Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) participated in the Finance Committee hearing, "Does the Tax System Support Economic Efficiency, Job Creation and Broad-Based Economic Growth?"


A copy of Sen. Carper's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows:


"Today, the Senate Finance Committee will discuss whether our tax system successfully nurtures job creation, promotes efficiency, and encourages long-run economic growth. One of my four moral guideposts is anything I do I know I can do better. I think we can apply that rule as Congress revisits our nation's tax policy.


"If we're going to create and maintain American jobs, we need government policies that help the United States out educate, out innovate, and out-compete every nation on Earth. As we work to curb our massive federal budget deficit, I think we should also be looking for ways to strengthen our tax code.  We need a modern tax code that invests in a world class American workforce and ensures that our nation can compete and win in an increasingly global economy.


"One key issue hindering job creation is uncertainty. Right now, businesses — small and large alike — are facing a situation where they're not certain that the economic recovery is fully underway. It seems that a large number of businesses are sitting on cash. In particular, many businesses are wondering if, and when, Congress will reform the tax code – and what, exactly, reform will look like. We need to make sure that families and businesses aren't subject to the same last-minute, ad-hoc tax policymaking that is typified by the annual 'tax extenders' process.


"We reformed the tax code 25 years ago, in 1986. Yet, here we are again with a tax code that isn't adequately meeting the needs of American businesses and families. One of the main reasons that tax reform has again become necessary is the proliferation of new and costly tax breaks added to the Tax Code every year. Some of these tax breaks for individuals and corporations are good policy—but others may not be. Many tax breaks are inefficiently designed, lose more revenue that is necessary, and don't deliver benefits to those taxpayers who need them most. As Congress again begins to consider broader reform, I think we should work to clean up the tax code and streamline a number of these tax breaks and loopholes so we can reduce tax rates for all Americans. 


"Finally, when considering the lessons from the 1986 Tax Reform Act, one thing that stands out, above all, is that reform efforts were bipartisan. A Republican President, a Republican Senate, and a Democratic House all worked together to craft a bill that—while far from perfect—was a notable improvement over the status quo at the time. In addition, many of the changes to the tax code that have been enacted since that time were also bipartisan. With comprehensive tax reform – as with so many other critical challenges currently facing our nation – the ability to work across party lines will, I believe, be critical. We need to find reasonable areas of common ground in both the individual and corporate tax arenas."