Editorial

Hard work undone by election year politics

Departure of Sen. Baucus as Senate Finance Committee chairman sets back comprehensive tax reform

Feb 23, 2014 @ 12:01 am

The departure of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as Senate Finance Committee chairman has set back efforts to achieve comprehensive tax reform.

His replacement, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has declared that there won't be any major tax changes for individuals or businesses this year.

This is a significant setback for the economic recovery. Many economists think that a simplified tax code for both individuals and businesses could greatly improve economic efficiency, and if done soon could help stimulate faster growth.

BIPARTISAN EFFORT

Mr. Baucus, confirmed this month as ambassador to China, had been working with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., on comprehensive tax reform, and Mr. Wyden could have picked up the work that Mr. Baucus has done, but he chose not to.

Mr. Baucus and Mr. Camp have done much of the heavy lifting, and Mr. Wyden should have stepped up and pushed forward in what looks to be a light legislative year. Many in the House support comprehensive tax reform, as do many in the Senate.

To be sure, there is still a lot of hard work to be done, but it is work that shouldn't take a back seat to politics.

TAX REFORM DELAYED

But unfortunately, to Mr. Wyden, election year politics apparently are more important than improving the efficiency of the economy and creating jobs. Pushing tax reform would require the elimination of many, if not most, tax loopholes and deductions, and that might endanger the financial support from industry for many of his Senate and House colleagues.

Most likely, Mr. Wyden will wait another year until this year's elections are safely out of the way before beginning to work on revisions.

Meanwhile the economy must struggle along with an incomprehensible, dysfunctional tax code that distorts economic activity and burdens all taxpayers.

At least accountants and tax advisers can cheer.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video

Gadget Girl

Orion's Clarke: Why integration is paramount for RIAs right now

Orion has tapped into a huge demand for customizable, integrated solutions that let advisers spend more time building their business. Hear from Eric Clarke and two of Orion's integrated partners to get their thoughts.

Latest news & opinion

Meet our 2017 Women to Watch

Introducing 20 female financial advisers and industry executives who are distinguished leaders, advancing the business of providing advice through their creativity and hard work.

Raymond James executives call on industry to keep broker protocol

Also ask firms to pay for the administration of the protocol to 'ensure its longevity and relevance.'

Senate committee approves tax plan but full passage not assured

Several Republican senators expressed reservations about the bill, and the GOP cannot afford too many defections.

House passes tax bill, focus turns to Senate

Tax reform legislation expected to have more of a challenge in upper chamber.

SEC enforcement of advisers drops in Trump era

The agency pursued 82 cases against advisers and firms in fiscal year 2017, down from 98 the previous year.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print