April 17, 2012, today, is Tax Day. Because of an obscure holiday, we taxpayers have an extra day to file our income tax forms for 2011. (The traditional day, April 15, fell on a Sunday.)
Because Monday was the District of Columbia's Emancipation Day, all of us who put things off to the last minute gained an extra day to fill out those Internal Revenue Service forms.
Tax Day this year has an interesting twist because of the presidential elections coming up in November. Both Republicans and Democrats are talking about taxes, although neither side has serious proposals.
The Republicans simply say "no new taxes." The president and his fellow Democrats are pushing the "Buffett Rule." Named after investor Warren Buffett, it simply says that millionaires should pay as large a percentage of their income in taxes as the people who work for them. The president keeps saying the rich should pay a 30 percent tax rate.
The only problem with the president's proposal is that both sides - Democrats and Republicans - admit the "Buffett Rule" will raise less than $50 billion for the federal treasury over the next decade. That is less than 4 percent of what the deficit is for a single year!
In short, the Buffett Rule and "No New Taxes" are election-year gimmicks - not serious attempts at addressing tax reform or the federal deficit.
Because of the election, don't expect any serious proposals this year. We are going to be stuck with our thousands of pages of tax code and interpretations for at least another year. Tax reform is an orphan in this election year.
If one needed another reason to consider voting against incumbents, the cowardly dodge on tax reform is a great one. Washington needs fresh faces who are willing to tackle the ominous financial problems facing our government.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.