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Tax system reform

Posted: February 28, 2012 11:01 a.m.
Updated: February 29, 2012 5:00 a.m.

It's ironic that after years of declaring the United States' antiquated tax system needs overhauling, members of Congress now appear ready to effect substantive changes -- in the midst of the most partisan rancor that has been seen in Washington in years. President Obama has already proposed a cut in the corporate tax rate to make U.S. companies more competitive, offsetting some of the cuts with an elimination of specialized tax breaks that have been ludicrous over a number of years.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Republican, and Sen. Max Baucus, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, have been working closely together on the possibility of a massive rewrite of the country's tax system. There are certainly major differences in the way the two parties would approach a tax overhaul but it's at least encouraging that many in Washington believe something solid can be achieved. "The madness has got to stop," says Rep. Pat Tiberi, a Republican who chairs a major subcommittee of Ways and Means. He puts the odds of major changes at better than 50 percent.

Of course, we're realistic enough to know that many proposals have started with a spirit of cooperation and ended in frustration. But this time, perhaps there will be enough sense in Washington to scrap a horrid system and compromise on features that will make the tax structure in this country much fairer and more efficient.

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