This Commentary proposes the adoption of pay-go procedural rules for tax lawmaking that favor tax cuts that decrease income inequality, in response to biases in distributional tables and distortions in the political process. It suggests that the failure to use present value analysis in the budget process has had unfortunate, unintended consequences, in particular, a congressional preference for a prepaid-type consumption tax. This Commentary argues that efforts to index the Alternative Minimum Tax (the "AMT") should not deflect attention from the AMT's most fundamental distributional problem—its failure to treat dividends and capital gains as preference items. It suggests that there may be some institutional advantages in global sunsets of important tax legislation, even when the legislation is not intended to expire. Finally, this Commentary considers the intersection of budget processes and progressivity in the tax expenditure budget. It argues that the Bush administration's recent changes in the treatment of the corporate tax and its incomplete analysis of comprehensive tax bases, undermine the usefulness of the tax expenditure budget, and have made tax expenditures suddenly appear more progressive, even though they are not.
Linda Sugin, Sustaining Progressivity in the Budget Process: Commentary on Gale and Orszag's an Economic Assessment of Tax Policy in the Bush Administration, 2001-2004, 45 B.C.L. Rev. 1259 (2004), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol45/iss5/7