Oh boy, tax reform is back. Reform. How can one dislike the concept? That has to be good, right? Both political parties are talking about, almost drooling over, it. Merriman-Webster’s Dictionary defines reform as “amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt, or depraved”. Therefore, the term tax reform assumes the current system is indeed in such a state. Is this what our Congress has given us?
The fundamental question to ask when discussing tax reform is what is the purpose of imposing taxes in the first place. Is it to raise revenue to fund essential and necessary functions of the government? Is it to redistribute wealth from the have enoughs-to-the have-not-enoughs? Is it to encourage or punish specific conduct by it citizens? Is fairness a criterion, however it is defined? Is there a limit to the amount a person should have to pay? What about those who pay no income tax at all which could be an uber-rich person or an impecunious hobo. What about an efficient and simple system?