THE SUSPICIONS OF A CYNICAL TAXPAYER have been confirmed. The tax "reform" effort in Washington is a setup.
The idea behind the mammoth tax bill, soon to reach the floor of Congress for a final vote, is that if the multitude of deductions, credits and exemptions could be done away with, rates could be lowered significantly and everyone would benefit. Business and personal investment decisions would be made on the basis of the economic efficacy and not on their tax avoidance value.But there was some unease among individual taxpayers, especially those in the so-called "middle income" brackets, that this whole thing is a setup. Once the deductions are gone, they're gone - the chances of Congress reinstating them are nil. But tax rates are generally changed more easily.
Now comes along Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill., the Ways and Means Committee chairman, telling a group in Washington last week that a tax increase will be needed to further reduce the deficit. That leaves us taxpayers, which means just about everyone, holding the bag with higher tax rates and fewer deductions.
There's an old saying that "no man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session." Ancient wisdom that's about to be proved once again.