Taxes

Who Cares About Unemployment When We’ve Got Gay Marriage?

Featured image Today the Minnesota Senate passed a bill authorizing gay marriage which will be signed into law by our governor, Mark Dayton. That is the context for this text, which my oldest daughter sent me a few minutes ago: If I had a dollar for every #time4marriage hashtag on my feed I’d be rich. Someone should start a #time4jobs trend, seeing as there are approx. twice as many unemployed Americans as »

Tax cuts, Obama style

Featured image A thoroughgoing dishonesty permeates the Obama administration. From Obamacare to Benghazi, this is the gang that can’t talk straight. Philip Klein catches the president in the act of being himself, peddling instantly classic doubletalk: As part of a Mothers’ Day weekend defense of his signature legislative accomplishment, President Obama claimed that the law represented the “largest health care tax cut for working families and small businesses in our history. “ »

Time for an alternative maximum tax

Featured image Reflecting upon developments in Cyprus, where bank savings accounts were to be taxed to pay for an IMF bailout. Glenn Reynolds suggested that some enterprising GOP member of the House or Senate introduce a bill to make such shenanigans illegal — and dare the Democrats to oppose it. At Reason, Nick Gillespie has seconded Glenn’s motion: I think Reynolds is on to something, though I’d be happy to see legislators »

John Taylor on economic growth

Featured image John Taylor is the Mary and Robert Raymond Professor of Economics at Stanford University, and the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Economics at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. During George W. Bush’s first term, he served as the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. Taylor is perhaps best known for developing the Taylor Rule, a recommendation about how nominal interest rates should be determined that became a rough »

Hey Liberals–How Come No Wealth Tax?

Featured image For all of the liberal caterwauling about disparities in wealth, one thing I don’t understand is why no one, not even the socialist senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders in full bulging-neck-vein mode, has started channeling Huey Long and calling for a serious wealth tax.  After all, even if you raise the top marginal income tax rate back up to the Krugman nirvana level of 91 percent, it won’t touch the »

Not much to look forward to tonight unless you enjoy hearing Spanish

Featured image Yesterday, I speculated that President Obama will use his state of the union speech primarily to prepare the battle field for upcoming fights pertaining to the budget. With the sequester looming and a debt-ceiling deadline not far behind, Obama will want to re-introduce tax increases into the debt reduction debate (it had occupied the prime spot in that debate until the end of 2012). In that way, he can shed »

Obama’s last rhetorical stand?

Featured image It’s a curious fact of the Obama presidency that the American people basically tuned him out during much of his first term. Despite his stellar communications skills, Obama was unable to convince Americans to support his signature program — Obamacare — and none of his prior state of the union speeches seems to have moved the needle. We also know that the president’s utterances on behalf of Democrats in 2010 »

The Secretary of the Treasury: from tax cheat to “tax scam” beneficiary

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Jack Lew, President Obama’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, held money in an investment fund registered in the very Cayman Islands building that Obama called a notorious haven for tax abuse. The address of the fund is a building called the Ugland House. Obama singled out that building in a 2009 speech against tax haven abuse. With his characteristic subtely, the president declared, “Either this is »

Obama seeks to avoid going over half of the fiscal cliff

Featured image Throughout the “fiscal cliff” drama, I argued that once the middle class tax increase was called off (as seemed almost inevitable), Republicans would have the upper hand because President Obama fears sequestration more than Republicans do (or should). The key, then, was to keep sequestration on the table or, as I put it, “to go over half of the fiscal cliff.” Now that we are about to take that plunge, »

A “grand bargain,” Burns and Allen style

Featured image The White House reportedly is interested in a “grand bargain” with Republicans as a means of avoiding the sequester and getting out from under the debt-ceiling. The bargain would involve raising revenue by ending or limiting certain deductions and cutting some spending, or at least pretending to. The White House’s strategy sounds like a variation on a very old George Burns and Gracie Allen routine. George holds four cigars and »

Democrats Quietly Allow Social Security Taxes To Rise

Featured image Higher taxes on the “rich” have dominated discussion of the McConnell-Biden deal, but it has also been widely reported that the legislation will raise taxes on more than 77% of all U.S. households. In fact, the Tax Policy Center has calculated that 46% of the additional taxes raised in 2013 will come from the bottom 80% of Americans. So why haven’t we been hearing more about this? The tax that »

Both sides lost because the public rejects their diets

Featured image Yuval Levin argues that the left should be disappointed by the “fiscal cliff” deal. Why? Because “their best opportunity in a generation for increasing tax rates (which is the only fiscal reform they seem to want)” has come and gone with only a minimal increase in tax revenue achieved: This deal is projected to yield $620 billion in revenue over a decade — increasing projected federal revenue by about 1.7 »

An Optimistic Take On the “Cliff” Deal

Featured image Here are some glass-half-full observations on last night’s McConnell-Biden fiscal deal from an inveterate optimist. Raising taxes on those who are already paying roughly double their fair share, while leaving everyone else’s taxes the same, is lousy public policy. But from the Republicans’ point of view, it may be good politics. For the last four years, the Obama administration has run up unprecedented deficits, adding more than $4 trillion to »

Here’s the deal

Featured image Politico has posted the full text of the fiscal cliff legislation. I hope you have more luck working with it than I did. The political logic of the cliff — the fact that, absent compromise tax rates were set to increase on all taxpayers — always meant that a compromise on taxes would favor Obama and the Democrats. The compromise reached is consistent with that logic. The $450,000 per household »

Tax portion of fiscal cliff deal reportedly has been finalized

Featured image Robert Costa reports that, according to senior Republican Senate aides, the tax side of the fiscal-cliff deal has been finalized. The basic framework is as follows: — Current tax rates would be permanently extended for singles making $400,000 or below, and permanently extended for couples making $450,000 or below; — For singles, capital gains and dividends of $400,000 or below would be permanently taxed at 15 percent; capital gains and »

Obama demonstrates the virtue of the sequestration

Featured image President Obama has just completed his highly partisan remarks on fiscal cliff negotiations to a highly partisan crowd at the White House. If Obama actually wants a deal, he should hope that no Republican legislators were watching. And one can now better understand why Speaker Boehner became so frustrated after dealing on a sustained basis with this arrogant man. Stripping away Obama’s self-serving cheap shots at Congress — which some »

Deal or no deal?

Featured image There are somewhat conflicting rumors about the status of “fiscal cliff” talks between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. Byron York reported that a deal is close, one in which tax rates would rise only for those making $400,000 (or conceivably $500,000) a year and in which there would be a few other cliff-related fixes. But Politico says that there are no signs yet of a breakthrough. It’s not clear that »