Supply-side guru Arthur Laffer has commissioned a study, which he summarizes in today's Wall Street Journal op-ed page, showing the tax code creates massive compliance costs:
In a study published last week by the Laffer Center, my colleagues Wayne Winegarden, John Childs and I estimate that these costs alone are a staggering $431 billion annually. This is a cost markup of 30 cents on every dollar paid in taxes. And this is not even a complete accounting of the costs of tax complexity.
You may be wondering what this has to do with reducing tax rates for the rich. Laffer proceeds to explains:
A tax reform to a simple flat-rate tax with no deductions would significantly reduce the current complexity inherent in our progressive tax system, which is full of loopholes, exemptions and special interest carve-outs. Based on the estimates from our new study, if a static, revenue-neutral flat-tax reform were to reduce the tax complexity in half, the long-term growth in our economy would increase by around one-half of 1% per year.
Of course, complexity is not "inherent in our progressive tax system." It's inherent in any tax system. There's absolutely no reason to believe that, once the progressivity of the income tax is eliminated, politicians would not continue to create loopholes, tax credits and other deductions. It will probably never be possible to go through a tax day without having right-wingers attempt to convince us that we could make our taxes easier by shifting a higher proportion of the tax burden off the rich and onto the poor and/or middle class.