The Top Secret Tax Debate in the US Senate

Aaron Flint posted on August 14, 2013 09:32 :: 700 Views

National Review’s Kevin Williamson tells it like it is as he comments on the “top-secret tax-reform debate.”  Williamson picks up on a Los Angeles Times piece noting how Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) is starting from scratch when it comes to tax reform efforts.  He wants Senators to defend the tax proposals they want left in the bill.  However, he intends to keep their positions a secret.  

From National Review:  

Let that sink in: a 50-year, top-secret restriction on tax-reform proposals. Not reports on the whereabouts of al-Qaeda goons, not strategy documents for countering a Chi-Com invasion in the Pacific, but some senator’s thoughts on whether you should be able to deduct your mortgage interest.

We flatter ourselves that we are the leader of the free world, but we cannot even conduct a debate about tax-code reform in public. And that should be no surprise: We cannot collect taxes honestly, either.

From The Los Angeles Times:

On the Senate side, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) asked colleagues in both parties to submit recommendations on which tax preferences should be preserved, starting from a “blank slate” where all current benefits are eliminated. To provide senators political cover and deniability, the committee put all recommendations under a 50-year top-secret classification, and restricted access to them to just 10 staff members.


Baucus Kneecapped by Reid on Tax Reform

The national news media is abuzz over the rebuff of Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) tax reform efforts by none other than Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).  Bloomberg News reports that Reid will not bring tax reform to the floor unless it increases revenues by $1 trillion.  Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal notes Reid’s direct shot at Baucus, adding that Reid’s remarks “kneecap” Senator Baucus and his bipartisan efforts with Michigan Republican Congressman Dave Camp. Top Democrats Demand Tax Increase in Challenge for Baucus

As the Senate Finance Committee chairman tries to build a bipartisan coalition for rewriting the U.S. tax code, he’s being pressured by fellow Democrats to include almost $1 trillion in new revenue and by Republicans to resist.

John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, said the comments by Reid and Schumer emphasize the divide between them and Baucus. Any attempt to insist on tax increases will doom plans to rewrite the code, Cornyn said.

“That kills it,” he said. “We’re not going to do that.”

Wall Street Journal editorial- Reid to Tax Reform: Drop Dead

This kneecaps the effort by Mr. Reid’s fellow Democrat and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, who has been working in good faith with House Republican Dave Camp to pass a revenue-neutral tax reform. That’s the spirit in which tax reform passed in 1986, but orders have come down from the Obama White House that this won’t do.

Mr. Reid even dumped all over Mr. Baucus’s recent dear-colleague request for new tax priorities. “I’m not going to be involved in this. I’m not on the committee, I’m not going to do it. I’m not even going to consider it. I frankly haven’t read the letter, don’t intend to,” Mr. Reid declared. That’s what’s so lovable about Harry: his subtlety.

Baucus Kneecapped by Reid on Tax Reform

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