Obama Tax Reform Outline Draws Skeptics

Regarding industry-specific incentives, Gale said he preferred a system that taxes non-renewable energy over the proposed renewable energy subsidy, and he was not in favor of the manufacturing deduction.

"A subsidy to any one particular area is the equivalent of a net tax increase on everyone else," he said, adding that the administration's framework is "very good" on that score generally, removing a whole range of subsidies.

"I don't think that manufacturing merits special treatment, from an economic viewpoint," Gale said. "And from a political viewpoint, I am worried that once one starts introducing special treatment of one area of the economy, it undermines the case that other areas shouldn't also get special treatment."

The Heritage Foundation's Dubay said the president's plan does not lower the corporate tax rate enough, saying the United States is one of the few countries that taxes its businesses on income they earn in foreign markets.

Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich each said they would make the statutory rate even lower, cutting it to 17.5, 15 and 12.5 percent, respectively.

"The plan reduces the rate but makes things a lot worse for international businesses," Dubay said, citing the proposed minimum tax on foreign earnings.

Tax policy now provides a deferral so companies are taxed when they bring money earned abroad back to the United States.

Gale of the Tax Policy Center said reducing the corporate rate to 28 percent would get the United States more in line with other countries.

A senior administration official said "it's very difficult" to go below 28 percent while maintaining some tax incentives for U.S. economic interests.

ABC News' Devin Dwyer contributed to this report.

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