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What Happens When Congress Says, “We’ve Got Time. We’ll Get to It”

“Ever since the tax cuts were enacted in 2001 and 2003, policy makers have known the law would expire at the end of 2010. That ‘drop dead’ date offered an auspicious way to galvanize a systematic effort to reform a tax system that is badly in need of repair. Instead, policy makers pretty much ignored the issue until just before the 2010 Congressional recess, when politically tinged efforts to extend some or all of the tax cuts finally began — a ‘debate’ that was too little, too narrow, and too late.”

~ William G. Gale, Miller Chair at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center