The Senate bill contains tax provisions designed to favor insurers, timber companies, foreign gamblers, NASCAR track owners, energy companies, and makers of fishing tackle boxes, bow-and-arrow sets, and small planes. The House bill gives $2 billion to tobacco farmers, allows high-tech employees to pay no payroll taxes on stock options, helps bourbon distillers, and permits wealthy taxpayers in states that have no income tax (Texas, Oregon) to deduct sales taxes on their federal 1040 forms.
Egad! The original reason for reforming the corporate tax code was to replace a $5 billion annual tax subsidy for U.S. exporters that was ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization. To compensate companies for this loss, the Senate and House heaped on special-interest tax breaks and reduced the corporate income tax rate, but only for those companies that manufacture in the U.S. (someone needs to tell Congress about the rebound in manufacturing). Lobbyists then persuaded legislators that movie studios and software programmers were "manufacturers." Oh, why not.
Congressional conferees should show courage by telling special-interest lobbyists to get lost. They should then just cut the corporate income tax rate across the board to 32%. And finally, they should pass provisions to simplify the treatment of foreign corporate earnings, allowing overseas profits to be repatriated without penalty. That tax bill would help the economy grow rather than corrupt and distort its workings.