Go big or go home

President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney both released plans this week that would make important changes to the U.S. tax code.

The problem with both of them, however, is that they only nibble at the edges of this nation’s massive financial problems.

As former Sen. Alan Simpson said when he spoke in Grand Junction Monday, Washington policy makers who seek to attack our financial problems should “go big or go home.”

Simpson and Erskine Bowles have offered one such big proposal. The Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan would rewrite much of the tax code, eliminate most deductions and tax credits, and reform entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare while significantly cutting federal spending.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan also put forth a big plan last year to deal with the nation’s budget and debt problems, as well as entitlement programs. Late last year, he modified the Medicare part of his plan in cooperation with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.

The plans released this week by Obama and Romney only address portions of the tax code. Earlier, Romney also released a plan to substantially reform Social Security and Medicare, something Obama has not done.

Cutting the corporate tax rate, as Obama suggested, in order to encourage business growth is a welcome idea.

Romney’s plan to cut the personal income tax rates across the board would be sensible if it were accompanied by large-scale elimination of tax deductions and credits. He has said only that some as-yet-unidentified deductions would be cut.

Putting forth major plans that tackle all of our most serious financial issues is a risky endeavor. But most Americans realize something drastic needs to be done.

The politician who embraces a big plan to address the nation’s financial woes will no doubt incur the wrath of people on the left and right. But we believe the person who does that will also win the support of millions of Americans eager for such a fix.


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