The polls say voters want more bipartisanship, and one possibility in
2013 is tax reform that trades lower rates for fewer loopholes. Well,
so much for that. The man who wants to be the next leader of the Senate
Democrats has declared that this "old-style of tax reform is obsolete."
The antireformer is Chuck Schumer, the Senator from Wall Street, er,
New York, who averred at the National Press Club last week that his
party will have nothing to do with tax reform of the kind that Ronald
Reagan negotiated with Democrats in 1986, or that the Simpson-Bowles
deficit commission proposed in 2010, or that the Gang of Six Senators
have been working on. It's Chuck's way or no way. ...
Mr. Schumer says the only way to reform is to broaden the tax base and raise tax rates. If you're wondering how this differs from a plain vanilla tax increase, good question. ... Mr. Schumer's real agenda is betrayed by his other reason for
opposing tax reform—income inequality. The affluent simply make too much
money, so they must have more of it taken away and redistributed by . .
. Mr. Schumer. ...
Mr. Schumer's speech is best understood as a political marker no matter
who wins re-election. If Mitt Romney wins, Mr. Schumer will browbeat any
Democrat who even thinks about supporting a Simpson-Bowles-Reagan-style
reform. If President Obama wins, the Senator will fight the kind of tax
deal that House Speaker John Boehner has said he wants as part of a
grand budget compromise. Who's the real partisan obstructionist?