Comments on Assessing the Bush Administration's Tax Agenda
Fordham University School of Law
Boston College Law Review, Vol. 45, 2004
This article, written as part of a symposium on "The State of the Federal Income Tax: Rates, Progressivity, and Budget Processes," discusses the legal issues raised by data presented by economists Drs. William Gale and Peter Orszag. It proposes the adoption of pay-go procedural rules for tax lawmaking that favor tax cuts that decrease income inequality, in response to biases in distributional tables and distortions in the political process. It suggests that the failure to use present value analysis in the budget process has had unfortunate, unintended consequences for progressivity, in particular, in encouraging a Congressional preference for a prepaid consumption tax. It argues that efforts to index the AMT should not deflect attention from the AMT's most fundamental distributional problem - its failure to treat dividends and capital gains as preference items. It considers possible institutional advantages in global sunsets of important tax legislation, even when the legislation is not intended to expire.
In addition, this article considers the intersection of budget processes and progressivity in the tax expenditure budget. It argues that the Administration's recent changes in the treatment of the corporate tax and its incomplete analysis of comprehensive tax bases, undermine the usefulness of the tax expenditure budget, and have made tax expenditures suddenly appear more progressive, even though they are not. This part of the article was previously published as What is Happening to the Tax Expenditure Budget? 104 TAX NOTES 763 (2004).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Date posted: October 25, 2004