The Tax Reform Chasm Widens

This article originally appeared in the George W. Bush Institute. Click here to read the full article.

By Ike Brannon

If the cliché is true that D.C. is simply high school writ large, then the annual dinner of the Tax Foundation is its party for nerds who can’t get dates to the prom. Every November the wonkiest of the tax wonks don rented tuxedos and gowns to celebrate their own over cocktails and gossip about the latest developments in depreciation schedules.

Most years the party is a fun one — tax geeks (I count myself among their number) seem to take an even greater pleasure from an open bar than most people, in my experience. However, this year’s event was an uncharacteristically somber affair, largely owing to the release of the Senate Finance Committee’s draft document on international business tax reform by Senator Max Baucus earlier in the day.

Even with only a few hours to digest the report, everyone attending the shindig realized that for a tax reform effort already on life support, this proposal amounted to a pillow placed over its gasping face. The report laid out a number of proposed changes to the tax code that would, if enacted, dramatically increase the burden on companies that do business abroad and raise substantial revenues for the Treasury. Neither of these outcomes even remotely comports with what Republicans want out of tax reform, which is first and foremost to make U.S. businesses more competitive.