By: Paul Ryan
If I could make just one change in Washington, it would be to fix the tax code.
No other reform would inspire as much confidence because no other policy is as big a drag on our economy. Today, the tax code is about four million words long. Taxpayers spend six billion hours a year just figuring out how to comply. But the tax code is more than confusing; it's also unfair. Riddled with over $1 trillion in loopholes, the current code punishes free enterprise and rewards political influence. And to top it all off, we impose high marginal tax rates--including the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world--which are nothing more than barriers separating working families from job creators.
Instead of pushing people out, we should bring people in. True tax reform would both broaden the base and lower the rates, so small businesses would have room to grow and job creators would come back to our shores. Economist Glenn Hubbard says tax reform could boost economic growth by anywhere from half to a full percentage point a year over a decade. And if economic growth were just half a percentage point larger, the federal government would save an additional $1.57 trillion over 10 years. Only by paying down our debt and growing our economy can we create jobs and increase take-home pay. Only then can we expand opportunity for all.
To pass such a vital reform, after years of gridlock, would show the country that Washington can still get something done. And our country would show the world that, 125 years since The Wall Street Journal began, "free markets and free people" is still the way to go.
Rep. Ryan, a Republican, is chairman of the House Budget Committee.