Barack Obama shouldn’t worry about tweaking the current tax system—he should try to replace it, writes David Brooks of the New York Times. In Brooks’ vision, Obama would go before the American people and end the Bush tax cut debate. “I have my own views,” he would say, “but it’s not worth having a big fight over a tax code we all hate.” Then, at the State of the Union address, he could unveil a sweeping reform plan.
The new plan should look a lot like the bipartisan one Ron Wyden and Judd Gregg hatched—it would eliminate loopholes, reduce rates overall, and simplify the system so much that most people could file a one-page tax form. Not only would this be wildly popular, it would change the tone in Washington. “The health care reform debate was polarized,” Brooks writes, “but the tax debate is not. ... The current system is so rotten, everybody could get something they want out of reforming it.”