A Response to Schumer on Taxes

From Congresstracker and Bloomberg BNA’s Brett Ferguson.

You saw what the No. 3 Senate Democrat had to say about tax reform. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says it has laid out the case for how income tax rates could come down and the deficit could be reduced at the same time.

The bipartisan nonprofit group said several estimates produced since 2005 have shown that it is possible curb the deficit through a combination of cutting tax rates and eliminating tax expenditures, though the political willpower to enact the necessary changes may be lacking.

“From a review of the past studies and budget proposals, it is certainly possible to reform the tax code to lower tax rates and the deficit,” the
organization wrote. “Even though it is technically very feasible, there is no guarantee that we will make the tough choices needed to make these kinds of reforms a reality.”

In a speech this week, New York’s Charles Schumer argued that the notion of getting both a cut in tax rates and a reduction in the deficit is a “trap” and urged Americans not to fall for it. Any tax reform plan needs to focus on reducing the deficit and protecting the middle class, rather than cutting  the top tax rates, he said.

The group said that its review of studies by other organizations found that a 2005 Treasury Department estimate prepared for the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform and President Barack Obama’s 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform showed it would be possible to cut the top tax rate to 23 percent and still save money for deficit reduction — as long as all tax spending is eliminated.

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