BEYOND THE NUMBERS
[T]here are impediments to . . . eliminating or reducing tax expenditures, because they are viewed as serving an important purpose, are important for distributional reasons, are technically difficult to change, or are broadly used by the public and quite popular. Given the barriers to eliminating or reducing most tax expenditures, it may prove difficult to gain more than $100 billion to $150 billion in additional tax revenues [in 2014] through base broadening.Savings of this magnitude, CRS explains, “would not allow for significant reductions in tax rates”; they would offset the cost of only “about a one or two percentage point reduction.” The basic math of tax reform, as outlined here, isn’t well enough understood. But if tax reform is going to be fiscally responsible, policymakers are going to have to learn it.