Birnbaum. It transforms the fight over the arcane world of federal tax code into a page-turning thriller, replete with an amazing cast of characters, unlikely alliances and a come-from-behind victory.)


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