The Corner

Politics & Policy

Improving Tax Reform

Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute mixes and matches from the House and Senate bills and makes a few tweaks. The result is a plan that is better than either the House or the Senate bill but within the realm of the politically possible.

Riedl’s proposal eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax and the estate tax, cuts the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, increases the standard deduction, doubles the value of the tax credit for children–and still hits the revenue targets that the House and Senate have set.

His work demonstrates the falsity of a claim that some congressional Republicans are making: that it’s not possible to provide tax relief tied to parents while also hitting the budget targets and providing business tax cuts.

The alleged constraints of the budget are the explanation given for why the existing bills provide so little tax relief tied to parents. The Senate bill would provide a family making $60,000 an additional $42.50 in tax relief for each child compared to the status quo. That’s because the family would gain $650 in tax credits but lose exemptions worth $607 for each child. That’s better than the House bill: Its trade-off–the family would gain a $600 credit and lose $607 in the value of exemptions–would leave households slightly worse off, compared to the status quo, for each child. (While this family would get tax relief from other provisions of both bills, the headline expansion of the child credit would be meaningless, and the parent penalty in existing federal policy would stay in place.) As Riedl shows, Republicans could do better if they wanted to.

 

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Elections

An Election Too Important to Be Left to Voters

The Democrats believe that the 2020 election is too important to be left to the voters. It’s obvious that President Donald Trump withheld defense aid to Ukraine to pressure its president to commit to the investigations that he wanted, an improper use of his power that should rightly be the focus of ... Read More
Elections

An Election Too Important to Be Left to Voters

The Democrats believe that the 2020 election is too important to be left to the voters. It’s obvious that President Donald Trump withheld defense aid to Ukraine to pressure its president to commit to the investigations that he wanted, an improper use of his power that should rightly be the focus of ... Read More
Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Film & TV

A Feeble Fox News Attack at the Movies

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Oscar-winning talents to rip the lid off the scandal at NBC News, whose bosses still have suffered no repercussions for their part in the Harvey Weinstein matter and other sleazy deeds — but at least Hollywood has finally let us know how they feel about Fox News ... Read More
Film & TV

A Feeble Fox News Attack at the Movies

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Oscar-winning talents to rip the lid off the scandal at NBC News, whose bosses still have suffered no repercussions for their part in the Harvey Weinstein matter and other sleazy deeds — but at least Hollywood has finally let us know how they feel about Fox News ... Read More