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Yesterday in a Senate Finance Committee hearing, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) said that he would like a “weekly set of get-togethers” to address reforming our tax code. You see, Baucus was having similar weekly hearings for two years leading up to the healthcare reform bill that was passed last year. And since those were such a hoot, he figures attacking a equally polarizing issue like tax reform will demand a similar strategy. However, witnesses before the committee – all former assistant Treasury secretaries for tax policy – warned that this debate will likely haunt our dreams and news cycles for a long time:
Fred Goldberg, Jonathan Talisman, Mark Weinberger, Pamela Olson and Eric Solomon discussed, among other issues, the difficulties in crafting a revenue-neutral tax reform plan; problems with the alternative minimum tax and the tax exclusion for employer-provided healthcare; and issues with double taxation in the corporate code.
The former Treasury officials also declared that any successful overhaul of the tax code could take several years and would require leadership from the Oval Office.
Now for the older crowd, the long arduous process of tax reform harkens you back to days of when Charlie Sheen was winning by dodging…er, Charlie in Platoon. For many of the Millennials, well, you were all a lot cuter back then.
“We saw that in 1986,” Weinberger said. “President Reagan at the time made it his No. 1 domestic policy initiative and it still took over two years and failed three times before it was ultimately enacted into law.”
Baucus wants weekly tax reform hearings [On the Money/The Hill]
As soon as you catch your breath from laughing hysterically, feel free to continue.
Max Baucus turns
59 69 on December 11th, so even if you assume that he will have the life expectancy of Robert Byrd that means he’s got 32 22 years of watching the IRS’s every move. Sure, we’re making the assumption that the IRS has a snowflake’s chance in Hell of closing the tax gap but that’s an assumption we’re comfortable making.
The General Accounting Office recently stated that the IRS was using “antiquated techniques” to fight tax evasion and Baucus feels compelled to be on top of the situation until the tax gap is a distant memory.
“This report makes clear the IRS needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to fight complex tax evasion schemes and that more work is needed to close the tax gap,” Baucus said in prepared remarks. “I intend to closely monitor the IRS’ progress to make sure they have an effective strategy to root out this tax evasions and close the tax gap once and for all.”
You may now resume laughing until you soil yourself.
Baucus urges new strategy for IRS to combat evasion [On the Money]