Friday, May 12, 2006

The next step in budgetary sleaze

Upon reflection (and with thanks to Kirk Stark for nudging me to see it this way), I am disappointed with Congress's lack of imagination in using tax cuts to "pay" for tax cuts, via the IRA conversion rule that raises $6 billion over ten years but increases the fiscal gap by $16.6 billion. Why stop there?

Here's an idea. Take people who are newly graduated from law school or medical school. They might easily have expected career earnings with a present value of, say, $10 million, and expected lifetime income tax liabilities under present law with a present value of, say, $3 million. The income and liabilities are mostly back-loaded, since their earnings would be expected to rise over time. So here's what we do. We let them "prepay" $50,000, which the government will be happy to lend them for 9-1/2 years at zero interest. All who "prepay" are totally exempt from any further income tax liability for the rest of their lives, starting in 10 years. Leaving aside the credibility problems, what a great revenue raiser within the budget window!

No comments: