Tuesday, January 18, 2005
The Tax History Project, a public service initiative of Tax Analysts, has posted Historical Perspective: Tax Reform? Don't Count on It (by Joseph J. Thorndike). Here is the Introduction:
Washington is atwitter with talk of tax reform. President Bush is pondering names for his blue-ribbon tax commission (incongruously, perhaps, for a red-state president). And think tanks are humming with excitement, eager to foist their fiscal fancies on an unwitting -- or at least uninformed -- Congress. But what are the real prospects for wholesale tax reform? Pretty slim, if history is any guide. In a recent reissue of his well- regarded study, Federal Taxation in America, historian W. Elliot Brownlee has reminded us that real tax reform -- serious, durable, ambitious tax reform -- requires a national crisis. Unless things get much worse for the United States, that reform seems likely to remain a chimera.