In his State of the Union address on Tuesdaynight, President Obama highlighted a welcome initiative to reform our corporate tax system. The President rightly noted that the system is a barrier standing in the way of economic success. Indeed.
But what about personal income taxes?
Any worker or sole proprietor would agree that the way we tax people in the U.S. is as inefficient and complicated as our system of corporate taxation. And beyond being inefficient and costly, it's equally fraught with loopholes, credits, exemptions, and the now notorious multiple definitions of a child. The President did offer to "join" members of Congress should they make the effort to simplify the tax code — while restating his call for higher rates on top earners.
But why no leadership on comprehensive income tax reform?
Those of us who advocate for wholesale income tax reform understand the quixotic nature of the fight. Our federal individual income tax system is so chock full of special beneficiaries that any action aligns an array of constituencies far too politically sympathetic to defeat.