The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, August 28, 2017


Stephen Moore argues that the best legislation always follows the Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) philosophy. It integrates a few easily understood elements and proposes them as new law. He writes:
One of the most enduring lessons from the ObamaCare [repeal and replace] fiasco is that to win a political battle, it is best to keep the message simple. If there are too many moving parts to a plan, if Americans don’t understand what the politicians are doing, or if there are parts of a bill they don’t like, it probably will go down in flames.
With this in mind, Moore proposes a "tax reform" package that contains three simple elements:
First, cut tax rates for large and small businesses to 15 percent to make America competitive and create jobs. Second, repatriate $2.5 trillion of money held by American companies back to the United States at a 10 percent tax rate. Third, double the standard deduction for every family and individual tax filer.

And that’s it. Hard stop. No border tax. No carbon tax. No surtax on rich people. No end of popular tax deductions. ‎You can’t get the tax base broadened without a single Democratic vote helping you do it, so don’t try to roll this boulder up the hill.
Although the #Resistance will never support this approach because they refuse to give Trump any win, no matter how beneficial to our economy and the middle class, a few Democrat senators who are up for re-election may decide to vote in favor of it. And although the #NeverTrump GOP elites may also balk at a lack of revenue neutrality (as an excuse for opposing Trump), most of them do not want to be primaried when they vote against a tax cut.

Moore's three-step plan will spur economic growth, bring trillions in capital parked overseas back to our shores, and provide the middle class with a much needed tax cut. Of course, progressives will wail that doubling the standard deduction provides the same benefit to "the rich" as it does for the middle class, but that simply demonstrates collective innumeracy. The standard deduction has little if any impact on the taxes paid by "the rich," simply because it represents a very small percentage of their income. But the standard deduction can reduce middle class taxes in a meaningful way, because it represents a far larger percentage of overall income.

The #NeverTrump GOP will wail that the KISS approach will increase the debt, after spending the past decade being passive-aggressive about increasing the debt. There are two ways to decrease debt: (1) stop federal spending—and that will never happen; (2) spur significant growth in GDP, thereby growing the tax base and tax revenues. The second approach actually has a chance of succeeding. We should take it.

But KISS is not what Washington does. The geniuses on Capitol Hill will make things as complex as possible, and in so doing, doom any meaningful attempt at tax reform. Deep down, both #Resistance and #NeverTrump both want it that way.