Thursday, November 18, 2004

Big Flaming Paper Sack of Dog Poop Award

(if you want to play the game, click here)

The most current recipient of the FLATLANDER Big Flaming Paper Sack of Dog Poop Award:

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa for his remarks regarding the Senate prioritizing sweeping tax reform, including the FairTax.

Tax-law rewrite has key skeptic
By Peronet Despeignes, USA TODAY

The Senate's top tax-writer expressed doubts Tuesday about prospects for a major overhaul of the tax code, dealing a blow to one of President Bush's top priorities two weeks after his re-election.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said comprehensive tax reform would be "difficult" to do. "I'm not one to spend a lot of time tilting at windmills," he said.

Grassley said Bush would have to aggressively use his "bully pulpit" to win wider popular support. After the election, Bush said he had earned "political capital, and now I intend to spend it" by pushing for changes in the tax code and Social Security, among other things. But Grassley said, "I'm not sure how much political capital (the president) is prepared to spend on it."

Grassley's view is important because all tax bills go through his committee. In an interview with USA TODAY, he said Bush made a mistake by not talking about tax reform more often and more explicitly in the campaign. "I think there was a missed opportunity," he said.

White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said Bush "talked daily during the campaign about the importance of making the tax code simpler, fairer and more conducive to economic growth, and he looks forward to working with Congress on this priority."

Bush has called for simplifying the tax code in a "neutral" way that would not significantly raise or reduce tax revenue. That could make changes tougher, because any big tax cuts for some would have to be paid for with increases for others, creating winners and losers.

The White House is assembling a bipartisan panel that's expected to make recommendations before Bush settles on a specific proposal next year. Among his options is the replacement of the progressive income tax with a single, "flat" income tax rate or retail sales tax.

Grassley suggested that he favors more incremental changes: making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, closing loopholes, shielding middle-income Americans from tax increases, and reducing the tax burden on savings and investment.

The last time Congress overhauled the tax code was in 1986 under President Reagan. That law broadened the tax base by slashing loopholes. It collapsed 15 income tax brackets, topped by a 50% rate, into two rates of 15% and 28%. Since then, new tax breaks have been added and the number of brackets raised to six, topped by a 35% rate.


Post a Comment

<< Home