It seems that every presidential election cycle, the campaigns appear to get longer and longer – they seem to start before most Americans have given even a single thought to the next round of voting. Indeed, the Chicago Tribune recently noted that it’s been 596 days since the first major presidential candidate – Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz – officially declared his candidacy for the White House. We’ve all survived the onslaught of television ads, debates and rallies to reach the end of a very long election road. Sometime this evening, or in the early morning, a winner will be declared in the popular vote for the 45th president of the United States.
But whether it’s a President-elect Clinton or a President-elect Trump, and whether Americans will have a Democrat, Republican or divided Congress, one thing is for certain: our elected leaders in Washington must pledge to put this contentious election behind them and work together for the greater good of the country.
All too often bipartisanship falls by the wayside in this town and it’s the American people who truly suffer the consequences. Our burdensome, outdated tax code that is set to collapse under the weight of its own complexity is one of those consequences. It’s been thirty years since our tax system has been reformed and it is costing taxpayers $240 billion in lost time and economic opportunities to comply with the 70,000+ pages of statutes, regulations, and case law.
It’s not just individuals, but the nation’s businesses large and small that are also feeling the pain the Tax Code can inflict. Suffering under one of the highest corporate tax rates among developed nations at approximately 39 percent, American companies find themselves targeted by an anti-growth, anti-investment tax code here at home and by a European Union eager to pick their pockets overseas. It’s a lose-lose situation.
Fortunately, both parties agree on the need for tax reform in some capacity; they just need to agree on how to get there. And that is where bipartisanship must come into play. Back in 1986, Democrats and Republicans were able to set aside their differences and hash out a major tax system overhaul. It was neither easy nor pretty, but it provides lessons we must learn from if we are to rebuild a tax code that actually encourages individuals and businesses to innovate, invest, and succeed.
January 2017 presents a fresh start for both parties to show the American people that they are capable of sitting down for an honest discussion of tax policy, overcoming preconceived notions to accomplish industry neutral, comprehensive tax reform that will benefit our nation for years to come.