The Ripon Forum

Volume 50, No. 5

November 2016

In this edition

By on November 1, 2016

ripon-forum-november-2016-coverOne of the goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideals and principles that, we believe, have made the Republican Party, and our nation, great.

One of the other goals of the 54-year old organization is to encourage Republicans to embrace and run on a positive agenda, so the GOP is viewed as a party that stands for something – not just against something.

Under the leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have been doing just that.  Since June, Members of the House Majority have been fanning out across the country promoting “A Better Way” – a six point policy agenda that outlines where Republicans stand on a host of key issues.

The Ripon Forum looked at one of these issues in our last edition when we examined the House GOP plan to strengthen America’s military.  In this edition, we look at another key plank in the Better Way agenda – tax reform, and the blueprint crafted by Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady to rewrite the tax code and replace it with a system that is not only easier to understand, but one that also unleashes economic growth.

“Americans are fed up with the broken U.S. tax code and the incredible burdens it imposes on families, local businesses, and our economy,” Brady writes in his lead essay.  “The only real solution is bold, pro-growth tax reform that rejects the status quo and propels America into a new era of economic freedom and competitiveness … Our Blueprint is built to unleash growth – the growth of families’ paychecks, the growth of our nation’s small businesses, and the growth of the American economy as a whole.”

To the extent that families are the foundation of our society, this edition also examines why tax reform must benefit them.  “Ask any tax lobbyist in Washington what the hot topics are in today’s version of the tax reform debate, and you’ll hear a long list of answers,” writes Ryan Ellis of the Conservative Reform Network.  “What is often left out or is at best an afterthought is helping working families with children.  Yet this element of reform can not only improve our nation’s future economic prospects, but also make all the other tax reforms possible.”

One of the other reforms that Ellis refers to is corporate tax reform.  As Business Roundtable President John Engler writes, the tax code has put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage around the world.  “A high corporate tax rate and our self-defeating method of taxing income earned outside the U.S. has slowed our economic growth,” Engler argues.  “As a result, we’ve lost up to 1300 companies in the U.S. over the last ten years – innovators that would have been spinning off their ideas for the benefit of U.S. workers and consumers.”

A key component of the Brady Blueprint is reforming the Internal Revenue Service.  In an essay, Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union reveals why IRS reform is long overdue.  And with this year’s election winding down, Scott Hodge of the Tax Foundation explains where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stand on the issue of tax reform and why, when compared with the House GOP proposal, both candidates come up short.  One candidate who doesn’t come up short in this area of tax reform is Mike Pence.  Richard Auxier of the Tax Policy Center examines the vice presidential candidate’s record in this regard as Governor of Indiana.

In other essays, longtime deficit hawk Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition writes about the growing national debt and why it is the forgotten issue of the 2016 campaign, and CATO Institute scholar Dan Ikenson explains why the TransPacific Partnership is a “good deal” for America and something that Republican leaders should make every effort to pass.

In our latest Debate, former Congresswoman Nan Hayworth squares off against the Heartland Institute’s H. Sterling Burnett on the issue of  climate change and whether it is to blame for the extreme weather the world has seen in recent years.

And in our latest Ripon Profile, U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters shares her thoughts on the need to curb reckless spending and why passing the Better Way agenda must be a priority next year.

As always, we hope you enjoy this edition of the Forum and welcome your thoughts.

Lou Zickar
Editor of The Ripon Forum

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