Saturday, September 11, 2010

Good to hear, my career

According to this article in The New Republic, the new chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers is committed to "what works." That's good to know. I would hate for an economist to be committed to what doesn't work.

On a more serious note, the article mentions two of Goolsbee's controversial ideas:

One pet interest of Goolsbee’s is performance pay for government employees (an idea that sometimes drives unions to distraction). Another is a policy-innovation he’s dubbed the “automatic tax return.” Under Goolsbee’s proposal, the IRS would send a filled-out tax return to everyone with straight-forward finances. If the taxpayer agreed with the government’s accounting, they could just sign it and send it back. (If not, they’d be free to prepare their taxes independently.) Goolsbee has estimated that this change could save Americans billions in tax-preparation fees each year.

I like both of these ideas. Even though the automatic tax return would cost me money (I plan to work as a tax preparer this season), I still support it. It would save Americans millions of dollars in tax preparation fees. There would be far less audits—it would be really hard for the government to accuse you of dishonesty when they filled out the return.

I'll probably have to find a new career, alas, but there are always winners and losers in everything.

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