7:31 AM, Mar 4, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah have returned to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to tout their latest tax reform proposal. The Republicans call their plan both "pro-growth" and "pro-family," and say it addresses inequities in the tax code for businesses and middle-class families.
Here's an excerpt:
We seek to simplify the code and lower rates for families and individuals, by consolidating the seven existing tax brackets into two simple groups—15% and 35%—and by making remaining deductions available to all filers.
Our plan will also put an end to the unfair treatment of our ultimate investor class: America’s moms and dads.
In addition to eliminating the well-known marriage penalty—which taxes married couples at a higher rate than if they had filed individually—our plan will reform another, less-familiar inequity in the code: the parent tax penalty.
The current tax system charges parents twice for federal senior entitlement programs. Parents pay payroll taxes like everyone else, but they also shoulder the financial burden of raising the next generation of taxpayers, who will grow up to fund the Social Security and Medicare benefits of all future seniors. Parents, in effect, pay twice for the same Social Security and Medicare benefits as everyone else.
Therefore, to equalize the tax code’s treatment of working parents, our plan would create a new, $2,500 per-child tax credit. This credit—like the correction of the marriage penalty—eliminates an unfair distortion in the code and helps level the playing field for working families.
The family-focused elements of the plan are pure Mike Lee, who has said he wants to influence the party's presidential candidates—a group which could very well include Marco Rubio—on tax reform and other domestic issues. From a recent WEEKLY STANDARD profile of the Utah Republican:
Lee knows he isn’t the presidential candidate conservatives are looking for, but he’s got his eyes on that “positive, innovative, and unapologetically conservative agenda.” He’s not shy about the role he’d like to play. “I do want to influence that debate,” Lee says. His slate of policy proposals isn’t light fare. Since 2013, Lee has introduced bills to make the tax code more family friendly, take on cronyism in Washington, reform the college accreditation system, and change the way the federal government funds transportation infrastructure. But what Lee really wants is to change the way conservatives think about domestic policy, reorienting the Republican party toward a family-focused, constitutional populism to help the GOP win back the White House. If Lee succeeds, it will make him one of the most consequential conservatives of his generation.
Lee’s touchstone is Ronald Reagan, but not in the rote way you might think. “It’s important for us to remember that by the time 2016 rolls around, we will be about as far away from Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 as Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 was from D-Day, and it’s important for us to update our agenda to make sure that it fits the times,” says Lee. “We need to stop simply talking about Reagan and start acting like him.” That doesn’t mean slashing the marginal tax rate or getting rid of the Department of Education. Lee says acting like Reagan means applying principles of limited government, constitutionalism, and a healthy civil society to the issues of the day—namely, the rising cost of living and economic insecurity of the American middle class.
The case for GOP boldness. Sep 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 03 • By FRED BARNES
Big ideas sometimes play a role in political campaigns, but not in this year’s midterm elections. Republican candidates concentrate on linking their opponents to President Obama and his policies. That’s it. Democrats are understandably wary of defending Obama. They go after Republicans on minor or trumped-up issues, often in unscrupulous TV ads.
Why do lobbyists work so hard to counter a tax bill that has no chance of passing? Mar 17, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 26 • By IKE BRANNON
When House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, introduced a major tax reform proposal at the end of February, the entire tax policy world in Washington was set into motion. I have friends who lobby on tax issues who claim they did not sleep the two days after the release, working through consecutive nights to read the bill, confer with colleagues, and conceive of a plan to counter what’s in the bill that impacts their clients.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:11 PM, Oct 15, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with staff writer John McCormack on the latest in the government shutdown and debt ceiling talks:
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:05 PM, Oct 11, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with staff writer Jay Cost on the government shutdown and whether the GOP has a strategy to end it with a policy victory.
Sep 30, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 04 • By YUVAL LEVIN
Republicans these days are eager to replay the Reagan revolution. It is not hard to see why: In the 1980s, the GOP was the party of ideas, and the vision that Ronald Reagan and his supporters brought to Washington proved immensely popular with voters and profoundly improved American life. But in their effort to repeat Reagan’s particular policies, rather than his more impressive feat of developing policies that applied conservative principles to the problems of his day, today’s Republicans risk becoming detached from the country’s real concerns.
Obama and Reid kill tax reform.Aug 12, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 45 • By FRED BARNES
Tax reform is dead. President Obama killed it, with an assist from Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
To be exact, it’s officially dead now for this year and next. But in truth, it’s been dead for months because Obama, in private negotiations with Republicans conducted by his aides, rejected the one thing that makes tax reform politically possible: revenue neutrality. It allows the tax base to be broadened and tax rates to be lowered.
10:23 AM, May 14, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Seems K Street and Max Baucus were looking forward to a fun year of fixing up the tax code and making it stand up and salute. But now the IRS has gone and muddied the waters. As Erik Wasson and Peter Schroeder write at The Hill:
Don't expect White House leadership on corporate tax reform.Apr 22, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 30 • By IKE BRANNON
The Obama administration recently signaled to the business community that it could countenance some version of a territorial tax system for income earned abroad by U.S. businesses. Tax reform enthusiasts have seized on this perhaps a little too desperately, as evidence that reform will occur this year. It’s a thin reed, however: If any tax reform does pass Congress it will happen in spite of, and not because of, this administration.
10:02 AM, Apr 11, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Veteran Michigan congressman Dave Camp has all but ruled out running for an open Senate seat next year. The Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means committee told reporters Thursday morning at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor that he is focused on getting Congress to pass comprehensive tax reform.
“I’m not taking a serious look at the race,” said Camp. When asked by THE WEEKLY STANDARD about his interest in running, the Michigan Republican laughed.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:22 PM, Mar 14, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Fred Barnes. Hosted by Michael Graham.
A modest proposal.Mar 11, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 25 • By CHARLES WOLF JR.
Nonprofit organizations (NPO), often referred to as the “independent sector,” are an essential part of America’s vibrant, pluralistic civil society. Their activities span a wide range of public and private purposes—philanthropic, cultural, religious, professional, educational, scientific. The public as well as private interests that NPOs represent add vitality as well as fractiousness to American society.
For incredibly cynical and corrupt reasons.Feb 11, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 21 • By IKE BRANNON
Argentina hasn’t always been a basket case: In the early 1990s the country embarked on a radical privatization of government assets, with the result being a decade of strong growth and foreign investment. Much of the successes of that time have been reversed, but the story of how the statist Peronista party came to embrace such a radically pro-market agenda contains a political message for our country today, namely that sometimes the conditions are ripe for politicians to do the right things for the wrong reasons. And that is precisely why tax reform may now be feasible.
It’s embedded in the tax code.Dec 17, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 14 • By ASHLEY E. MCGUIRE
As our lawmakers—newly reminded of the power of female voters—huddle to strategize about the “fiscal cliff,” they have an opportunity to address a real threat to female prosperity: a tax code that is disproportionately burdensome to married women, especially working moms.