Views on Tax Policy and Reform - From the Likely New Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee


By Ron Kramer

In a speech before the Tax Council in Washington, D.C. on November 16, Representative Dave Camp, R-MI, outlined his priorities for U.S. tax policy and reform. In January 2011, Rep. Camp is expected to take over the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, the committee charged with overseeing tax laws, trade policy and entitlements. Some of Rep. Camp’s views on tax policy and reform that he will push as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee include:

  • Support of full extension of the Bush era tax cuts for all taxpayers - “Decoupling” of the rates is totally unacceptable.
  • Immediate push of a bill to the Senate that extends the tax rates for all taxpayers if the lame duck Congress pushes a decision on tax rates to next year.
  • The need for U.S. comprehensive tax reform that expands the tax base and lowers tax rates.
  • Principles for reform of the tax code - which include making it:
    • Fairer
    • Simpler
    • More conducive to growth

In his speech, Rep. Camp said:

“Yes, I aim to launch and fight the tax reform battle once again. And, I am well aware that this might ruffle those who have used the tax code to benefit particular industries or activities at the expense of economic efficiency, simplicity, and fairness. The tax code should collect the revenue the government needs as efficiently as possible. It should not be a tool of industrial policy. I recognize that progress in this direction will not be easy. But what Washington needs to understand is that the American people are demanding action, and, more importantly, they are demanding results.”

This statement appears to indicate Rep. Camp’s desire to kill many of the tax incentives and perks directed at specific industries.  He expressed his desire to end the policy of “Crony Capitalism.”  It will be interesting to see what opposition he may get from within his own party over these measures. Rep. Camp believes that “politics and politicians should not choose the industry of the day.”

An article in the Wall Street Journal on November 22, 2010, pointed out that Rep. Camp, a Republican from Michigan, has sided with the Democrats on some issues. These issues have included:

  • Helping the unemployed;
  • Protecting displaced workers and vulnerable industries in trade agreements;
  • Protecting the U.S. Auto Industry in trade agreements with South Korea; and 
  • Supporting the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler.

Perhaps this experience of bi-partisanship will help him shepherd his tax policies through a divided Congress.




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This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax-related matter.

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