When we say broaden the base by removing deductions and credits, we should be serious about that. Thus, even the holy trinity of mortgage interest deduction, charitable donation deduction, and employer provided health insurance deduction should be scrapped. The extra revenue could finance a large reduction in marginal rates.
Americans remain generous. Even without a tax incentive, Americans will give to worthy causes, as they give now to political campaigns.
A simple code makes its incentives transparent. A simple code vastly reduces compliance costs. And most of all, a simple code is much more clearly fair. Americans now look at the tax code and suspect — often rightly — that rich smart people with clever lawyers are getting away with things. Our voluntary tax code depends vitally on removing this suspicion.
Zero is zero. If you don’t kill a tax completely, it keeps coming back like zombies in a science fiction movie. If you don’t kill a tax completely, you do nothing to simplification of the tax code.