ATR has long said that the so-called "Congressional Supercommittee" should focus entirely on spending cuts. After all, Washington's problem is that it spends too much money, and you don't solve that by raising taxes. That's why we've advised the Supercommittee members to avoid taxes as a topic at all.
Should the Supercommittee decide to look at taxes, it should avoid net tax increases at all costs. If the Supercommittee reports a net tax hike, it will probably be a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and will certainly be opposed by Americans for Tax Reform.
Finally, should the Supercommittee decide to look at taxes in a revenue-neutral way, we have said there are some tax changes which should be off the table. The capital gains tax rate should not be hiked, for instance. Another basic idea is that retroactive tax hikes should be avoided.
There are fewer things more unfair that the government can do than to retroactively hike someone's taxes. It's grossly unfair for families and businesses to make decisions with the tax consequences in mind only for Congress to change its mind when it's too late to do any differently. This bait-and-switch offends basic principles of good government. In fact, the U.S. Constitution prohibits "ex post facto" laws for just this reason.
The Supercommittee should follow the lead of the Founding Fathers and basic common sense by avoiding any retroactive tax increases, even in the context of revenue-neutral tax reform. They simply aren't fair.
What do you think? Should Congress be able to retroactively raise taxes?