For decades, both political parties have used the United States Tax Code as a blunt force instrument to sometimes cajole, sometimes basically force people and organizations to act in certain ways. For the public good, if you will. The problem though is that by engineering the tax code to change behavior, we've created a system that is exemplified by needless complexity, a propensity for abuse and a disconnect between taxpayers and the government they support.
Surely, the intentions behind the social engineering of the tax code have been more or less noble. Who doesn't want to encourage:
- Home buying (mortage interest credit)?
- Saving for retirement (tax deferral of retirement contributions)?
- Exploration for oil & gas (tax write-off for basically digging a hole)?
- Having children (dependent tax credit)?
In my opinion there is no way to "fix" the United States Tax Code. It's simply beyond repair. It's been added to, modified, hijacked by special interests and grown into a system that's virtually impossible to manage anyway (just ask the Tea Baggers). The only real solution is to start from scratch, to create a wholly new system that is based on the underlying need to fund the government, NOT encourage "good" behavior.
Don't hold your breath waiting though.