Listening to Myself

Monday, November 15, 2004

Studying Taxation

I have to wonder if studying taxation right now is really a wise choice. I have been reading a number of articles discussing Bush's call for tax reform and this morning it hit me that something might actually change, and perhaps even change dramatically. If so, a great deal of what I'm learning right now could be largely moot in a couple of years.

I wonder how likely significant change is though, given how entrenched all the various lobbying interests are in the Capitol. It would be a significant lessening of the lobbyist's power if they didn't have the minutae of tax code to tinker with anymore. The most recent tax bill passed by Congress and the President in October was a maze of special credits and tax breaks for a huge variety of industries and could be held as evidence that the Republicans are not particularly interested in tax simplification and reform when they are in power.

But still, as Sullivan argues fairly convincingly in a recent article, tax reform is something that unites the Republican party - the libertarians, the fiscal conservatives, and social conservatives. So perhaps there is a chance for fundamental change, especially if Bush throws all his weight behind it.

Personally, I think tax reform and simplification is a fantastic idea, especially after studying the federal tax system for the past couple months. It is a deranged and ridiculously complex system that is begs for a fundamental reevaluation and change. I am not studying taxation because I admire the current system, I am studying taxation because it seems to me to be a fundamental part of making any sort of financial plans. Tax is so tricky and filled with "gotchas" that it seems like you need a good grasp of the system in order to make sure you don't get stuck with unexpected tax costs. If all this could be simplified though, it could change the focus of financial planning significantly.

Maybe I should examine what classes I need to take in order to become an accountant.


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