'Keep It Simple, Stupid'

Lawrence Kudlow on

Editor's Note: Lawrence Kudlow is off this week. The following is a column by Stephen Moore.

One of the most enduring lessons from the American health care fiasco is that to win a political battle it is best to keep the message simple. If there are too many moving parts to a plan, if Americans don't understand what the politicians are doing, or if there are parts of a bill they don't like, it probably will go down in flames.

Most people don't like Obamacare, but when they couldn't understand the Republican alternative, they chose the devil they knew versus the devil they didn't.

Which brings us to the tax-cut fight. Larry Kudlow, Steve Forbes and I (founders of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity) have been pleading with Congress to keep the debate focused on three simple reforms:

1) Cut tax rates for large and small businesses to 15 percent to make America competitive and to create jobs.

2) Repatriate $2.5 trillion of money held by American companies back to the United States at a 10 percent tax rate.

3) Double the standard deduction for every family and individual tax filer.

And that's it. Hard stop. No border tax. No carbon tax. No surtax on rich people. No end of popular tax deductions. You can't get the tax base broadened without a single Democratic vote helping you do it, so don't try to roll this boulder up the hill.

This is a jobs bill that cuts taxes. Republicans are first and foremost a tax-cutting party. President Donald Trump himself has said it will be "the biggest tax cut since Reagan." Revenue neutrality is a bad idea that will kill tax reform. If one person's taxes go up to pay for someone else's to go down, there's not much economic gain and the loser is going to make a lot more noise than the winner. With a tax cut, everyone wins.

The good news for Republicans is that the three components of this tax plan are all things that Trump campaigned on and are popular with voters. An Investors Business Daily poll in May found that 55 percent of voters support the 15 percent business tax rate. Another 66 percent support the tax cut for families, and 75 percent support repatriation.


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