If this question plagues you don’t feel bad. Between the abilities of the IRS to write succinct and clear documentation and the clouds of misunderstanding I was in the same place. But as it seems to be my lot in life to express things in the shortest possible manner I give you my straightforward and rather simplistic analysis.
1. If you expect to be in a higher tax bracket later, when you actually take money out – use a Roth. You pay less in tax now than then. As a bonus, you’ll pay no tax on the earnings! Another bonus, no mandatory distributions.
2. If you expect to be in a lower tax bracket later, this is where the plot thickens, it might be better to stick with the traditional IRA. Just please consider the bonus’ above.
An IRA – pay tax on the seeds not the trees.
Disclaimer: I am not a Tax specialist. Please be sure to get additional advice from a professional.