Bob Packwood

No Deal

Democrats and Republicans agree that the federal income tax must be reformed. They even agree on some common goals.

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As his campaign implodes in the face of sexual harassment allegations, Herman Cain’s Super PAC has launched an ad featuring Clarence Thomas’s 1991 charge that similar harassment allegations represented “a high tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.” “Don’t let the left do it again,” the ad concludes. In a tight spot, both Cain and Thomas played the race card they had previously criticized, and both denied the sexual harassment allegations rather than taking responsibility.

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Whatever form the final agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling takes, it will surely include some sort of promise that Congress and the president will pursue “tax reform” or a “tax overhaul.” It can’t be called a tax increase, but the purpose will be not just to close tax loopholes and keep basic marginal rates low, but also to bring revenues up from their current level of 14.4 percent of gross domestic product, a level last seen in the Truman administration. The very words “tax reform” are music to the ears of good-government liberals like me—and Barack Obama.

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