Substantial tax reform may be 'the kind of thing that has to happen after you elect a new president,' anti-tax firebrand Grover Norquist told MailOnline on Friday, referring to what he said was a combination of tax-code complexities and a federal government with an insatiable desire for spending more and more money.
Barack Obama's 2014 budget, he said, 'is an unserious effort' to reform the entitlement spending that adds to the federal debt each year. But the president, he insisted, could yet be moved to change his tune.
'The idea that the president can't be bent to the will of the American people is, I think, couner-factual,' he said.
The White House's proposal to shrink cost-of-living increases by employing the so-called 'Chained CPI,' he cited as an example of an unpopular proposal, 'is a $100 billiion tax increase ... unless it were matched by same-size tax cuts in the same bill.
The Chained CPI is thought to be a tax-raiser because it would lower the allowed level of individual income tax deductions and exemptions, placing many Americans into higher tax brackets.
'Does he [Barack Obama] want to have spending restraint or entitlement reform?' Norquist asked. 'I don't think so.'
He held his annual 'Tax Day Eve' press conference-cum-protest at the US Capitol on Friday, along with a cavalcade of Republican lawmakers whose short speeches sounded like trial balloons for the 2014 campaign season.
Texas Rep. Kevin Brady put out a tax-reform challenge to President Barack Obama. 'You say you want to close loopholes so you can spend more money,' he said. 'We say we want to close loopholes so we can lower taxes for businesses and families.'
Norquist's organization, Americans for Tax Reform, is famous for leveraging public opinion to convince lawmakers to sign pledges that they would not vote to raise taxes.
Norquist noted that the US federal income tax would turn 100 years old this year. 'In 1913 some idiot thought this would be a good idea,' he told reporters.
The original top individual income tax rate in 1913, Norquist said, was 7 percent. Taxpayers would have had to earn the equivalent of $11 million in today's dollars to qualify.
Americans' annual tax returns are due April 15. The top income tax rate today is 40 per cent, but many wealthy earners avoid paying that rate by using deductions and write-offs to lower their effecting earning levels.
To change this, Obama's budget includes a 'Buffett Rule' provision that would force Americans earning more than $1 million in a year - like the legendary investor Warren Buffett - to pay at least 30 per cent of their income in federal taxes. Buffett, who long ago favored lower taxes, now supports the idea.
Scalise's alternative Buffett Rule would provide a mechanism for wealthy Americans who don't believe they're paying enough in taxes to voluntarily contribute more.
'There will be a check-off box' on tax forms, he said, and money raised that way would not be used for more government spending, but 'to pay down the national debt.'
North Carolina Rep Virginia Foxx spoke while holding a copy of the IRS tax code, a book thicker than a 1990s telephone book and, she said, 'four times more [lengthy] than our Bible'
'Our tax code shouldn't require taxpayers to own a secret decoder ring to do their taxes,' she said.
The sheer heft of the tax code - 'four times more [lengthy] than our Bible' - made it so complicated that Average citizens require 13 hours of work to file their tax returns, she said.
'You could drive to Disney World from here' in that amount of time,' Fox exclaimed.
Americans pay more in taxes than for 'food, clothing and housing all put together,' she added.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor addressed 'kitchen table' families who fret about their tax bills. The president, he said, 'continues to call for more tax burdens for those families sitting around those kitchen tables. ... It's time for us to do something for them, not just take their money.'