NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 17, 2004

The U.S. tax code -- which is outdated, overly complex and exceedingly resistant to reform -- should be simplified, says former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas).

Indeed, the tax code is so complicated and expansive that it now touches nearly every aspect of our lives. Americans can no longer make a decision in family or in business based simply upon family or financial criteria; the tax impact is often a major factor as well, says Armey:

  • The tax code now exceeds a staggering 60,000 pages, prompting Americans to waste 6.2 billion hours just completing their returns every year.
  • Deciphering it costs the country $203.4 billion a year, according to the Tax Foundation.
  • Its complexities generate additional job-killing distortions throughout our economy.

Congress must address the code's outrageous waste and complexity. Yet fundamental tax reform has been on the GOP agenda since 1994, and despite the passage of two major tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, the tax code has gotten more complex. It is now so irredeemably complicated that even the process of cutting taxes results in ever more complexity. That's why it is time to completely scrap the code and replace it with a system that is simple, fair, honest -- and flat, explains Armey.

A flat tax has a single, low rate that treats all Americans fairly and has no deductions or special-interest loopholes. The flat tax is clear, honest and easily understood, and passing a flat tax would liberate taxpayers and jump-start the economy, says Armey.

Source: Dick Armey, "Scrap the tax code," USA Today, November 17, 2004.


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