Magazine May 1, 2017, Issue

The Case for Tax Reform

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady (R., Texas) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Cutting rates isn’t enough

The Republican party gained control of the federal government in the 2016 election, with tax reform as one of its central policy issues. Now elected Republicans have a choice: Will they be mere tax cutters, or will they be tax reformers?

The distinction is important. A tax cut retains the framework of the current tax system but lowers rates. A tax reform is a bolder, more comprehensive change to the structure of taxes. Tax reform addresses the question of what we should tax, not just the question of how much we should tax it.

So far, congressional Republican leaders are seeking tax

Alan Cole — Mr. Cole is an MBA candidate at the Wharton School and a former economist at the Tax Foundation.

In This Issue



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