Robb: Andy Biggs' letter proves why Republican tax reform is doomed

Monday, 13 November 2017, 09:17:56 PM. Most Republicans in Congress are social conservatives before economic ones, so even if their reforms pass, they'll do less for growth than they could.
Robert Robb: Most Republicans in Congress are social conservatives before economic ones, so even if their reforms pass, they'll do far less for growth than they could. A letter from Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs illustrates why tax reform is unlikely to pass in Congress. And why, if it passes, it will do considerably less to promote growth than it could. In the letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, Biggs asked for three changes in the House bill: make it retroactive to this year; decrease all the individual income tax rates, including the top one; and restore the adoption tax credit. In other words, reduce taxes more, but broaden the base less. The larger issue with the adoption credit The adoption tax credit isn’t one of the biggies. According to the Joint Tax Committee staff, it costs roughly $500 million a year. Those with incomes up to about $200,000 can reduce their taxes by $13,460 for adoption expenses. Symbolically, however, it is illustrative. Social conservatives believe in using the tax code for social engineering as much as do liberals, just for different purposes. A tax credit for adoption is viewed as part of the fight against abortion. Arizona Rep. Trent Franks was another prominent advocate for its restoration, which was successful. The Ways and Means Committee put the adoption tax credit back in before passing the bill. Social conservatives are also insisting on increasing the child tax credit from $1,000 to at least...Read more
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