Kevin – I’m basically on the same page. My attitude toward tax increases is a bit like the argument over illegal immgration. But instead of securing the border first, I’m for cutting spending first. Then, we can talk about increasing taxes. And, barring that, I’m for switching metaphors to nuclear launch procedures. Both keys have to be turned at once. Maybe this deficit commission can do something like that, though I’m skeptical.
I think the one way to cut the gordian knot, at least partially, is tax simplification. The amount of time and energy taxpayers (both individuals and businesses) spend worrying about and preparing their taxes is itself a tax. Only the hours wasted on tax prep amounts to lost wealth/productivity for both the economy and the governent. If the tax code were sufficiently simplified and streamlined, I could stomach somewhat larger tax rates in the bargain. Of course, what kind of taxation we’re talking about is still a vital consideration. Not all taxes are equal.