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Can Congress Use Budget Rules To Improve Tax Policy?

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Publication Date: October 2006

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Rudolph G. Penner

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Government (Public finance)

Keywords: Economy; Federal Budgets & Fiscal Policy; Tax Policy; Tax Reform

Type: Report


Ovid said that "Gods have their own rules." So does Congress--a vast multitude of rules. The history of the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 and the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 is one in which rules have been promulgated; Congress has found loopholes in those rules; more rules have been designed to plug the loopholes; and then the process starts over again. The end result is a set of budget rules that is so complicated that no single human understands them all. The whole panoply of rules associated with the congressional budget process needs a critical reexamination.