Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Partial transcript of my Bloomberg TV appearance

The Bloomberg TV website where you can find the videotape of my appearance with Pimm Fox and Mark Everson (available here) also has a transcript, which of course is not word-for-word or 100% accurate.  But for what it's worth, here is most of what I said at the chat (slightly corrected): 

[With regard to why President Obama is discussing corporate tax reform:]

"I can't talk about what the political strategy is, but everyone realizes the system is a terrible mess and the proposal at least purports to address some of those problems, but we could debate whether it's the right way or not."

[With regard to whether there are good prospects for fundamental tax reform:]

"I personally don't think it is going to get anywhere anyway.

"There are too many differences of opinion.

"People say that because it happened in 1986 that it can happen again, but that's like saying because you won the lottery one day, you can play the lottery thirty years later and win it again."


"We have a high nominal [corporate] rate of 35%, but not many [companies] pay that.

"If you look at groups like Apple, they are paying almost nothing at all.

"We really need to address that."

[With regard to whether corporate tax reform could happen]

"Frankly, the people paying very little taxes are powerful on both sides of the aisle.

"Making them pay more is a hard bipartisan proposal to run up the flagpole."

[With regard to why it could easily backfire to do do corporate tax reform without individual tax reform] 

"Say you have a big-time business idea, you form a corporation and get taxed at 25% and never pay yourself a salary. 

"Why should you?

"That's an example of a garden-variety problem when you push corporate and individual rates apart too far apart."

[With regard to the prospects for tax simplification;]

"No one ever gave money to Congress to make the Code simpler.   They make speeches about it, but that’s about it.

"A lot of people like complexity.

"We have the whole situation with interest groups that leads to complexity, and you have a bunch of hard problems.

"For example, the question of where A
pple earned its money is not an easy problem to solve.

"If you have simple rules, they had better be well drafted because otherwise people will beat them to death."

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