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Ramesh Ponnuru

Tax Reform: Still Not Happening

In theory, Democrats and Republicans have common ground to reform the tax code. Here's why they won't.
More of the same.

More of the same.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Tax reformers' hope springs eternal, but don't bet on a big tax deal in 2015 or 2016. Don't bet on a medium-sized one either.

The parties are too far apart to enact a sweeping reform of the U.S. tax code that includes the personal-income tax. Most Republicans want fewer tax breaks, lower rates and especially a lower top rate, and they don't want the total tax burden to rise. Democrats want fewer tax breaks, too, but they count different provisions as "breaks." And they want to increase revenue.