Have Domenici and Rivlin Been Reading My Notes?!

Their proposed deficit/debt reduction plan is here. They’re chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Deficit Reduction Task Force.

Here are the notes I jotted down this morning for a planned “If I Were Dictator” post. I was planning on adding, explaining, changing, organizing, etc., but I’m simply pasting them here, unedited and unsorted.

Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction.

Eliminate payroll taxes and combine the trust funds into the general government balance sheet.

Eliminate the business health-care deduction.

Tax all types of income (earned and unearned) at equal levels, with the following rate structure.

Institute a consumption tax with a high-floor exclusion (no tax on consumption below, say, $40,000 for a married couple filing jointly), and a progressive increase above that.

Tax all corporate profits as if they were S-Corps — each shareholder pays their share.

Convert state and local property taxes to land-value taxes. Stop taxing improvements.

Greatly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (both eligibility and amount), but move it to the expense side of the accounting ledger and expand use of the option to have it delivered with regular paychecks.

Definitely not identical — especially on timing — but huge overlaps. I would call this uncanny if so much of it wasn’t obvious to everyone (who’s not self-deluded).

I’m witholding full judgment until I see it scored — especially as to its overall effects on progressivity. And I really don’t know what to think about their Medicare proposals yet, which are obviously a huge part of the pie. But still, it’s the first really encouraging and comprehensive proposal I’ve seen. Is it even vaguely possible that the American political system could do something this broad and well-coordinated without chewing it up and spitting it out again as half-masticated sausage?

Shakowsky’s plan, by contrast, is both politically impossible and — this coming from me, a wild-eyed liberal — profoundly wrong-headed in several respects.

Based on very cursory reads, I can say that Domenici-Rivlin makes Simpson-Bowles look like exactly what it is: a grab for the rich rooted in the decades-long conservative reality denial.

True conservatives — and most progressives — should like most of the ideas they find in this plan. They’re their ideas.



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One response to “Have Domenici and Rivlin Been Reading My Notes?!”

  1. Chris T Avatar
    Chris T

    You know that any plan that doesn’t allow partisan demagogueing isn’t going to be put before congress.