Former congressional tax counsels John Buckley and Jon Traub on Tuesday sparred over the recent experiment by the Joint Committee on Taxation to see how much marginal tax rates could be reduced if certain major tax expenditures, including tax exemption, were eliminated.

The results were detailed in a JCT 14-page letter to leaders of the Senate Finance Committee late last week. It found that eliminating the tax expenditures would generate enough revenue to pay for repealing the alternative minimum tax and reducing marginal tax rates by 4% without adding to the federal deficit. The top individual tax rate of 39.6%, for example, would only be reduced to 38.02%.

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