A fair, simple and effective way to raise federal revenue is to impose a temporary surcharge as a percentage of income tax owed. Then, allow the surcharge to expire when the national deficit is reduced to a predetermined and widely publicized level.
It is fair because it affects all who pay income tax, no matter what the sources of income and types of deductions. It does not favor one group of citizens over another.
It is simple because it does not change the basic income tax structure.
It is effective because the percentage can be set to match the revenue needed.
By naming it “The Hated Temporary Income Tax Surcharge,” we will all be continually reminded to cut spending, live within our means and work toward ending the surcharge. When we achieve a budget surplus, the surcharge can take on a negative value, resulting in “The Beloved Temporary Income Tax Reduction.”
Such a bill is so simple it could be written on one sheet of paper today, passed by the Congress tomorrow and signed by the president the next day.
Fundamental tax reform can come later after thoughtful deliberation, not hurriedly to meet an artificial deadline.
Joseph H. Rubinstein