Tax Day is no cause for celebration. It’s not just because of the pressure so many working families feel to submit their returns by the deadline. It’s also a sobering reminder of what a complicated mess America’s tax code is and how it blocks job creation and economic prosperity.
First, there is the uncertainty about taxes going up at year’s end for everyone. Constantly facing the specter of massive tax increases if Congress fails to act is no way to live, plan family budgets or have to run a business. We should make permanent the tax relief first passed in 2001 and 2003 immediately and prevent the largest tax increase in American history from taking effect.
Second, we must commit ourselves to comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform. Every day, our tax code gets more complicated and requires enormous resources to comply with because of loopholes that are the result of good lobbying instead of good public policy. People shouldn’t have to hire armies of accountants and tax lawyers to navigate through the tax code. We need to simplify the tax code to make it easier to comply with. If we do so, job creators will be able spend more time improving their products or making sales pitches to generate new business and less time stressing over complying with a broken tax system. And working families will have fewer worries and frustrations every time tax season comes around.
Third, as part of tax reform, we need to slash America’s corporate tax rate, to help enhance our global competitiveness and attract new investment from around the world. On April 1 of this year, the U.S. earned the dubious distinction of having the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. It doesn’t take an economic expert to understand that, when given a choice of where to set up shop, businesses will naturally gravitate towards countries and states with business-friendly tax burdens. As part of a comprehensive tax reform effort that roots out wasteful tax provisions, we must sharply lower the corporate tax rate to help us attract more investment and create new jobs.
Lastly, we must reject divisive class-warfare politics disguised as “fair” tax policy. Specifically, the so-called “Buffett Rule” is little more than an election-year political stunt to raise taxes on investors who help create jobs. Without these investors taking risks and investing in new businesses or expanding existing ones, we can’t create new jobs.
The Buffett Rule is a flawed policy because it raises taxes on job-creating investment and makes no meaningful dent in our national debt. It has nothing to do with putting millions of unemployed Americans back to work and everything to do with the president keeping his job.
Families, job creators and the workers who rely on them for gainful employment deserve better than this. Our economy needs a simplified, stable and predictable tax code that eliminates uncertainty, encourages new investment and stops punishing success.
While Tax Day reminds us of all that is wrong with our tax code and the broken political system that is failing to address it, we should use this as an opportunity to re-commit ourselves to fundamental reform that will bring out the best in our talented, risk-taking, entrepreneurial people.
Marco Rubio is a Republican U.S. senator from Florida.