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A Perspective on Defusing America's Debt Crisis

Governmental Studies professor Paul Weinstein and National Commission on Fiscal Responsiblity and Reform Director Marc Goldwein co-authored a report, published this month by PPI, arguing for a reform to the tax code called the "Modified Zero Plan."  The plan is based on the recommendations of the Fiscal Commission, which the authors call "the only bipartisan game in town when it comes to deficit reduction."

The report is fascinating and easy to read.  And that's really saying something, considering it is about the tax code!  The authors explain the recommendation of the Fiscal Commission-- termed "The Zero Plan"-- in clear, no-nonsense languge.  They highlight the Commission's goals of lowering tax rates, raising revenues, and drastically simplifying the tax code.  To this end, a defining feature of The Zero Plan is that it eliminates almost all tax breaks.

Weinstein and Goldwein then argue for adopting a "Modified Zero Plan," which retains the Zero Plan's basic goals, but reintroduces a small list of tax incentives that the authors consider essential for the well-being of the economy.

 The resulting plan, as well as the report explaining it, is simple and digestable.  And getting a good deal of attention.  For example, Reihan Salam at The National Review Online writes,

The moderately left-of-center Progressive Policy Institute has just published “Less is More: The Modified Zero Plan for Tax Reform” by Paul Weinstein Jr. and Marc Goldwein, a useful contribution that explains the virtues of the Zero Plan approach while also offering a modified version that aims to meet the objections of egalitarian critics. I don’t like the modified plan as much as the original, but it strikes me as an approach I could live with. 

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