"Congress could lower individual rates across the board by 44 percent and come up with the same amount of revenue if it eliminated all tax breaks" Washington Post reporter Josh Hicks noted in a January 10. Given the ongoing battles over taxes, spending, and the national debt in Congress, you'd think this would be worthy of front-page placement in the Post. Editors apparently disagreed, placing it on the bottom of page A13, today's edition of The Fed Page.
"Congress should simplify the tax code to ease the burden on filers, as well as take a hard look at the myriad tax breaks that cost nearly as much revenue as the government generates from individual income taxes," Hicks noted in his lead paragraph, referring to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson's annual report to Congress. "[T]he existing code of 4 million words imposes a 'significant, even unconscionable' burden of compliance on taxpayers," Hicks noted, quoting Olson.
What's more, taxpayers spend some "6 billion hours a year trying to conform to the rules." For its part, the IRS hasn't been much help to taxpayers with the tax-collecting agency failing "to answer 48 percent of all taxpayer letters within the agency's established time frame in 2012, representing a significant increase above the rate of 12 percent in 2004."
The vast majority of Americans -- regardless of political ideology or political party -- agree that the tax code is too confusing, too complex, and resultantly manifestly unfair. Given that fact, and the calls by many on the right and left for the need for fundamental, comprehensive tax reform, it's absolutely ludicrous for the Post to have buried this story.