Not everything in Mr. Camp’s fine print strikes us as sensible. He would leave the favorable treatment of investment income for top earners, a major source of the growing rich-poor gap, basically intact. His plan takes gratuitous aim at Obamacare, sacrificing $29.5 billion in needed revenue (over 10 years) by eliminating an excise tax on medical devices. Its revenue estimates depend too heavily on improved efficiency in the earned-income tax credit, a program that is admittedly plagued by overpayments but is also a vital, effective support for low-income workers. Revenue neutrality is not necessarily desirable, given the country’s long-term fiscal problems.
Still, Mr. Camp’s proposal is a serious approach to a serious problem. It sets a standard of specificity that future gripers about our broken tax system should have to meet. It acknowledges that, for rates to come down, some popular loopholes will have to be constricted. It leans in favor of GOP priorities, to be sure, but incorporates some Democratic ones. And for all those reasons, no one on Capitol Hill seems interested.