The Corner

Tax Reform

I’d been hearing, even before the election, that the administration was looking at getting rid of the deduction for state and local taxes as part of its tax-reform package. I’m all for the policy: Why should low-tax states subsidize high-tax ones? Why should the federal government encourage states to have high taxes? But didn’t tax reformers get their heads handed to them over this precise issue in 1985-86? Of course, there were more New York Republicans then to worry about.

The administration is also apparently looking at taxing employer-provided health insurance. Again, a good policy: that tax break has done a lot of damage to health-care markets over the years. And anyone who wants to get rid of the alternative minimum tax without swelling the deficit has to look at taxing health insurance: It’s one of the few tax breaks that can generate the necessary funds. But again, there are obvious political risks here.

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.


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