Tax Reform and Legislation

Business CEOs want tax reform.  They’re right, even though to an extent their wish is self-serving.  Or because of that—Adam Smith’s invisible hand, and all that, where every economic actor seeing to his own self interest aggregates to the benefit of all the actors, including those not party to a particular arrangement among particular actors.

Which brings me to a (not very) tangential point regarding a remark by Business Roundtable President & CEO Joshua Bolten regarding target tax rates:

15% would be terrific….  But it doesn’t have to end up at 15% for Business Roundtable companies to be happy about it.

To which Suzanne O’Halloran, the Reuters author of the piece at the link added

It just needs to get done.

The point is this: it doesn’t have to “get done;” tax reform legislation doesn’t have to get to 15% (or my 0%) in one fell swoop.  Reduce the rates significantly today, taking what’s actually politically possible given the timidity of so many of our politicians and how deeply so many are in with special interests wanting this or that subsidy or credit or loophole.  Come back tomorrow and get more.  And the next day, until the goal is reached.

No piece of tax legislation need be taken as the final word; it’s all interim compromise that moves the ball toward the goal.

This principle applies to health care reform and to health care coverage plan reform, too, as it does to all legislation, but especially legislation that seeks to implement large changes or to modify large sectors of our economy.

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