Goal: To reduce income inequality and strengthen the safety net.

Rationale: As the White house notes, “The tax code has become increasingly complicated and unfair. Under today’s tax laws, those who can afford expert advice can avoid paying their fair share and interests with the most connected lobbyists can get exemptions and special treatment written into our tax code…because our corporate tax system is so riddled with special interest loopholes, our system has one of the highest statutory tax rates among developed countries to generate about the same amount of corporate tax revenue as our developed country partners as a share of our economy; this, in turn, hurts our competitiveness in the world economy. The President has offered a detailed set of tax loophole closers and measures to broaden the tax base. These measures include: cutting tax preferences for high-income households; eliminating special tax breaks for oil and gas companies; closing the carried interest loophole for investment fund managers; and eliminating benefits for those who buy corporate jets. Tax reform should draw on these items, together with the elimination of additional inefficient tax breaks, to finance the reduction of marginal rates and meet the President’s other tax principles, including the Buffett Rule.

Policy Initiatives:

Adopt the President’s principles: Lower tax rates. The tax system should be simplified and work for all Americans with lower individual and corporate tax rates and fewer brackets. Cut carbon and tax rates: Revenue generated from proposed carbon taxes, like the EEI-supported Waxman-Whitehouse proposal, should be used to lower corporate and personal tax rates. This solution would represent a win for the environment and the economy. Cut inefficient and unfair tax breaks. Cut tax breaks that are inefficient, unfair, or both so that the American people and businesses spend less time and less money each year filing taxes and cannot avoid their responsibility by gaming the system. Cut the deficit. Cut the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade through tax reform, including the expiration of tax cuts for single taxpayers making over $200,000 and married couples making over $250,000 Increase job creation and growth in the United States Make America stronger at home and more competitive globally by increasing the incentive to work and invest in the United States. Observe the Buffett Rule. As multi-billionaire Warren Buffet has pointed out, his average tax rate is lower than his secretary’s. No household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of their total income in taxes than middle-class families. This rule will be achieved as part of overall reform that increases the progressivity of the tax code.

The Supreme Court’s errant decision in the Citizen’s United Case has exacerbated the pervasive and corrosive influence of money driven politics. The decision should be overturned and an equitable system of public financing of all federal elections should be set.

Reform and strengthen the social safety net: The Affordable care Act was the first step in addressing the nation’s health care crisis. All Americans must have access to affordable, portable, high quality basic health care. The current reform fails to adequately control the cost of health insurance. Health Care reform should be strengthened by the inclusion of the “public option” and/or Medicare made available to all On a buy-in basis with a regulated and robust private insurance market maintained for coverage for additional health care needs beyond a nationally mandated basic package. Social Security should be strengthened by common sense adjustments which share widely any additional costs while maintaining benefits. Medicare and Medicaid will benefit from additional changes to Health care reform and aggressive efforts to root out fraud, waste and abuse.

Economic Innovation Institute and Action Fund , 2012.
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