While the short-term political prospects of the Tax Reform Panel's recommendations are generally assumed to be nil, a clue to what would happen if they became more prominent is offered by an op-ed in today's LA Times, co-authored by NYC Congressman Charles Rangel. the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. The op-ed portrays the proposals to disallow state and local tax deductions and to cap home mortgage interest deductions as reflecting the goals of "right wing ideologues'" in the Bush Administration to "shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class and put pressure on states such as California and New York to shrink critical public services." He calls on everyone in adversely affected states such as New York and California, including those two states' Republican governors, to condemn this "double-barreled blast aimed squarely at the middle class."
Rangel ignores the Tax Reform Panel's surprising independence from right wing ideologues in the Bush Administration. One also might quarrel with his assertion that lowering the mortgage loan deduction cap from $1 million to $411,000 is a device to "shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle class." But he certainly shows us the politics that we could expect if these proposals ever got far, including the pressures that Republicans as well as Democrats in high-tax states would face.