In recent months there has been a growing congressional interest in the advantages and disadvantages of revamping our current tax system for a flat-rate tax method. Supporters of the new proposal argue that such a plan would promote productivity, simplify present IRS tax forms, save the public billions of dollars that presently go to tax-preparation professionals, and enhance Federal revenue by closing numerous tax loopholes and special deductions that are now enjoyed by relatively few. Opponents believe, however, that the tax burden under a flat-rate plan might fall more heavily upon the middle class and, unless exceptions were made, would hurt educational institutions and charities. Problems with popular tax deductions, such as home mortgage interest, would have to be addressed. This packet provides background materials which discuss the practical and theoretical issues that surround a flat-rate tax, including the probable redistribution of the tax burden under various rates and income bases.
From 1962 to 1971, the United States Air Force (USAF) sprayed various herbicide mixtures (chemicals that kill plants) in South Vietnam. The purpose of the spraying was to defoliate jungle growth to deprive the Communist forces of ground cover, and to destroy enemy crops to restrict food supplies. The most extensively used of these herbicide mixtures was known as Agent Orange, a 50:50 mix of two common herbicides called 1,4,5-T and 2,4-D (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid). The third chemical present in the mixture in small amounts was TCDD, an inevitable by-product of the manufacture of 2,4,5-T. This chemical, called tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin or simply "dioxin," is highly toxic to laboratory animals when administered in its pure form. CRS has been unable to locate any report of a human death from exposure to pure TCDD. This report discusses the human health effects that have occurred from exposure to TCDD, as well as related Congressional concerns.
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