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Tax Reform...Not So Fast!
Apr 15, 2014
***Editor’s Note: Below is a viewer comment received in response to last weekend’s Mailbag segment followed by a transcript of John’s comments…
Dear Mr. Phipps, I usually enjoy your comments for their fair and level-headed approach, even when I do not always agree with everything. But today you outdid yourself. Your comments about the thwarted attempt to bring a bill for changing the tax code were excellent. You hit the nail right on the head and unmasked the hypocrisy of people who want to deal with the country's debt problem , but hold on to their own loopholes and exemptions while attacking the aid for less fortunate members of our society. Unfortunately too many farmers belong to the ranks of hypocrites, obviously not aware of the fact that agricultural goods like others need consumers with money in their pockets and therefore depend on wealth being widespread instead of being concentrated , something that can only be accomplished with taxes unless we give our economic system an extreme make-over.
Sincerely, Klaus Karbaumer
Time now for our weekly look inside the Farm Report Mailbag…our email today has a simple answer, so let’s get to it: "I agree that the tax code is too complicated. However, when the Congressman proposed that fertilizer no longer be deductible, I sat up straight and said ‘What???’." That’s from Pat Bird in Marcus, Iowa. It refers to my comments about the tax reform bill proposed by House Ways and Means Committee chair, Dave Camp.
Pat, the quick answer is never mind – that bill died a quick and brutal death at the hands of fellow Republicans who were aghast at ending tax breaks for special interests and taxing big banks. Like Pat, virtually everyone found something to hate in the proposal, so it was hastily buried before it could become even just a baseline for future reform. My admiration for the bill was that it was specific and finally began the work of pruning out wasteful favoritism in our tax code. And it named names, so to speak.
But it turns out Americans love their bit of wasteful favoritism, so now we’re back to talking about getting our financial house in order by ranting over vague generalities like "entitlements" or "pork". Regardless, Representative Camp deserves high marks for his honest effort to make our tax code more effective and fair. And his numbers added up. The lesson to be learned is that during this election season, any time a candidate talks about balancing the budget, the correct response is "show me the math".