The irrelevance of tax reform

The Gov needs money. I’m as entertained as anyone else by speculations about how to improve the tax code. It certainly could be improved. But there is a much simpler way to increase collections — enforce the tax code we already have. About one in six dollars owed is not paid on time, or ever.  The solution is simple: give the over-burdened Internal Revenue Service more money. I wrote about this some years ago, but now as my twin brother The Dude says, new shit has come to light: a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Jared Bernstein elaborates here in the Washington Post, and the New York Times editorial page takes note.

One of my pet peeves is that in budget score-keeping, which is the process of estimating the impact of new legislation on the Federal budget deficit, extra spending on the IRS counts as an addition to the deficit, whereas there is little doubt that more money for enforcement would bring in more revenue and reduce the deficit. I brought this up with a couple of score-keepers once, and they said such estimation was too difficult to do for technical reasons. I don’t believe it.


Why we suck

This chart from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia depicts one of our central economic dilemmas. The most recent jobs report was perhaps the best yet since the start of the Great Recession, in 2007. Economic growth is real, but it proceeds on … Continue reading