Whatever Congress and the White House do in the next couple of weeks will reinforce the case for tax reform. The seeming sanctification of low tax rates that occurred with the Tax Reform Act of 1986 has not meant keeping top tax rates low; it has meant only the death of honesty in talking about rates. The result is a patch work of hidden rates and additional wage taxes that is likely to continue.
On Tuesday, the electorate will get to the end of a very long political process, during which they have been promised a better tax system without any real discussion about the sacrifices such a system would demand.
When our kids were in high school, a very wise principal told us: “Any sentence with the word ‘nobody’ or the word ‘everybody’ is wrong. “ Since then, I have been startled at how many times I hear such sentences rationalizing a failure to pay taxes – “Nobody pay tax unless they have to.” “Everyone knows the tax code is unfair.” “Everyone fudges on their deductions.” “Nobody’s hurt when I pay a little less.”