Monday, December 17, 2012
New York Times: Tax Plan Is Popular, but Not Quite Fair, by James B. Stewart:
Mr. Romney’s proposal to limit itemized deductions to a fixed dollar
amount, which surfaced during the campaign as a way to close loopholes
for the wealthy and broaden the tax base, has attracted a surprising
amount of bipartisan support, given its origins in conservative
Republican circles. ...
The political appeal of a proposal that limits deductions without
actually naming any — inciting the powerful interests and lobbyists that
support them — seems obvious. But many tax experts said that a fixed
dollar cap is anything but the evenhanded approach to closing loopholes
it appears to be.
Moreover, without addressing larger tax preferences, like a lower rate
on capital gains, it does almost nothing to cure the so-called Buffett
problem, in which Warren Buffett’s secretary pays a higher effective
rate than her billionaire boss. It doesn’t even raise much revenue.
Some tax experts have gone so far as to say it’s a conservative Trojan
horse, a stealth tactic that protects the very wealthy while targeting
Democrats who itemize deductions and live disproportionately in high-tax
states like New York and California. It would also affect donors who
support elite colleges, universities, museums — even experimental
theater — which are perceived as havens for liberals.