The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
It appears that Budget Director Peter Orszag has signaled the end of President Obama’s ill-fated Tax Reform Commission. In his budget briefing yesterday, Peter had this to say:
Q The President was supposed to receive tax reform recommendations in December and that was delayed indefinitely. Is there a possibility that that could be folded into the fiscal commission's review, or is it just on the back burner?
DIRECTOR ORSZAG: I would imagine that it will be folded into the fiscal commission. I would imagine that -- again, the commission will be examining a variety of things, including tax reform.
If true, this may be the best possible end to an embarrassing episode. The commission began life under impossible constraints, including the directive that it could consider nothing that raised taxes on those making less than $250,000.
Eventually, the White House put out the word that the panel would produce only a laundry list of possible reforms, but would not make any recommendations. The final blow came in December when the panel’s deadline came and went with only a White House promise that the group would complete its work “after the holidays.” Which holidays, exactly, were never specified.
Now, it seems the tax panel’s work will be rolled into a deficit reduction panel to be named later—another group whose mandate is unclear, to say the least. Will the fiscal commission have to operate under the same limits as the tax panel? What will be, as they say, “on the table?”
We shall see in due time, I suppose. But the fiscal panel's life couldn’t be much worse than that of the ill-fated tax commission. Let’s hope the President has learned something from this sad affair.
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