Tag Archives: taxation

A smorgasbord for the swamp creatures: GOP tax plan is a gift for lobbyists

Source: Salon
by Taylor Lincoln

“Congress is on the brink of passing legislation that would overhaul the tax code in myriad ways to benefit corporations, prosperous partnerships and the wealthiest Americans. Meanwhile, a search of disclosure reports filed with the U.S. Senate reveals that more than 6,200 people have lobbied on taxes this year, and more than 4,200 on ‘tax reform,’ specifically. Even by Washington standards, the sheer scale of this tax lobbying offensive is staggering. The 6,200 lobbyists working on taxes account for 57 percent of all federal lobbyists. That’s more than 11 lobbyists for every member of Congress. Put another way, it’s as if nearly the entire undergraduate enrollment at Georgetown University descended onto Capitol Hill … permanently. … More than 30 lobbyists who worked on Trump’s campaign, his transition or had other close ties to Trump or Vice President Mike Pence have drawn paychecks for lobbying on taxes this year. That is the swamp at its swampiest.” (12/11/17)


“Tax reform”: Dump the home mortgage interest deduction

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

“For obvious reasons, people who are in the process of buying homes love the home mortgage interest deduction. It lets them claw back a little bit of money they’d otherwise pay to Uncle Sam. About 20% of American taxpayers benefit from the deduction each year, and politicians want their votes. Politicians also love campaign contributions from the other parties who benefit even more from this deduction — home builders, realtors, and mortgage bankers and brokers. I’m a big fan of tax cuts. In any amount, of any kind, for anybody. The less money the government takes from Americans, the better. But I’d rather those cuts didn’t come in the form of ‘targeted’ deductions or credits.”


The tax bill could backfire on the economy

Source: Niskanen Center
by Ed Dolan

“The tax bill pending before Congress has raised the hopes of many people, like myself, who favor sweeping tax reform. It includes imperfect but recognizable versions of several measures long advocated as steps toward greater tax efficiency and fairness. These include cuts in corporate tax rates, increases in the standard deduction linked to a scaling back of itemized deductions, and a gesture toward reform of income support policy in the form of a modest expansion of child tax credits. Although it is now clear that none of these will be implemented in a way that is fully satisfactory, some reformers declare themselves willing to at least grudgingly support the bill as a whole. Before doing so, however, I suggest taking a clear-eyed look at some of the possible less pleasant consequences of the bill.” (12/06/17)


Tax tinkering

Source: Independent Institute
by Randall Holcombe

“It appears the Congress is getting closer to passing a tax reform bill. While there are differences between the current House and Senate versions, they are close enough that it is easy to see that they can be reconciled and tax reform legislation can be passed this year. Reform on the individual income tax looks like some tinkering with its provisions, not a major reform. The major reform is in the corporate income tax, which would significantly lower rates and provide other benefits.” (12/04/17)


Report: Fear of extortionists drove Golden Krust CEO to suicide

Source: New York Post

“The founder of the Golden Krust Jamaican beef patty empire killed himself amid fears the feds were investigating him for evading millions of dollars in taxes, The Post has learned. A family member told detectives that Lowell Hawthorne, 57, admitted the huge tax debt [sic] to some of his relatives, and was ‘acting funny’ and ‘talking to himself’ in the hours before his suicide, a law enforcement source said Sunday. … The Jamaican immigrant started Golden Krust with a single fast-food eatery on East Gun Hill Road in the Bronx and opened 16 more across the city before launching a franchise operation in 1996. The company now has more than 120 outlets in nine states, and sells its beef patties in more than 20,000 supermarkets, as well as to the city school system, state penal system and US military, according to a news release issued last year.” (12/04/17)


The ObamaCare mandate is a tax, so the Senate bill is correct

Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Jeffrey A Tucker

“The Washington Post is outraged. The New York Times even more so. Commentators are going nuts. ‘Using a tax bill to abolish the individual mandate amounts to a backdoor way of sabotaging Obamacare,’ writes John Cassidy. ‘Republicans, and Donald Trump, have counted on that (as well as your limited outrage bandwidth) in slipping an Affordable Care Act mandate repeal inside their insidious tax bill,’ writes Bridget Read. All this howling is due to how the GOP-controlled Senate used a tax bill to repeal a health bill. The implication is that this is something shady and duplicitous, like an exercise in false pretense. Actually, there is absolutely nothing shady about the repeal of the Obamacare mandate. There is no back door here. No bait and switch. Obamacare’s much-despised individual mandate is, in fact, a tax. It is properly dealt with in a tax bill. Don’t take my word for it. This is precisely what the Supreme Court itself ruled in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012).” (12/02/17)


House bill >>>>>>>>> Senate bill

Source: EconLog
by Scott Sumner

“Let’s hope the House wins at least a few battles in committee, because the Senate tax bill has a number of disappointing features …. I wonder if this partly reflects the characteristics of the two leaders. Paul Ryan has a reputation as being someone who cares about public policy, whereas Mitch McConnell is often described as someone who likes to make deals.” (12/02/17)


Deep in the heart of taxes

Source: J Neil Schulman @ Rational Review
by J Neil Schulman

“What is the national debt today? Somewhere around 23 trillion bucks? And if you figure in future obligations — Social Security, Medicare, promises made to veterans for wounds sustained in endless undeclared wars — I hear the debt comes to somewhere around 160 trillion bucks. President Donald Trump is calling for significant tax cuts to attract foreign investment, give corporations reason to build new factories in America, bring jobs back to America. Of course I noted in Alongside Night — published in 1979 — that if the government keeps spending more money than it collects in taxes and tariffs the only way to pay for that spending is for the Federal Reserve to make each dollar worth less, a hidden tax. So anyone who claims that tax cuts ‘have to be paid for’ — while making the obnoxious claim that anything the people say they own has a lien from the goddam guvmint — they are in fact pointing to a basic principle of reality: you can’t get something out of nothing. What’s a libertarian to do? How about this? Tell the truth.” (11/30/17)


Senate GOP votes to begin debate on tax bill

Source: The Hill

“The Senate voted to begin debate on its tax cut bill Wednesday, edging Republicans closer to their first major legislative victory under President Trump as they seek to finish the chamber’s work on the measure by the end of the week. Senators voted 52-48 to take up the House-passed legislation, which is being used as a vehicle for the Senate bill. … The vote starts the clock on 20 hours of additional debate on the tax legislation before a freewheeling ‘vote-a-rama.’ During that process, any senator can demand a vote on any amendment, with hundreds of potential changes typically being filed.” (11/29/17)


GOP tax plan would not shrink the size of the federal government

Source: Tenth Amendment Center
by Mike Maharrey

“The middle class is not getting tax relief under the GOP tax plan currently under consideration. It’s getting big government on a credit card. This is yet another indication that the size and scope of the federal government never shrinks, no matter which party controls Washington D.C. Here’s a fun fact. Did you know virtually all of the individual tax cuts in the Senate version of tax reform are temporary? Indeed, what the Senate giveth, it also taketh away. Most of the tax cuts for individuals would expire in 2026 under the Senate plan. So what’s the reasoning behind sunsetting the tax cuts? Under Senate rules, any bill adding more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years must pass the Senate by 60 votes. Republicans have to keep their plan under that figure to have any chance at passing it. They don’t have 60 votes. By allowing the individual tax cuts to expire within that 10-year window, the total deficit increase comes in right under that max amount.” (11/29/17)