PLEDGE NOW
Time For A Better Tax System?

John Harwood in for Tom Ashbrook

On the eve of the tax filing deadline, we ask the question on everyone’s mind: Is this the best tax system we can come up with?

Dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Sonia Joaquin holds a sign to remind passing motorists that Thursday is the deadline for taxes in Tigard, Ore. on Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP)

Dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Sonia Joaquin holds a sign to remind passing motorists that Thursday is the deadline for taxes in Tigard, Ore. on Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP)

You’ve got until tomorrow to file your 2011 tax return. It’s a chore for everyone – and for many, a nightmare of complexity and uncertainty. Are we stuck with this 70,000 page tax code forever? Or is Washington finally going to give us a fairer and simpler one? President Obama says millionaires – like him and Mitt Romney — need to pay more.

But Romney says any tax increase would hurt our economy. Would lower rates for business create more jobs?

Up next On Point: The policy, and politics, of creating a new tax system.

-John Harwood

Guests

Margaret Collins, covers personal finance stories for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress

Steve Bell, senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center

From The Reading List

Yahoo Finance “President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, paid a 20.5 percent federal tax rate on $789,674 in adjusted gross income for 2011, according to tax returns released today by the White House.”

New York Times “Taxpayers of all incomes would pay higher taxes. The Tax Policy Center says those in the bottom 20 percent, making about $8,500 a year on average, would pay 9.4 percent of their income in all federal taxes. This amounts to about 13 percentage points more than they do today (now they get a net credit). The average federal tax for those in the top 20 percent — families making $214,000 a year — would rise to 34.5 percent from 22.9 percent.”

Reuters “Republican Mitt Romney, looking for a boost in his presidential campaign, proposed an overhaul of the tax system on Wednesday that he said would cut Americans’ tax rates by 20 percent and limit deductions for the wealthy.”

 Los Angeles Times “Both candidates claim they want “tax reform,” but when they say those words, they’re really talking about other things.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 22, 2015
Crashed cars with airbags deployed are shown to visitors as part of the display of Toyota Motor Corp.'s safety performance standards at the automaker's exhibition hall in Toyota, central Japan. (Shuji Kajiyama/AP)

ISIS rolls on. A TPP vote. Biggest recall ever – airbags. And Letterman’s last bow. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

May 22, 2015
The Barden Bellas, the all-female a cappella group at the center of Pitch Perfect 2. (Richard Cartwright/Universal Pictures via AP)

Pitch Perfect 2 is the number one movie in the country, and it’s over the top on a capella.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 21, 2015
Ships dock at the piers at the seaport town of Murmansk on the Kola peninsula in Russia. Russian authorities have detained a Greenpeace ship 'Arctic Sunrise' and 27 crew and they face charges when they arrived at Murmansk. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

The Arctic Circle is opening up at a gallop as the ice disappears. Oil, gold, armies, spies. Big opportunities and fear of the consequences.

 
May 21, 2015
In this photo taken Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, late light falls on Wheeler Hall, South Hall and the Campanile on the University of California campus in Berkeley, Calif. This famously liberal college town is known as the cradle of the Free Speech Movement, but speech isn’t the only thing that’s free here. Whether you’re strolling the redwood-shaded University of California, Berkeley, campus, or slipping across the Oakland border for a dose of Golden State history, you can exercise your limbs and your intellect without giving your wallet a workout. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

With student debt topping $1 trillion, a renewed call for radical change – maybe even free public university tuition. We’ll hear more about it.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment