BEWARE OF TAX ELAN

THE MOMENT SHOULD BE SAVORED. The most comprehensive tax restructuring since the income tax was instituted 73 years ago (if you believe the Wall Street Journal) or since World War II (if you believe The New York Times) was approved by House and Senate conferees late Saturday night.

But it took six years, if you deal in the short term, and many more than that if you never believed in a federal income tax in the first place. It was on Aug. 5, 1982, that Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, D-Mo., introduced their tax overhaul plan.As you can see in The Journal of Commerce on page 3A, the effect of the new tax approach on the businesses we concentrate on - transportation, insurance, trade, energy, petrochemicals, financial services and commodities - will not be as positive as for the more consumer-oriented industries.

Yes, this bill will make income tax law simpler and do away with loopholes. But most of those loopholes helped reduce taxes for industry and especially those industries The Journal of Commerce reports on.

The point is we cannot afford to wait another six years if this tax structuring proves to be more detrimental to these essential industries of the United States than expected. This is especially true given the $170 billion trade deficit the country should rack up in 1986 and the federal budget deficit that continues to exceed all expectations.

One suspects more tax revenue is going to be needed. If so, action should be taken quickly. One suspects that greater incentives to encourage industries to invest in new plants and equipment also will be needed. Again close scrutiny of the effects of the new tax code is needed and quick action is required from Congress to make the tax code not only simpler but better.

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