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>> If we get a VAT and lower income tax rates as a compensation, then conversion is a disaster.
There are lots of IRA conversions calculators on the web. I would use several and compare the results
And of course as you pointed out, how many current deductions will you lose by being put into a higher bracket by doing the conversion.

Who knows what congress will cook up over the next 10-20 years?

Which, IMO, is why diversification is not only important in terms of one's asset allocation but also in terms of holding accounts with varied tax treatment (taxable accounts, Roth vehicles, traditional IRA/401Ks). I have no idea what the tax laws will be when I withdraw, but by owning a considerable chunk in all these types of accounts I have the best chance of "engineering" a way to generate income that minimizes taxes.

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