6 ways to make tax reform happen

Here are six ideas that can guide Congress to a tax reform-deal that both parties should be able to live with – a deal that will raise necessary revenue and help pay down the debt.

4. Reform health-related tax breaks

Many employers provide health benefits for their employees, but employees don’t pay tax on these benefits. Excluding them from taxable wages is the single biggest tax break in the entire code, costing the federal government almost $200 billion each year. 

Not only that, the exclusion also encourages giving employees overly lavish health insurance plans in lieu of additional wages. Capping or phasing-out the exclusion would increase revenue to help pay down the federal debt and lower private health-care spending. It should even help reverse the trend of stagnating middle class wages, as employers shift some compensation back toward cash.

Further, the current tax code subsidizes health costs that not even lavish health plans cover, through Flexible Spending Accounts. Eliminating this subsidy would help to pay down the debt by upward of $100 billion over 10 years.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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