Flatten the IRS?

Featured image The cartoon below brings up the question that has been on my mind since the IRS scandal first broke: might this be the opening for tax reform, or better still, a flat tax?  The arguments for a flat tax have long been not just simplicity but that it would be more conducive to economic growth.  But liberal and defenders of the status quo aren’t interested in economic growth through rational »

Rand Paul Stands Up Against Government Greed

Featured image The Senate Subcommittee on Investigations is holding a hearing this morning on Apple’s tax avoidance strategies. Rand Paul set the ringmasters back on their heels with an opening statement that questioned the whole rationale for the hearing. Here is Paul’s opening statement: For those who lack the patience to watch it (that often describes me when it comes to videos), here is the transcript, supplied by Paul’s office: I am »

Senate Committee Poised to Beat Up On Apple

Featured image Steve wrote this morning about a hearing being held this week by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in which Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, will testify tomorrow. The subcommittee apparently is trying to highlight supposed tax avoidance on the part of American companies, as the Associated Press reports: Apple Inc. employs a group of affiliate companies located outside the United States to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. income »

The Other Tax Hearing to Watch This Week

Featured image I’ve expressed my puzzlement and disappointment here before about how Apple, like so much of Silicon Valley, is reflexively liberal in its politics.  So it is with some curiosity that I note the story out last week about how Apple CEO Tim Cook was trying to “get out ahead” on the story of his appearance before a Senate committee tomorrow in Washington where he will essentially be called unpatriotic—by both »

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 »