Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

With tax reform, a little secrecy isn’t bad

By
From page A14 | April 14, 2013 |

The issue: The most difficult and delicate compromises likely will have to be worked out behind closed doors

Major tax reform is brought forward as a desirable goal in every Congress, but it’s so difficult it has been accomplished only twice, in 1954 and 1986.

NOW, A SELECT group of lawmakers is quietly working to try again — with the goal of having a complete bill to present to both houses by August. Whether that bill succeeds depends on President Barack Obama’s ability to strike a deal with top Republicans.

But at the subterranean levels where Congress can get real work done — the subcommittees and informal gatherings of political opposites — things are beginning to stir.

Getting to actual, doable legislation in a Congress as polarized as this one is uphill work, but several developments augur well:

First, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, his party’s ranking member, are, in the words of The Washington Post, “in complete agreement” on the need to produce a tax-reform bill in late summer “when Congress will again need a face-saving bill to justify raising the legal limit on the $16.8 trillion debt ceiling.”

If there is one bipartisan agreement in Congress, it is that the lawmakers don’t want to go through the embarrassment of another debt-ceiling battle. The last one spawned an ill-conceived offspring: the $85 billion budget sequester. Its negative effects, in the form of curtailed public services, are beginning to register with the general public.

SECOND, BAUCUS seems able to work closely with his House Republican counterpart, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan. The two co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece last week in which they disclosed they had been quietly working the past two years on a path to make the 5,600-page, 4 million-word tax code simpler, fairer and more conducive to economic growth.

Third, while the two men promised to write the reform in “an open and transparent fashion,” it’s likely to get written in private — as most difficult legislation does. And that’s a good thing.

A tax bill drafted completely in pubic is a bill that likely will never be passed. The drafting will attract swarms of lobbyists who, unlike their 1986 counterparts, need only step outside the committee room to set in motion pre-packaged protests with a flick of their cellphones. A bill that attempts to please everyone — an inevitable consequence of allowing everyone in the room — in the end pleases no one.

THE CONSENSUS of many in Congress was summed up by this headline in the watchdog newspaper The Hill: “Lawmakers: Secrecy will be needed for tax reform.” It means that in a tradition as old as Congress, the most difficult and delicate compromises will have to be worked out behind closed doors.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

     
    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

     
    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8