Monday, February 6, 2012
Neil H. Buchanan (George Washington), Is It Possible to Have a Productive Discussion About Taxes?:
I have done a lot of writing about taxes, and especially about distributive justice, over the years. One of the most frustrating aspects of the never-ending tax debates is the profound level of dishonesty among far too many commentators, who are willing to use any statistical trick or framing device to score cheap points. In that context, one might reasonably think: "If only there could be an honest debate among people of good faith, we could at least find the areas of genuine agreement and disagreement. Then, maybe we could find a decent compromise."
That very Obaman attitude has the most honorable roots, and one hopes that it will someday be possible to have such a discussion. (I am not, of course, holding my breath.) I am now, however, beginning to despair, suspecting that even that lofty discussion could lead nowhere. In the latter part of my new Verdict column, "The Buffett Rule Is an Imperfect Form of Tax Justice, but an Important Step in the Right Direction," I begin to confront the sources of that despair.