WaPo INTERACTIVE: Make Mitt Romney’s tax plan add up!
The last time the tax code got a deep clean was 1986. Since then, it’s been clogged back up with deductions, credits, and loopholes that have made tax time a burden for individuals and tax decisions distortive for businesses. Eliminating many of these special carve-outs would pay for a reduction in tax rates, deficit reduction, or perhaps even both.
But the minute one moves from that vague goal of making the tax code simpler into the knotty questions of what provisions of the tax code ought to be eliminated, the broad consensus breaks down. Should the next president limit the mortgage-interest deduction, and if so, by how much? Should he end the charitable deduction? What about the tax-free status of employer-provided health benefits?
The reason for trying to fill Romney’s tax plan—as opposed to Obama’s second-term plan—is that you can try filling the shortfall with a mix of tax cuts and tax increases of various types. It explores the different party approaches and their feasibility for the current budget (setting aside the longer-term impact). WaPo and Ezra Klein offers three generalized packages but also the ability to select options in each category.
If only ballots included stuff like this, just for measuring support.