“With the impending expiration of tax cuts and emergency unemployment benefits having already run out,” Concord says in a new issue brief, “action must be taken on those items more swiftly than would be ideal, to prevent damage to the fragile economic recovery. However, there can still be conditions or commitments set along with this agreement that would pave the way for a fiscally prudent set of reforms.”
Concord praises the temporary nature of the proposed extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. But without tax reform, there will be strong political pressure in 2012 to simply enact another deficit-financed extension.
Shortly after President Obama announced a tentative deal on the tax cuts and unemployment benefits with Republicans last week, Concord called for elected officials to put a high priority on approving a comprehensive reform plan to make the tax code simpler, more fair and more efficient.
Concord also believes that fiscal responsibility will require substantial cuts in discretionary domestic spending, the defense budget and the big entitlement programs.
Compared to extending the Bush-era tax cuts, the bill's proposed “payroll tax holiday” next year, while it would also increase the deficit, offers more "bang for the buck" in stimulating the economy.