Most of the complexity of tax accounting is complexity that's intrinsic to accounting itself.
NB: If you want to learn more about the theory of the U.S. tax code, I can't recommend this book enough: http://www.amazon.com/Federal-Income-Taxation-Concepts-Insig...
I recommend that everyone read up on the basic mechanics of the U.S. income tax: http://www.amazon.com/Chirelstein-Zelenaks-Taxation-Concepts... (this book is very approachable, and quite short). Things that seem like "creativity" if you're not actually thinking, actually fall out from the mathematics of what you're trying to tax: gains in wealth over time. Things that seem like unnecessary complexity arise naturally in response to the challenge of sampling a continuous function (the value of assets) at discrete points (yearly, or at the time of sale).
The bones of the tax code are pretty elegant. It's complex, but it's complex because accounting is itself very complex. But nobody argues that the complexity of GAAP is a form of corporate welfare. Yes, there's nonsensical cruft layered on top in the form of tax breaks, but those are actually pretty simple in comparison.
Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.