A Flat Tax Will Give Us Simpler - and Higher - Taxes

Article excerpt

Flat-tax proponents owe us a basic explanation: Why will their promises be any different from those made after the 1986 tax reform, when tax deductions were taken away and taxes were re-raised to old levels.

Indeed, the House Majority Leader Dick Armey's flat-tax proposal almost guarantees such higher rates in the future by taking 50 percent of the population off the tax rolls entirely (see Fortune magazine's study of his proposals). It won't take long for class-warfare politicians, representing those who don't pay taxes, to urge new rate increases upon those who do.

In focusing on the mortgage-interest deduction, columnist Bruce Bartlett ("Flat tax impact on housing?" Commentary, Feb. 12) and others claim that removing it will cause interest rates to drop. Maybe, because demand for houses will decline. But for how long, until the next Democratic Congress finds causes on which to spend infinite amounts of money or until the next war or economic crisis? Will the mortgage deduction then be returned to taxpayers if interest rates go up? …