The Presidency of the United States is an office governed by custom and ritual; some of them as old as the Republic, such as the State of the Union address and the Inauguration ceremony, others of more recent vintage, such as proclaiming Mother’s Day. Now the President has a new ritual, appointing a panel of experts to recommend an overhaul of our federal tax system within 1 year, subject to certain restrictions that are virtually guaranteed to produce a “DOA” report.
President Bush appointed a bi-partisan panel that included the President’s current nominee for the critical post of Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy: USC Professor Elizabeth Garrett. It’s Executive Director was the earnest and competent Jeffrey Kupfer, who had served as a top aid to Treasury Secretary Snowe and was later a top official at the Department of Energy.
The Panel held a prodigious number of public hearings in several cities and heard testimony from former Treasury Secretaries and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve as well as leading practitioners and academic writers on tax reform. The Panel kept great records and posted everything online at the website www.taxreformpanel.gov.
Now, apparently to avoid any confusion with the new and improved version of tax reform, the new Adminsitration has taken all this work down. But, happily, Taxreformpanel.gov circa June 2007 can still be found in the internet archive.