The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
House Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) has an extraordinary idea: "The correction of tax mistakes should never be offset with tax increases."
Hensarling's Law, which might also be called the Mulligan Act of 2007, came in response to a huge tax restructuring proposed on Oct. 25 by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). The core of that plan would repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax and make up nearly $1 trillion in lost revenue over 10 years with an income tax surcharge and other tax hikes.
Since Hensarling deems the AMT to be an error, he argues that repealing the law ought to be free.
Except, of course, it isn't. If AMT repeal is not going to be financed with offsetting tax increases, there are only two other possibilities: We will have to find $1 trillion in spending cuts or the national debt will rise by over $1 trillion in the next decade. Expecting any other outcome is akin to Congress trying to make objects fall up by repealing of the law of gravity
While I await Hensarling's trillion dollar spending cut plan, I can't help but muse about how we might borrow to make up this lost revenue. One possibility might be Bad Idea Bonds or BIBs.
Congress would first certify by majority vote that a past tax hike was officially a Bad Idea. The Treasury would then be authorized to pool all BIBs. Tranches could be sold to hedge funds which, in turn, would peddle the paper to investors who could hold them through off-balance sheet subsidiaries located on a small but sunny Caribbean island. This would, of course, make the debt disappear. It all sounds so simple.
Posts and comments are solely the opinion of the author and not that of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute, or Brookings Institution.