The issue foremost on Americans' minds this week was taxes. Each year, tax day serves as a harsh reminder of our broken tax code and the punitive nature of our tax system. In fact, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study recently found that Americans spend $107 billion a year just to make sure they are in compliance with the tax code and IRS rules. The process of filling out tax returns is simply too complicated and acts as a tax in its own right. What's worse, the tax code as a whole is unpredictable and uncertain because so many elements of it expire on a regular basis. This makes it extremely difficult for families and businesses to budget for the years ahead because they don't know whether a certain tax credit or deduction will be available or if tax rates are going to go up, down or stay the same from one year to the next. This simply isn't fair to taxpayers, and it has a significant impact on economic growth if families and businesses feel uncertain about what they will owe Uncle Sam this year and how much of their income they will have leftover to put back into the economy.
A show vote on the so-called "Buffett Rule" did little to ease Americans' frustrations as they completed their returns this week. If anything, it only made Americans more cynical about their government and their future. I think what Americans want is a tax code that is fair, simple, and minimizes the burden on our economic growth. I believe tax reform that simplifies our tax code would make our income tax system more transparent, because a tax code that is simple is very hard to game. Also, by eliminating the holes in our tax code, we would be able to lower rates for everybody, easing the burden on families, small business and our economy. Politicians need to stop throwing up distractions that only serve to politicize our tax code. Instead, we need to engage in an honest, open effort to bring true reform to what we all agree is a broken, unfair, and unreasonably complicated tax system.