Could Tax Reform Happen?


Tax reform is never at the top of anyone’s agenda. It’s a tough sell; the benefits are broadly shared, but eliminating preferential treatments will always impose narrow costs. And one of the classic problems of all democracies, and the American Madisonian variation in particular, is that they are not very good at promoting broad, mild benefits at the expense of easily identifiable costs to easily organized factions.

Nevertheless, reform is reasonably likely over the next two years for one basic reason: Both sides fully expect divided government, and therefore policy stalemate, over the next two years — and politicians like having accomplishments, both for political (they need something to run on) and personal (most politicians actually do like getting something done) reasons.

Oh, and saving the US economy from terminal decline at the hands of lobbyists is also something worth thinking about, don’t you think?