NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Tax Cuts, Yes -- But Don't Forget Reform

February 7, 2001

A former commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service says that now is the perfect time to undertake a major overhaul of the nation's tax structure. Mortimer Caplin, who served under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, calls the present "a rare political moment" to make taxes lower, simpler and fairer.

Here are his suggestions:

  • Eliminate the bulk of special preferences -- thereby broadening the tax base.
  • Focus on tax return simplification --eliminating all complexities within reasonable revenue costs.
  • Restore a straightforward rate structure -- minimizing the hidden tax increases imposed by "floors," "phase-outs," "claw-backs" and the like.
  • Repeal the alternative minimum tax for individuals as well as corporations -- offsetting the tax-base enlargement.

Finally, Caplin would lower all graduated rates across the board.

Source: Mortimer Caplin, "Now Is the Time to Reform the Tax Code," Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2001.

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