As was the case two years ago, the 2001/2003 tax cuts will be a hot topic in the lame duck session. Democrats would like to extend the full tax cuts only for people making less than $250,000, while Republicans would prefer to extend them fully for most everyone (leaving out refundable tax credit expansions from 2009).
First off, CRFB would like to congratulate President Obama and all of those who were elected and re-elected to the Senate and the House. CRFB is looking forward to continue working with policymakers from both sides of the aisle to help make deficit reduction a reality.
Recently, we released an analysis demonstrating that it is indeed possible to substantially reduce tax rates while still cutting the deficit. Despite some claims that repealing all tax expenditures could reduce the top rate to only 38% (or by only 4 percent), we showed that doing so would allow the top rate to fall to 23 percent while still allowing for over $1 trillion in deficit reduction.
After we analyzed a part of it two weeks ago, Governor Mitt Romney's tax plan is back in the news, with a proposed deduction cap as the subject of a new Tax Policy Center study. He had mentioned a $25,000 dollar cap on deductions as a possibility in his tax plan during the debate Tuesday night and has previously proposed a $17,000 cap.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) yesterday released his "Wastebook" for 2012, a laundry list of government waste and inefficiency. Coburn finds 100 examples of government spending clearly not serving its designed purpose.
Wastebook's examples include:
Update: Clint Stretch at Capital Gains and Games sketches out possibilities for base broadening in Gov. Romney's plan.
Yesterday the group Taxpayers for Common Sense released a report with over $2 trillion in deficit reduction. The report, "Sliding Past the Sequester," takes up the task of the Super Committee and puts forth a list of cuts to programs or measures that they deem are "inefficient, ineffective, or wasteful," adding up to $800 billion beyond the Super Committee's original requirement.
In a Project Syndicate piece, former Chairman of President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors Martin Feldstein reminds us about another idea to raise revenue from tax expenditures. Instead of going through each preference and figuring out the best course of action, it might be effective--and potentially politically easier--to cap the overall benefits taxpayers receive from tax expenditures.