Five Tax Reforms Paul Ryan Should Propose as Ways and Means Chairman

By Russell, Jason | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, November 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Five Tax Reforms Paul Ryan Should Propose as Ways and Means Chairman


Russell, Jason, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was officially named the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday for the incoming Congress. Self-imposed House rules will allow for Ryan to remain chair for up to six years, which could mean Ryan will design comprehensive tax reform during the next president's first term.

In the meantime, for the next two years, Ryan will get to work with what is expected to be the most Republican-dominated House since the 1929-31 term, and the most-Republican Senate since the GOP lost control of the chamber in 2006. Here are five reforms Ryan should propose to the 114th United States Congress:

1. Fix the 2013 payroll tax hike

Overshadowed by the fiscal cliff deal, the expiration of a two- year payroll tax cut meant a two percentage-point increase in payroll taxes on employees. For a single-earner who made $50,000 in 2012 and 2013, this amounted to a $1,000 loss per year. Higher earners were hit with an extra 0.9 percent Medicare tax, as the result of the implementation of President Obama's healthcare law. Even with the additional revenue, Social Security and Medicare's finances remain on a dire path. Reinstating the tax cut would leave workers with more disposable income to spend in the economy.

2. Make it easier for families to file taxes

The Taxpayer Advocate Service estimates that taxpayers spent 6.1 billion hours filing their taxes in 2010, with compliance costs of $168 billion. Divided amongst the 141.4 million individual tax returns in 2010, on average it took 43 hours and $1,188 to file one tax return. Ryan should work with the Taxpayer Advocate Service to eliminate or simplify the most troublesome deductions, in return for a revenue-neutral income tax rate cut.

3. Repeal Obamacare's medical device excise tax

Under the veil of "medical devices," Obamacare included a tax on manufacturers that sell equipment to hospitals, including prosthetics, pacemakers and MRI machines. Repeal of the tax has garnered bipartisan support from Republicans looking to peel back Obamacare and Senate Democrats with medical device manufacturers in their states, such as Sens. …

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