Gang of Six Plan: Right Answer or Smoke and Mirrors?
It's a real question; I haven't looked into the details of the plan and any serious effort to do so would probably take a good deal of work. The plan as described seems to me a sensible compromise along the lines I suggested in an earlier post: "Raise" taxes only by eliminating tax expenditures, features of the tax code designed to subsidize particular taxpayers and activities. And the gang of six proposal claims to do it by broadening the base enough to lower marginal rates, thus reducing the inefficient incentives due to the tax system.
What I don't know is how much substance there is to the proposal, in particular to the expenditure cuts. Does it go beyond "spend $X less on program Y," which is likely to get changed at the point when it is supposed to be implemented and supporters of program Y point out all the terrible consequences—as has happened repeatedly with bogus medicare cuts? Or is more of it along the lines of "raise the age of eligibility for Social Security by a month a year for the next twenty-four years," which one can imagine actually happening and which would have a significant effect?
Any readers who have looked more carefully at the proposals than I have and would like to comment?