Keeping on the positive, both David and Howard note the areas of agreement across the six proposals in terms of specific policy ideas, both awarding the “common ground” prize to… [drum roll please]… reducing tax expenditures! David presents the award this way:
[H]ere’s the headline: All six would curb tax income-tax breaks, loopholes, deductions and credits, a.k.a. “tax expenditures” or “spending through the tax code” because Congress uses them as alternatives to explicit spending. “Until recently,” the Peterson Foundation observes, “tax expenditures drew little scrutiny outside budget circles, but the Bowles-Simpson commission put [them] at the center of the public policy debate.”
This unanimity points to the likelihood that any tax increases to which Republicans acquiesce in a deficit deal will curb tax expenditures rather than raise tax rates, perhaps even touching (while not eliminating) tax breaks for mortgages and employer-financed health insurance.
And Howard, this way: