Cokie Roberts: Current tax code discourages socialism in US

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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One of the most frequently debated issues among the contenders for the GOP nomination has been tax policy and how the current tax code should be restructured.

During the online “Green Room” segment of ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Washington Post columnist George Will explained why this issue has found its way to the forefront.

“The fact that I think the resentment of the IRS is reaching a critical mass,” Will said. “The fact that the IRS itself says we spend 6 billion hours a year – that’s the equivalent of 3 million full-time jobs complying with this code, the fact that if tax compliance were its own industry, it would be one of the largest industries in the country. It employs more people than work for Citicorp, UPS, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s combined.”

However, despite the sentiment that Will has detected, there’s a reason why any radical overhaul of the current tax code won’t happen, says ABC News political commentator Cokie Roberts. According to Roberts, the tax code is used for “social good” and that prevents the country from lapsing into Western European-style socialism, where the government provides health care, arts and university funding and even housing.

“But having said all that – I don’t think this year is different,” Roberts said. “I think we will see the flat tax crash and burn once again. You know, look – the reason America has used the tax code for social good is because we like the private sector. And so Western Europe has basically embraced socialism to do all of these things. What we have embraced is have business do all our health care and our universities and our arts and all of that, and our housing, with garden apartments for middle class people and all of that. And you know, you might like or dislike that, but that’s a result of the tax code and that is something Americans tend to like a whole lot better than having government do it.”


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Jeff Poor