September 21, 2014

A Civil Approach to Tax Policy

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

Although Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once described taxes as “what we pay for civilized society,” political debates over taxes have often been anything but civilized. In recent weeks differences over tax policy in Washington have remained a major obstacle for elected officials who are trying to develop deficit-reduction plans.

But Diane Lim Rogers, chief economist for The Concord Coalition, believes that Republicans and Democrats in Washington should be able to find common ground on some tax reforms that could meet the goals of both parties. Such reforms could simplify and streamline the tax code, help improve the nation’s fiscal outlook and contribute to a stronger economy.

Rogers will explore such issues in a new column, “Taxes for a Civilized Society,” in the weekly magazine Tax Notes. The column will focus on the federal budget, tax policy and deficit reduction.

In her inaugural column, Rogers explains that "being civilized" about taxes means recognizing their contribution to the federal budget as a whole, improving the system so it can efficiently and equitably collect sufficient revenue, and encouraging policymakers to reach agreement on policies that will promote the common good.