Matt Yglesias has unkind words today for Paul Ryan’s alleged “tax return on a postcard.” As he notes, we pretty much already have this in the Form 1040EZ, which would fit on a postcard if it weren’t for added fluff like room for your name and address and spaces for you to sign at the bottom. If anything, though, I think Yglesias is too kind. Here is my annotated version of Ryan’s postcard:
In other words, cut the crap. If you have simple wage income and take the standard deduction, your taxes are already postcard simple. For anyone else, the tricky part is calculating your income based on the rules passed by Congress and enforced by the IRS. Ryan’s postcard does nothing to change that, which means that in real life your postcard will be accompanied by dozens or hundreds of pages of additional worksheets, schedules, and references.
But who cares, right? Honesty is for suckers these days.