Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Trump’s “Give the Rich a Break” Tax Plan

Trump’s “Give the Rich a Break” Tax Plan National GOP leaders on Wednesday released a 9-page document that they called a tax “framework” (available here on the Washington Post site) describing in vague terms how they intend to cut taxes for the nation’s wealthiest people while doing very little that serves the government needs. Overall, […]

Town Hall Meetings on the Ryan Budget Raise Concerns

Various congressional representatives held town hall meetings recently, and the news channels and print media were abuzz with the lively give-and-take, including shouting matches. See, e.g., House G.O.P. Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget, New York Times, Apr. 26, 2011; Republicans facing tough questions over Medicare overhaul in Budget Plan, Washington Post, Apr. 22, 2011. […]

Inequality–does it matter? should taxes address it?

Bruce Bartlett’s December 15, 2009 piece, Inequality: A Problem?, states Bartlett’s agreement with Dalton Conley that “the left should stop worrying so much about inequality per se–its costs are overstated, as well as the benefits of greater equality. Instead …liberals should concentrate more on helping the poor and less on beating upthe rich.” Now, before […]

Agribusiness, Food, Vegetarianism—-and Taxes

[cross-posted on ataxingmatter–see posting there for additional comments] As some of you may know, I am one of the many people who eat a vegetarian diet. I don’t eat cows, pigs, fish, whales, sharks, chicken, turkey, sheep, wild game, tame game… As I sometimes say when people ask me about my diet, I eat everything […]

Home Buyer Tax Credit Extension

by Linda Beale Part of the reason for our ongoing Great Recession is that we have had so many measures in the tax code to favor home ownership that (i) banks started to think of mortgage securitization business as money growing on trees and (ii) homeowners started to think of their homes as money-growing trees. […]

The New Black Gold–will tax boondoggles never cease?

The tax code seems to foster one boondoggle after another. The ones getting my attention this week are the alternative fuel tax credits enacted in the 2005 highway bill. This was intended as a credit to encourage the development of alternative fuels for vehicles to cut our reliance on global warming-causing fossil fuels. See Natural […]

Wyden’s Proposal for taxing oil and gas speculators

Ron Wyden, Democratic Senator from Oregon who serves on the Senate Finance Committee and the Energy Committee, is generally considered a liberal, though with a mixed bag of positions that hardly qualify on all grounds. He is against the estate tax and favors lowering rates of capital gains taxes, neither of which makes sense, from […]

Kornhauser’s Tax Literacy Project–about time

edited 072909 to correct link for giving online, by Linda Beale One of my big gripes (in case you haven’t noticed) is the ease with which ordinary Americans can be fooled about tax issues by organizations, often ones with greedy purposes of furthering their own interests in lower taxes for themselves, that publish misleading or […]

by Linda Beale This is one of those weeks when almost everything has a tax angle. Let’s survey. Michael Jackson’s funeral Should taxpayers have to foot the bill for the extra security surrounding celebrity memorial services? Does an estate get to deduct the costs of gala receptions connected with a memorial as part of the […]

SILOs –more action needed?

Tax advantaged “sale-leasebacks” with strapped-for-cash municipalities (SILOs, in the ever-present tax acronym set) came back to light when the Washington Metro train crashed a week ago. The cars were ones that were involved in the metro authority’s SILO deals with various banks, and the authority didn’t have any spare cash left to fund replacements. See […]