Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, and Economic Growth, Vol. 1

Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, and Economic Growth, Vol. 1

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Excerpt from Tax Reform for Fairness, Simplicity, and Economic Growth, Vol. 1: The Treasury Department Report to the President

Dear Mr. President:

I am pleased to submit the Treasury Department's Report on Fundamental Tax simplification and Reform that you requested in your State of the Union address in January. It contains proposals for a broad-based income tax that would allow us to lower marginal tax rates for individuals by an average of 20 percent and the corporate rate from 46 percent to 33 percent. The proposals would make the tax system simpler, fairer, and more economically efficient.

The present U.S. income tax is complex, it is inequitable, and it interferes with economic choices of households and businesses. It is also widely perceived to be unfair. Because this perception undermines taxpayer morale, it may be as important as the actual defects of the system.

In your State of the Union address, you said:

"To talk of meeting the present situation by increasing taxes is a Band-Aid solution which does nothing to cure an illness that has been coming on for half a century, to say nothing of the fact that it poses a real threat to economic recovery...

There is a better way: Let us go forward with an historic reform for fairness, simplicity and incentives for growth. I am asking Secretary Don Regan for a plan for action to simplify the entire tax code so all taxpayers, big and small, arc treated more fairly... I have asked that specific recommendations, consistent with those objectives, be presented to me by December 1984."

Further we believe we have followed your mandate of May 1984 to design a sweeping and comprehensive reform of the entire tax code. The Treasury Department study focused on four options: a pure flat tax, a modified flat tax, a tax on income that is consumed, and a general sales tax, including a value-added tax and retail sales taxes.

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