November 19th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Zakaria: How to fix the tax code

"Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

By Fareed Zakaria

Now that President Obama has won re-election, the debate in Washington has shifted from whether we should raise taxes, to how and by how much. This makes sense – with a deficit over a trillion dollars, we will need a combination of increased tax revenues and spending cuts.

The president and his allies, including Robert Rubin, have made the case that eliminating deductions simply will not get you enough money – you will actually have to raise tax rates. That’s probably true as well. But let’s not give up entirely on the issue of deductions and all those other hidden subsidies that the Simpson-Bowles report accurately called “backdoor spending hidden in the tax code.”

Watch the video for the full Take.

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Topics: Economy

soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. rightospeak

    What we need is a simple tax code so that people are not so confused and need to hire other people to do their taxes. Jimmy Carter talked about simplyfing our tax code and it was,just talk. Why are there loopholes ? Because our representatives are in the pocket of the special interest groups. If one pays a certain % of their income why should it be capped at some figure ? Why not to include all income ? D.C. is so corrupt that there is little hope for any change. They always seem to be barking up the wrong tree. You need money to pay your debt ? Stop spending it on endless wars ! Too simple , ha ? Ron Paul should have been the president just for that idea alone. The Republican Party blew it .

    November 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  2. william

    I think rich people should pay more taxes because they have all this money and the average middle class don't but yet we both pay the same amount of taxes. Its not really fear to the average middle class. It wouldn't hurt for the rich people to pay a little more on their taxes. If they was to rise the taxes on every one then the average middle class would struggle even more then what they are now. So, if they was to rise taxes then they should only rise them on the rich and not the average middle class.

    November 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  3. Hahahahhahaha

    Sure. Let's have a flat tax!!! A flat 50% with the first $250,000 exempt!!!! don't really want a flat tax at all. You really want a tax "break"!!!!!!! Hahahahahahahahahah

    November 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  4. jennifer holland

    It is simple: eliminate federal taxes for those earning 125K or under and then tax at a sliding scale for incomes over 125K this would stimulate the economy from the bottom up

    November 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  5. jennifer holland

    America is becoming too polarized and an ever widening chasm is being created between the very rich and the poor – look at history – alll the countries where the same thing was allowed to happen – if you don't have a strong middle class you don't have a strong country. Giving the middle class more income by eliminating the federal taxes to 125K would only strengthen the US economy. If not – I fear we will go from the fascist state we are under now to full anarchy.

    November 20, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  6. David Lipton

    Fareed Zakaria you sir have never ever had anything valid to say please leave journalism as a job. I here they need new workers on the hostess brands once they get sold. Maybe you can work on the HO HO line you schmuk.

    November 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  7. Rick McDaniel

    The truth is.......Obama wants to raise tax rates on SALARIED people. he has NOT mentioned raising the rates on capital gains at ALL!

    So.......he is simply LYING about taxing the wealthy, in the FIRST PLACE! The wealthy pay capital gains tax and NOT regular income tax.

    The real truth is.........if you wanted to reduce the debt (and Obama doesn't) you would have to take all of the money from all of the wealthy, and make the wealthy middle class citizens. That might be popular........but you can only do that ONCE! Then there are no longer any wealthy to tax.

    CNN has been spreading the Obama propaganda so long now, they really don't see the real truth anymore. CNN is simply a propaganda machine for Obama.........spreading lies and deceit.

    November 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  8. Mary Vaughan

    I Just stumbled on this Global Public Square site. I find it shocking to read how ignorant and biased some of the comments made appear. I am a great supporter of Fareed Zakaria. I do not know the details of the "plagerism" charge mentioned, but anyeducated peson is exposed to the words of others. Reinforsing them is part and parcel of journalism. Much easier for me to understand than the garbage posted above. Bad apples like these can ruin much and contribute nothing of value. I wonder if they actually read what they send. Comparing themselves to informed professionals is pretty lame. They seem to swallow the hooks cast by special interests. The power of this benefits the privileged and dupes the less fortunate. We as a whole squabble over the small stuff, while they gain control of the stuff that makes them even more rich and powerful. The joke is on the middle class, as they are disappearing as we fight among ouselves..

    November 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  9. daliya robson

    Christions talk of Jesus as lord and teacher. Was he not a jewish hippy socialist rabbi? Lets do some more of Jesus talk in this christian country. Lets feed the hungry and share the bread and fishes. How about some redistrubution. After all did not the billioniares get ridh on the backs of the serfs and slaves in this counrty and other countries.? We have feudalism in usa and we need to have a peasants revolt and even things out .

    November 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  10. grout7

    If you have something useful to say, can't you write it? How about a transcript?

    November 25, 2012 at 12:43 am | Reply
  11. DC Fiscal Observer

    There can be no serious talk of deficit and debt reduction if DC talks of tax increases only on the wealthy. That is a non starter if we are to fix our broken fiscal nation. The last time this country balanced an annual budget was under Clinton, and at that time, the Bush Tax cuts were not in effect for anybody - in other words we had jumped off that so called cliff and we had higher taxes on both the wealthy and middle america. Since then, expenditures have risen and tax revenue has fallen. To think we can end the Bush cuts only on the wealthy and fix our problems is a lie. Extending the bush tax cuts for anybody is akin to kicking the can down the road to the next generation. To avoid a Greek like tragedy in this county, we need not jump or drive off thd cliff, but we do need to climb down the cliff to a lower level – and that means some sort of tax increase for ALL – the wealthy, the middle class, and those presently flying below the tax radar altogether ( tax cheats, illegal immigtants, and foreign visitors). It will be far better to endure another mild and hopefully short recession now, rather than face the sort of austerity cuts Greece is facing today (how would you like your pensions cut 35% all you teachers, government workers, police, fire, et al?).

    Presicdent Obama campaigned on fiscal courage and fiscal discipline -- he told us in 2008 that America deserved better. Since taking office, he has shown neither. In fact, not only has he never balanced a budget, he has never pased a budget in his own Democratically controlled government.

    We need spending cuts; some tax increases on all Americans; and some sort of national federal sales tax to increase revenues from all parties - the sales tax gets the cheats, illegals, and foreigners contributing something, and it also will derive more revenue from the wealthy (they do spend more you know).

    Mr President, we need a leader. To date, all you have done is vote "Present". If you continue the charade and the rhetoric of "fair share" and tax increases for the wealthy only, you will kick this deficit and debt can down the road to the end of your second term - and that would be a travesty and a cruel joke on America – a slick move on your part, but it will forever label you a failure and poor leader at a time when we needed so much more. So, for the sake of the nation, stand up and stop with the political class warfare and smoke screens and show some fiscal courage and leadership. All we have heard so far is USELESS POLITICAL SPAM

    November 26, 2012 at 9:43 am | Reply
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