PD Editorial: GOP even says 'no' to one of its own

  • House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, following a Republican caucus. When asked about House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and his plan to release a rewrite of the nation’s tax code later today, Boehner distanced himself from the details and wouldn't promise a House vote on the plan this year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The party of no.

The nickname is practically synonymous with the GOP after Republicans in Washington have rejected practically every Obama administration proposal while offering few alternatives of their own.

They've got a golden opportunity to refute that pejorative moniker, but party leaders are instead turning their backs on a credible tax reform plan crafted by the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Asked about the proposal, House Speaker John Boehner proclaimed: "Blah, blah, blah, blah." His Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell, said there's no hope for passing tax reform this year. "I don't see how we can," he said.

Yet another no. Yet another missed opportunity.

Is there anything more frustrating than trying to decipher income tax returns? Americans collectively spend six billion hours a year on tax forms, and we spend upward of $165 billion on software and expert help with tax filings.

The plan unveiled a week ago by Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, whose committee is responsible for tax policy, would make collections more efficient and the code less perplexing.

His plan collapses the present seven personal income tax brackets to two, plus a 10 percent surcharge on incomes of more than $450,000. It substantially increases the standard deduction, eliminates scores of loopholes and lowers the corporate rate to 25 percent from 35 percent.

There's a lot to like about Camp's plan. There's also plenty of room for debate — if our elected leaders were so inclined.

Camp's proposal is revenue-neutral, according to an assessment by the Congressional Budget Office, so it would have no immediate impact on the deficit. Should those at the top of the income scale sacrifice more?

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