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The House Conservatives’ Tax Plan


Robert Novak is enthusiastic about the plan that Reps. Paul Ryan, John Campbell, and Jeb Hensarling have come up with.

It has good elements. I think the Alternative Minimum Tax should be done away with, and that it makes sense to do away with it as part of a broader tax reform that makes the tax code simpler and more pro-growth. Giving taxpayers a choice of whether to file under the old tax system or the new reformed one also makes sense.

But I would prefer that the tax cut be coupled with spending cuts, and I’m not sure, in the present political environment, it makes sense to promote a tax cut without such spending cuts. The reformed system that the conservatives put in place also needs some work. That system raises taxes on child-rearing, replacing the current tax credit with a measly $350 benefit for low-income and middle-income workers.

The big winners under this plan are childless affluent couples living in high-tax states. As written, that is, it’s a great tax cut for the blue states. But it could be modified to address this concern.


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