“Broad base, low rates” was one of the mantras of the supply-siders during the Reagan administration. I recall reading years ago–I can’t find a reference now on the web–that when Republicans vacated one of the relevant offices (Treasury or White House, I think) they left on a blackboard a message for incoming Democrats (must have been 1992) that said, “Broad base, low rates.”
So this is surprising, coming from President Obama: Obama Weighs Tax Overhaul in Bid to Address Debt:
President Obama is considering whether to push early next year for an overhaul of the income tax code to lower rates and raise revenues in what would be his first major effort to begin addressing the long-term growth of the national debt.
For a Democrat to acknowledge that one can raise revenues by lowering rates is something of a breakthrough.
The objective is to rid the code of its complex buildup of deductions, credits and exemptions, thereby broadening the base of taxes collected and allowing for lower rates — much like a bipartisan majority on Mr. Obama’s debt-reduction commission recommended last week in its final blueprint for reducing the debt through 2020.
Doing so would offer not only an opportunity to begin confronting the growth in the national debt but also a way to address warnings by American business that corporate tax rates and the costs of complying with the tax code are cutting into their global competitiveness.
As always, the Devil is in the details, and it is too much to expect that the Obama administration will really try to rationalize, let alone lower, the tax burden on individuals and businesses. Still, this is an intriguing glimmer of what could be an emerging triangulation strategy by the President.