By Rep Tim Walberg
For more than four years the federal government has been talking about how to improve our economy, with little to show for it. Despite stimulus spending, higher taxes and the easing of monetary policy-- the middle class continues to struggle and many Americans remain without a job. If we want to put people back to work, we must make the necessary changes now and start with much needed comprehensive tax reform.
It's important to remember that in October 1986, when comprehensive tax reform legislation was last successfully addressed and signed into law by President Reagan, our country was in a strikingly similar position as it is today with a divided government and unemployment rate at 7%. However, unlike President Obama to date, President Reagan made tax reform a cause and invested a significant amount of political capital to make it reality because of his belief in keeping America competitive and get Americans working.
President Obama certainly has willing key partners on Capitol Hill with House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to address this issue. In fact, over the past two-plus months the Joint Committee on Taxation worked with Ways and Means members to produce a comprehensive overview of the tax code and summarizes the views of more than 1,300 submissions of key stakeholders.
Congress also understands that we don't have all the answers and recently launched TaxReform.gov, a new website that will serve as a platform for everyone to weigh in on tax reform. Visitor input to the web site will be helpful to legislators as they develop tax reform legislation.
However, Congress can only get so far without a willing partner in the White House. Simply creating higher tax rates on top of a broken of tax code does not constitute comprehensive tax reform and is not a way forward. The President needs to join Congress and work towards a tax code that significantly lowers rates for individuals, small businesses and large employers.
If the president is serious about creating jobs for a healthy economy, let's look toward comprehensive tax reform. Independent economists have already estimated that, when coupled with reduced federal spending, comprehensive tax reform could lead to the creation of 1 million jobs in the first year alone.
Together, these reforms will help families save more, bring jobs back from overseas, provide incentives for small businesses and bring in more revenue through economic growth and job creation. My colleagues and I in the House remain eager to help create jobs and expand opportunities for all Americans.