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View Diary: Weekly address: Looking forward (61 comments)

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  •  Yes, they could...but I'm betting Congress won't. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, RainyDay, squarewheel

    In a darker day and long ago, I had something to do with tax matters and the Hill.

    Every provision - every provision in the huge tax code and the attendant regs, the opinion letters of the IRS and Tax Policy learning in the Treasury department - has a beneficiary, usually several, and often they are legion.

    The idea that the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee ultimately will approve significant, substantial, game-changing tax reform has the most dismal odds of anything I can think of in DC today. Yes, including the debt ceiling and the sequester.

    Why, you might ask? Because the very devils are in those provisions. Each affects its beneficiary taxpayer(s) in a very important way, so much so that it is quite unlikely that rates could change enough to compensate for the loss of My Particular Bennie. It's just that simple.

    There are provisions in the code that not even the sponsor remembers which constituent he/she put it in for. (One arcane provision benefited one taxpayer; the first letters of the paragraphs spelled the taxpayer's name.) Does anyone check on these? Yeah, they try, but in the press of the last minute legislative fracas, no way can even the Joint Tax Committee Staff (the most professional government group, in my judgment, in Washington, DC) vet anything but the language. Policy? - you gotta be kidding. Like earmarks used to be (and - shhh - still are!), who needs policy if passage depends on securing the vote of the Congressman from Boonesville.

    Even where a provision is very broad-based policy, there are groups who will passionately protect it and that interest group will frame the debate, not the interests of The Average Voter. For example:

    - mortgage deduction. The realtors will protect this with every fibre of their out-sized profits.

    - dividend rates. The GOP and the business world embraces this as preventing double taxation. That is all they will need to repeat and repeat and ...

    - carried interest treatment as capital gain, not income. The big contributors and some small town insurance salesmen protect this one as if killing it would imperil their way of life. (Which, for some, it might. After all, it was one of Mitt's favorite havens.)

    It's a grand idea our President has there ... but do not count on results or added revenues until the bill gets through conference and hits the President's desk. Before that, make no promises, no threats. In fact, this briar patch is best left completely alone for Congress, who caused most of it, to deal with.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:40:08 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  yes! (0+ / 0-)

      Obama has given the Republicans plenty enough rope to hang themselves, he should let them get on with it.  Hope and pray he has a good plan for dealing with the burial afterwards, tho.

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