The status quo tax code benefits the few

Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee Chair Peter Roskam (R-IL) on the House floor this week:

Mr. Speaker, my friend from Massachusetts said this is a missed opportunity. This is no missed opportunity. What we are witnessing is the seizing of an opportunity.

During the debate, our friends on the other side of the aisle, in 25 hours of markup last week, offered amendment after amendment after amendment. I think it was about 25 amendments.

Do you know what every one of the amendments did, Mr. Speaker? It restored the status quo. It put something back in, put another thing back in, defended something else, and so forth. There was no comprehensive offer of an amendment in the nature of a substitute that would have been transformational.

There is no exclusion here. We debated. We are now here, and for the first time since 1986, we are on the cusp of seizing an opportunity and having a transformational moment.

Here is the transformation:

When the Tax Code was last amended 30 years ago–think about it–the internet didn’t exist as a commercial enterprise. Yes, it has fully developed, and we have got a Tax Code that was built for yesterday.

The global nature of supply chains were nowhere nearly as intricately interlinked, yet we have got a Tax Code that was built for yesterday.

The shared economy–Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, all of those things–didn’t exist, yet we have got a Tax Code that was built for yesterday.

Who does the status quo benefit, Mr. Speaker? It benefits the few. It benefits the privileged. It benefits the folks at the top of the economic scale of things.

So what this is doing is proposing a very different approach. It says we are going to make the United States the most competitive jurisdiction in the world by giving business tax relief and welcoming back commercial enterprise and growth and prosperity and ingenuity and investment–that does what? It creates paychecks and it expands opportunities.

Kids graduated from college shouldn’t have to grub around piecing together two jobs and living in their parents’ basement. How absurd. We can do much better. We are the biggest, best economy in the world, and it is time we acted like it.

This is transformational. To lean back and away from this and say, oh, this Tax Code is a natural disaster; it is too big and too overwhelming and we can’t deal with it is nonsense. We fundamentally reject that.

We are going to be measured in the future, Mr. Speaker, by this moment. I thank Chairman Brady for his leadership in creating this crescendo, because now is the time to act. Let’s not defend the status quo. Let’s move forward, and let’s transform this economy.