I was a bit crestfallen earlier this week when Obama came out swinging in favor of extending Bush’s ill-conceived (and 13-year-old) tax policy. There’s been enough time since the last time the tax code changed; if it’s not going to get past the House anyways, why not instead suggest replacing the whole shebang with something new? This had been broadly hinted at during the debt-ceiling debacle last year.
The very words “tax reform” are music to the ears of good-government liberals like me—and Barack Obama. They bear the hope of bipartisan compromise and grand bargains in which everyone wins. Conservatives get lower rates, liberals get a fairer tax code with more revenues for social programs, and fewer giveaways to favored industries.