90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Learning To Love Tax Reform Talk

We’ll be the first to tell you that U.S. Representative Dave Camp’s (R-MI) Tax Reform Act of 2014 isn’t likely to make the perilous journey from pie-in-the-sky dream bill to law of the land.

The phrase “blah blah blah” was just one way House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) described his fellow Republican’s lengthy tax reform proposal when it was released last week.

So why devote an hour to the topic, you might ask? Why spend time working through the intricacies of tax code in the hypothetical when the very real tax day deadline is fast approaching?

Mostly, it’s because this is sometimes how policy change happens. Tax reform is one big policy initiative where both Republicans and Democrats find themselves largely in agreement. Sure, the specific policy tweaks and code overhauls vary, but politicians in both parties have given a lot of time to complaining about the tax code and blaming it for a variety of economic ills currently plaguing the U.S. economy.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed penned just before his reform act was published last week, Rep. Camp wrote: “Tax reform needs to be about strengthening the economy and making the code simpler and fairer. That’s what Republican President Ronald Reagan did when he worked with Democrats in Congress in 1986. We need to get to work and repeat that success.”

And in a way, his allusion serves as a helpful reminder that tax reform can be terribly fascinating. The wonderful 1988 book, “Showdown at Gucci Gulch,” details the 1986 tax reform adventure that laid the groundwork for the messy tax code of today. At the time, the deal was heralded as a major bipartisan breakthrough. The code it created was cleaner, simpler and in many ways, better than the one it replaced.

But as the book indicates, it takes a long, long time for tax policy to become law. Just as President Barack Obama’s budget (released today) won’t be enacted or written into law, so too will Rep. Camp’s tax reform be remembered as an interesting set of ideas. It’s those ideas that help make policy become reality. Hope our hour today helped you start to think.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 22, 2014
Health workers carry the body of a woman suspected of contracting the Ebola virus in Bomi county situated on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP)

We’ll go to Liberia, and hear from a pastor and a physician at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis.

Oct 22, 2014
Authors Nicholas Kristof and wife Sheryl WuDunn attend the premiere of "Meena" at the AMC Loews Theater on Thursday, June 26, 2014 in New York.

Author and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says regular folks like us can change the world. He explains how. Plus: we remember the late, great Washington Post editor, Ben Bradlee.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 21, 2014
This undated image provided by Google, shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car. For the first time, California's Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state's public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP)

The future of the car: from the fuels they’ll run on, to the materials they’ll be made of, to the computers that may drive them.

 
Oct 21, 2014
David Perdue, Michelle Nunn

Two weeks to go till Midterm Election Day. We’ll look at how the biggest issues are playing out around the country.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
1 Comment
 
Two LIVE Tracks From Jazz Violinist Regina Carter
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Regina Carter shares two live tracks — one arrangement, and one original composition — with Tom Ashbrook in the On Point studio.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 17, 2014
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

We talk Facebook mishaps, whether Katy Perry was actually right and the glory of architectural giants and their iconic windows.

More »
Comment