Congress is back to work and getting through some very important items on their agenda such as honoring Jack Nicklaus and Mark Twain. In the meantime House Republicans are strategizing as to how to go about tax reform before the election. Will Republicans propose fundamental tax reform before the November elections or will they pass the buck and propose extending the Bush tax cuts keeping the status quo?
That is the debate happening right now within the House Republican ranks. It all boils down to what veterans in the House, mostly in leadership positions, want to do versus what freshmen conservatives, mostly part of the Tea Party 2010 elections, want to do. The leadership wants to force a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts. Any vote against that extension would be viewed as a vote to increase taxes. The Republican leadership sees this as a key election takeaway. Any Democrats voting against this proposal could then have ads run against them saying they voted to raise taxes.
Many conservatives in the House though, again mostly from the Tea Party electorate, want the House to propose a bold and complete rewrite of the tax code. That is after-all what they were sent there to do. Unfortunately for them, Speaker John Boehner and other House leaders see that idea as a very risky move. Knowing that any rewrite would include eliminating tons of deductions and loopholes, Democrats would be able to pounce on individual eliminations and point out that Republicans want to get rid of <insert deduction or loophole here>. Is Boehner’s argument correct? What would be the better ?
Boehner is right. A complete tax rewrite would be pounced on by Democrats. Boehner’s argument though is not what is best for America. America needs fundamental tax reform. Most Americans know this and would rather have a bold proposal presented to them instead of the status quo. That is all Boehner wants to do. Keep things the way they are. Is that what you want from Republicans?
If the House leadership wins this debate among their members and does not propose fundamental tax reform, I see that as a big misstep. Even though they could then run ads against Democrats that vote against their measure, it will show the electorate that Republicans are not yet ready to get serious about the problems facing us today. That could have major consequences in November. What do you think? Should Republicans propose fundamental tax reform before the November elections or vote to keep the status quo?