Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is calling for a “simpler, fairer and flatter” tax code. In a report released on Tuesday, “Tax Decoder,” Coburn called the tax code a “powerful and elaborate system of rewards and punishments used to coerce Americans and manipulate the economy.”
He said the report is not intended to be a plan for reform but an educational guide for policy makers as well as taxpayers, although he did say the ideal solution would be to “throw out the entire tax code and start over.”
Among the exclusions and preferences Coburn would like to see eliminated are taxing carried interest as capital gains rather than ordinary income; tax-exempt interest on municipal bonds; inside build-up on cash-value life insurance policies, and credit unions’ tax-exempt status as a nonprofit.
Coburn gave a 27-minute farewell speech in the Senate yesterday attended by 40 other Senators.
Over time, the federal tax code has become unwieldy, the Senator argued. “The U.S. tax code is so complicated most Americans pay someone else to complete their tax forms. Even the members of Congress who are in charge of writing tax law admit they, to,o cannot do their own taxes,” Coburn wrote in the report.
The entire IRS tax code is now four million words long and covers 9,000 pages. In 1913, it was just 27 pages long.