As you may have heard in the newspaper or on TV, the conventional wisdom in Washington, DC is that bipartisan tax reform is too hard. According to the skeptics, the parties are simply too far apart to come together to make our tax system better for working Americans.
Back in 1986, the conventional wisdom was the same. Even though our tax system was broken then, too, the skeptics assured us that it couldn’t be fixed.
But then, something unexpected happened: Republican President Ronald Reagan, Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, and members of Congress from both parties worked together to get the job done.
Even though fixing the tax code was complicated, their approach was simple. They knew they had strong disagreements, but they held lengthy public debates, compromised on both sides of the aisle, and eventually passed a major tax reform bill that was bipartisan and did not add to our deficits and national debt.
Now, thirty-one years later, our tax code is once again in need of a major overhaul. Our tax system is complicated and full of loopholes, our business tax laws are making us less competitive, and the middle class is overdue for a tax cut.
Unfortunately, this time around, Republicans in Congress and the White House are taking the exact opposite approach that President Reagan and congressional leaders took the last time we passed real tax reform.
I think that’s a big mistake.
The full column is available here.