Paul L. Caron

Friday, September 25, 2009

President Obama Wants Your Tax Reform Ideas

Tax Reform Panel

The White House yesterday invited the public to submit tax reform ideas to President Obama's tax reform panel:

President Obama has asked the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) to develop options for tax reform. The members of the tax subcommittee are preparing ideas to be considered by the board and would like to give anyone a chance to have input into the process on this important issue. Anyone wanting to share ideas and opinions for consideration by the subcommittee can do so here. The deadline for submissions is October 15th, 2009.

Note: The mandate to the PERAB is NOT to recommend a new tax system. They are to consider ideas on tax simplification, better enforcement of tax law, and reforming corporate taxes and to present the pros and cons of potential tax options. They were instructed not to consider options that involve raising taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year. So be mindful of their constraints when submitting ideas.

In general, the tax subcommittee will post all comments online for others to examine and those suggestions may spur other people's ideas. All statements, including attachments and other supporting materials, received are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. Please do not submit materials exceeding five single-spaced pages of text. If submitting via e-mail, please send to [email protected]. Please also include a cover sheet including the submitter's name and organization, type of organization (individual, business, government, non-profit organization, or association), submission date, and contact information.

Hopefully, the task force will seriously consider Toward Tax Reform: Recommendations for President Obama's Task Force (Tan Analysts, 2009).

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The White House is asking for your ideas for tax reform. I wonder how many suggestions will involve Tim Geithner... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 25, 2009 6:06:24 AM


Here's a wacky idea - why not start with the removal of Charlie Rangel from the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and then take it from there?

I'd do that second, right after putting Geithner in prison.

Posted by: Kev | Sep 25, 2009 11:41:13 PM

Replace all taxes with a single uniform sales tax. The tax should apply to all retail goods and services, and I mean all (including houses, stocks, consulting, etc., even food and clothing), in order to keep the rate as low as possible. Tax stuff, not people.

Posted by: peter jackson | Sep 25, 2009 9:57:02 PM

Tax? What tax? Call them fees and get it over with.

We call briberies campaign contributions, paybacks to chums earmarks, why not call taxes fees.

Posted by: ic | Sep 25, 2009 3:19:09 PM

To give credit where due, the good idea of Obama resigning was that of Swenson rather than me.

3Dogman is right about this not showing leadership. It's like asking the students what they want to study rather than what the course requires.

Clinton led by finding which way everyone was going and then he jumped in front as if it was his idea. Obama leads by running beside a bus and throwing people under it when convenient.

Posted by: Woody | Sep 25, 2009 2:56:13 PM

Nice try... like after all the problems and such they have had with the .gov site and keeping my info and then spamming me with healthcare garbage. As far as I know, they still haven't deleted all that from before.

I think getting people off welfare and all paying a flat tax would be the most fair but that isn't going to happen.

Posted by: Joan in Juneau | Sep 25, 2009 2:53:20 PM

I'd be very interested in the TaxProf's take on the APT Tax.
See here:

Maybe I'm missing something, but this seems like a great idea.

Posted by: Daddio | Sep 25, 2009 2:49:36 PM

SURE he wants our tax reform ideas. Just like he wants our health care reform ideas. Just like he wanted to know what our top 10 issues were at, only to ignore each and every one of them including the business-killing CPSIA.

You all just go on believing Obama really wants to hear what we have to say. Me, I'm getting cynical enough to figure he's just hoping that if he appears to be listening, maybe we'll believe this time he really will.

Posted by: Sarah Natividad | Sep 25, 2009 2:29:34 PM

Wasn’t there a Sat Nite Live skit about Tim Geithner asking for the public to call? Can I find it? Yes I can:

Posted by: From Inwood | Sep 25, 2009 2:04:07 PM

So he wants an idea how to get more money from someone else? At what point will the Democrats show the fiscal discipline to NOT spend more money? Instead of focusing on how to spend more money, how about spending less? We can not do everything for everybody and for every tax dollar you take from the economy is a dollar not used in private job creation. The only net positive provider of tax revenue is the private sector, a government job is not a net positive source of tax revenue by definition it can never be.

1. Freeze the budget for 2010 to the 2008 level of spending.
2. Every year after 2010, reduce spending by 5% (even entitlements) until the budget is balanced.
3. Once the budget is balanced, freeze the budget at that level using all excess dollars to go to paying off the national debt. Even at $11 trillion, a 30 year monthly mortgage type payment plan will be less than $400 billion a year.
4. Outlaw all earmarks and pork-barrel spending. If the government bureaucracy is not competent enough to prioritize annual spending on effective projects, fire them en mass and get those who will.
5. Once the Medicare Trust fund is empty, adjust the Medicare tax each year at a rate that will fund the annual Medicare budget with a moratorum on any new benefits. (This should not be done before the trust fund is empty since the government needs to give back the money they took all these years)
6. Do the same for Social Security as with Medicare.

Problem Solved

Posted by: dscott | Sep 25, 2009 2:01:05 PM

Codify the Timmy G standard: Taxes are due when you apply for public office, no penalty, no interest.

Posted by: Jon Burrows | Sep 25, 2009 1:44:02 PM

Why do they want our input? They are not going to listen to us anyway. Poor attempt at making us feel good.This proves that they have no skills for leadership when they are asking us what to do?

Posted by: 3DOGMAN | Sep 25, 2009 1:25:18 PM

end withholding taxes. Make people cut a check every two weeks to the government for their tax bill. that would cause a revolution against taxes the likes of which has never been seen.

Posted by: Real American | Sep 25, 2009 1:06:44 PM

How about letting us keep more of our own money, so we can buy our own health care? Naaa, too radical.

How about letting us keep more of our own money so we can trade in our own clunkers for new cars. Naaa, too radical again.

How about letting us determine for ourselves how seriously we react to global warming/global cooling and how to allocate our resources? Naa, way too radical.

How about taking all of our money, and giving us back only what you think we need. Yeah, that one they would listen to.

Posted by: Georg Felis | Sep 25, 2009 12:57:55 PM

Great ideas, everyone, whether funny or serious. Sadly, my first thought is a question: Will Valerie Jarrett have access to these emails?

And if so, what will stop her and the White House Red Guards from sorting them to get two key lists: A. those she can trust in conference calls to continue The Great Leap Forward, and B. those who must be strapped down in front of a TV to be shown unending hours of Obamao's erudition until they repent and obey.

Posted by: Carol | Sep 25, 2009 12:57:54 PM

Kill all the lawyers. No, seriously. Start with atty/politicians.

Posted by: dr kill | Sep 25, 2009 12:43:21 PM

I think Democrat congress-critters should have to pay taxes.

Posted by: Fen | Sep 25, 2009 12:28:35 PM

The really stupid thing is the constraint "They were instructed not to consider options that involve raising taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year".

Anything that simplifies taxes is going to raise taxes on some, and lower taxes on others. Unless what they mean by tax simplification is "Send anything you make over $250,000 to the government."

Posted by: John Hansen | Sep 25, 2009 12:10:48 PM

very simple, eliminate the remiander of the unpsent Recovery Act funds...

Posted by: jimf | Sep 25, 2009 12:07:51 PM

Since tax evasion is one of the major causes of shortfalls in revenue and enforcement one of the major expenses in collection, the government could do it self a large favor by not appointing tax cheats to office where they become role-models for the rest of us

Posted by: Mercutio | Sep 25, 2009 12:04:18 PM

Easy. Pass a law that says every elected official, local, state and federal and every appointee must prepare their own taxes AND pass an IRS audit for every year they serve.

The problems will fix themselves.


Posted by: Katherine | Sep 25, 2009 12:02:24 PM

Woody, I like your first idea...he would save us a lot of money [and our capitalist system] by resigning. I'm not worried about bozo Biden taking over. That fool couldn't pass anything.

Posted by: Michael B | Sep 25, 2009 11:56:05 AM

Who wants their email to be on yet another White House enemies list?

Posted by: ArandomPerson | Sep 25, 2009 11:49:05 AM

Flat tax on all personal income, including investments, all at the same rate. One flat-rate "cost of living" deduction (some percentage of the poverty line, for instance - 150%, maybe) for each person (adult or child) included on the tax return.

Corporate tax? Um, why? Any profits the corporation makes will be taxed as personal income when the profits are passed to the stock-holders. No funny numbers, no books to cook. Tax the profits as standard income WHEN THEY BECOME someone's income.


Majorly simplified, MUCH MUCH MUCH easier to enforce (nowhere to hide the money), still "regressive", and not likely to increase taxes for a large number of people making less than $250,000 a year.

Posted by: Deoxy | Sep 25, 2009 11:44:55 AM

Here are a bunch of well-described ideas.

Among them :

2) Tax Simplification : Saves $400B a year.
3) Tax Exemption for entrepreneurial innovators.
5) Reform divorce laws to have a far less leftist, disincentivizing flavor. This is shadowy and cruel form of socialism that has crept into America without the public having any say.

Posted by: GK | Sep 25, 2009 11:35:02 AM

Here's a wacky idea - why not start with the removal of Charlie Rangel from the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and then take it from there?


Posted by: Cnation | Sep 25, 2009 11:33:07 AM

He could resign. That would probably save us all a lot of money in the long run.


Hmm.. No, that would leave Joe Biden as president. Sorry, I got nothin'.

Posted by: Swen Swenson | Sep 25, 2009 11:24:42 AM

Hmmm. Nah, I can't think of anything. It's all good.

Posted by: Woody | Sep 25, 2009 9:47:56 AM