This month, President Obama will need to give a State of the Union address. The primary of the purpose of the State of the Union Address is to set forth a legislative agenda for the upcoming session. This year’s legislative session will certainly be more difficult for Mr. Obama because he no longer has a commanding majority.
Although President Obama will certainly not take it, my advice would be, don’t try for a bucket of little legislative fish that the Republicans can ignore. Give them a whale – a legislative challenge so immense that it would make Health Care Reform seem like small potatoes. At least then nobody could accuse him of timidity. But, he would have to make the whale seem so tasty that, even among his opponents, nobody could turn down the challenge of swallowing it. It would also need to be timely enough that nobody would wonder why he chose that particular whale.
So, writing it as if it was part of the speech, I suggest the following:
Year after year congress has had to create patches to out tax framework. Temporary fixes for the AMT. Temporary fixes for the Marriage Penalty’. Temporary adjustments to tax rates. Fluctuating rates for the Estate Tax. Temporary adjustments to payroll taxes. All the while kicking the can of responsible budgeting down the road. So next week I will send to congress a plan to replace the current internal revenue code with a comprehensive model that replaces the current income, payroll, AMT, capital gains, and estate taxes with something far simpler.” (pause for applause and/or stunned silence).
I suspect that like the hypothetical legislators in my scenario you are wondering what is this mysterious tax plan. If so, see yesterday’s post on revising the U.S. tax system.