Taxes

Nice Break If You Can Get It [With Dissent by John]

Featured image I know I wasn’t alone when I heard the news last year that Francis Bacon’s triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” had sold for a staggering $142 million at an art auction.  Who could have been the buyer?  Surely a Russian oligarch, or a Silicon Valley techillionaire.  Turned out to be Elaine Wynn, the ex-wife of casino magnate Steve Wynn.  (That must have been some divorce settlement.) The next bit of »

Just In Time for Tax Day: Remy to the Rescue

Featured image So it’s everyone’s favorite day of the year tomorrow.  Just in time, our pal Remy Munasifi and ReasonTV bring you a remake of Pharrell Williams’ tune “Happy.”  Lyrics at the link to the left.  About two minutes long. »

House report demonstrates wisdom of Lois Lerner’s Fifth Amendment plea

Featured image The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has released a scathing report on Lois Lerner’s involvement in the Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of conservative advocacy groups. Based on an extensive investigation that included a review of Lerner’s email traffic, the report shows that Lerner, in response to political pressure, willfully pushed the IRS to crack down on conservative nonprofit organizations. According to the Committee report: [D]ocuments show that Lerner and »

A modest proposal for the tax treatment of union dues [UPDATED]

Featured image A friend from California writes: I use software for my taxes and noticed for the first time when going through the Q & A that there’s a question about union dues related to deductions for job expenses. I’ve never paid union dues and have never paid much attention to this, but it raises a serious issue. Unions charge a member, say, $500 per year and spend much or most of »

The Camp tax proposal and Reform Republicanism

Featured image House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has proposed a radical overhaul of the U.S. Tax Code. Camp’s proposal broadens the tax base and lowers tax rates, which is the correct direction in which to move. Camp touts his proposal as “tax simplification,” which seems to be fair up to a point. However, his 1,000 page bill will leave federal taxation a complicated affair. Here, via Accounting Today, are »

The Wealth Tax Revisited

Featured image Back in February I mused about the idea of a “wealth tax” as a way of exposing the fact that so many of the rich liberals (Buffett, Gates, the Hollywood and Silicon Valley crowd) who support higher income taxes do so because higher income tax rates do not touch any of their vast fortunes, accumulated not in the form of taxable income, but in the form of non-taxed asset value »

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 »