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August 31, 2011

Huntsman To Produce Sweeping Changes To Tax Code, Eliminate All Deductions, Drop Top Rate to 23%

The Alternate Minimum Tax would be eliminated, but I think with all deductions removed from the code, that would almost be a fait accompli anyway. (Wouldn't it? I don't know.)

He also proposes dropping the corporate tax rate to 25%.

I expect most candidates will propose similar sorts of things. I think this is largely the tax reform envisioned by the Ryan Plan.

Getting rid of two deductions -- the home mortgage interest rate deduction, and the charitable donation deduction -- will be hard sells.

I wonder if on that latter -- the charitable deduction -- removing the deduction would actually create a better system of charity.

That is, donating money would cost more than it does now. As it stands, you can deduct these deductions (assuming you make enough to itemize) from your gross income. It's not free money, but at least you're not taxed on it.

But this makes charity a tax strategy too. I wonder if some charities which we frankly hate -- stuff like John Kerry's wife's stuff -- are mostly sustained through "tax benefit donations." And I wonder if removing the tax benefit might get rid of some not-really-charity stuff like that, while people really moved to donate to true charities would continue, because they were never even thinking about the deduction in the first place.

That's just a counterintuitive idea I had five seconds ago. The most obvious effect, the most intuitive one, would be less charitable giving of all sorts, and hence, arguably, the anti-conservative effect of less private philanthropy and, in relative terms, more government hand-outs. And of course charitable donors would be smacked twice -- not only did they give away their money in the first place, but now the government wants its cut of the money they gave away.

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posted by Ace at 12:48 PM

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