ON-Lion Letter
In late-January 2007 testimony, National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) president and chief executive officer John Goodman told the U.S. House of RepresentativesWays and Means Committee that “the most important problems faced by middle-income working families today are not problems that arise from the nature of our economic system.  Instead, they are problems caused by outdated public policies.”

Based in Dallas, NCPA is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.

“The basic structure of tax law, labor law, employee benefits law and a host of other institutions was formulated 50 or 60 years ago by policymakers who made assumptions about how life would be lived,” NCPA’s Goodman said.  Policymakers assumed that employees would work for the same employer for most of their adult lives, that most men and women would marry and stay married, and that workable social insurance could be managed by bureaucratic government agencies.

“Clearly, these assumptions no longer describe the world in which we live,” he observed.  “Accordingly, institutions designed for the 20th century are unworkable and inadequate for the 21st century.”

Goodman generally recommended that social insurance be reformed to allow employee benefits to be personally owned and portable -- traveling with employees from job to job.  Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k) plans, and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are all positive developments, he said, but more needs to be done.

Specifically, among other things, he further suggested that there should be a “level playing field” under the tax law, so that people who save on their own for retirement or purchase health insurance, long-term-care insurance, day care, etc., receive just as much tax relief as people who obtain these benefits at work.  The tax system, moreover, should not penalize two-earner couples; at a minimum, both spouses should be able to file completely separate tax returns.

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