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Dem Senator, GOP Chairman Feel Pinch to Get Tax Reform Rolling

Baucus and Camp plan to tour the country to talk about starting from scratch and rewriting America's monster tax code.

Bill Straub


June 16, 2013 - 1:05 pm
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WASHINGTON – The top tax policy mavens in the House and Senate are partnering in an effort to rewrite and simplify the nation’s 4,000-page code and doing everything possible to generate enthusiasm for what promises to be a herculean effort.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, have together expressed an urgency to reform the Internal Revenue Code and have been discussing the possibility with their respective panel members for several months.

Camp and Baucus have launched a website,, to obtain recommendations from the public on how to proceed and are conducting a series of hearings on the issue, the latest coming Thursday when Camp took his Ways and Means panel on a tour of the sexy issues of tax havens, base erosion, and profit shifting.

The pair also has announced plans to tour the country.

“I don’t think we have a lot of time to wait,” said Camp, adding that he and Baucus have been working on the effort, both jointly and separately, for several years.

The pressure to do something, Camp said, comes from “the fact that a quarter of the kids coming out of college can’t find a job, the fact that there are the highest number of people since the Carter administration who just stopped looking for work and then even if you have a job you may not have had a wage increase in a while.”

“So that is what’s really driving me on this — the jobs and the economy issue and also the complexity of the code,” he said. “Obviously we’re both committed to making this a reality because we can’t afford to wait. We think the time is now.”

There’s another reason time must be now for Camp and Baucus, who have become friends as a result of the process. Baucus is retiring and will leave office after the 2014 elections. And Camp is term-limited as chairman of the tax-writing panel.

Baucus noted that tax reform hasn’t been successfully undertaken since 1986. Since then, the tax code has been amended 15,000 times.

“The barnacles have grown back up again,” Baucus said.

“Each year goes by we’ve had more exceptions, correlations, modifications and so forth that different groups want and basically Congress goes along with it,” Baucus said. “It’s all built up.”

Just what form this version of reform might take remains to be worked out, although the lawmakers already agree on several points. Both are striving to simplify a tax code that, for instance, contains 43 different definitions of what constitutes a small business.

“There are so many good simplification policies that we agree on,” Camp said. “One of the things that 80 percent of Americans agree with is the code is too complicated. I think the average person should be able to fill out their own taxes. Small businesses, 90 percent of them, have to have preparers because they’re afraid they’re going to get audited.”

Camp and Baucus agree that the nation’s corporate tax rate of 35 percent, the world’s highest, desperately needs to be reduced. The current structure, Baucus said, encourages corporations to “put plants overseas.”

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All Comments   (6)
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The income tax cannot be fixed. It should be abolished and replaced by a consumption tax on retail sales, excluding food and medicine. More tinkering with the income tax will not solve any of its basic problems.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We need a balanced budget amendment and one for a fair tax. On the budget an decrease of 10% per year over 10 years. Both the balanced budget amendment and the fair tax would require a 4/5ths vote of both Houses to increase the rate or have an unbalanced budget. That vote would sunset in one year.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Some predictions on what would result if this pair went about fixing the tax code:
1) Everyone would end up paying more, but the "rich" would end up paying more than everyone else's more (even if the more is a percentage) in the interest of being "fairer".
2) The tax code will not, in fact, actually get any simpler. It's a 50/50 shot it won't even get shorter. However, it will require all the people who have figured out kind of how to survive with the current hideous leviathan to learn a completely new hideous leviathan, thus handily accomplishing less than nothing.
3) Somewhere in it will be ADDITIONAL unconscionable expansions of government power. Perhaps the IRS needs stealth jets and armored warhorses now that the NSA has made the plebes nervous.
4) All suggestions from average citizens that are not in accordance with the above points will be summarily ignored.

Not that any of the above matters, per se, because:
5) Halfway through, they'll lose interest, and create a Frankensteined hybrid of the new and old tax law that will make even Obamacare look functional and well-thought out.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
By all means let's let good ol' Max write a "comprehensive fix" on our totally screwed-up tax laws then when he retires next year he can "run for the hills" laughing all the way about how he stuck it to the rubes AGAIN. Just what this country needs, another TRAINWRECK from the guy who played a major part in writing the obamacare trainwreck that is just about to run over us! JUST GO HOME MAX! WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE OF YOUR BRILLIANT IDEAS!!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
ATR - Yup, like I trust any of them any more to do what is right for the US citizens. I. Don't. Think. So.

How about:

"Help end the IRS and it's abuse of the public trust!

The federal income tax system is broken – it’s unfair, too complex and almost impossible for hard working Americans to understand. But there is an alternative that’s reasonable and fair.

Americans For Fair Taxation® is a non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to eliminating the IRS and replacing federal taxes on your income with a national consumption tax."


The Dhimmicrats and the supposedly "Loyal Opposition" of the GoP have lost the public trust or they should.

Ask yourself why the "Loyal Opposition" is not holding press conferences and town hall meetings at home demanding answers of the The Obama Regime and it's enablers hourly, daily and loudly. Asking for Special Prosecutors to investigate the illegal harassment of US citizens by the IRS. Demanding that unConstitutional surveillance of reporters and the US People stop immediately. Demand that the possibly treasonous support of the nations enemies be halted.

The long train of abuses must stop and right soon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So one of the guys who crafted the Obamacare legislation claims he's now going to simplify the tax code????
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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