The Republican's proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the archetypical tax reform bill: it lowers taxes but increases the Code's complexity. High taxes are bad, but a complex tax code is worse. America deserves better.
Finally, complexity breeds corruption. The more complex the Tax Code, the more places there are to hide goodies for special interests and donors. For example, you can deduct up to $10,000 in taxable income for repairs to your whaling boat if you have one (and yes, whaling is mostly illegal). Likewise, men are allowed to deduct up to $14,500 in taxable income for surgical operations to make them look like women. Â Women can probably do the same in reverse, although it has not yet been litigated. Â Deductions like these would not be available if the Code were simpler.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a decent stab at tax reform, but if Congress is serious about reform, it must focus on simplification, not cuts.