Tax Analysts Blog

Thursday, June 18, 2009
For an idea routinely dismissed as a political nonstarter (most recently by me), the value-added tax sure gets a lot of press. In recent weeks, we've seen articles by VAT fans (like Bruce Bartlett here), VAT foes (like Dan Mitchell and Chris Bergin), and an army of VAT skeptics (Ezra Klein, Tyler C...
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Matthew Yglesias has a great article in the current issue of the The American Prospect arguing that progressives should rediscover the virtues of taxation. Until the 1970s, he says, most Americans considered taxes a necessary evil. But over the last thirty years, egged on by conservative political...
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Paying for healthcare reform was never going to be easy. The Obama Administration has tried to finesse the issue, using tax hikes on the few to finance healthcare for the many. Congress has kicked in a few other ideas, including limits on the health benefits exclusion (good idea) and a basket of si...
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The New York Times has joined the chorus calling for a new tax on sugary soda. The editors offer a variegated argument that nicely demonstrates the incoherence of this idea. The soda tax, they say, would help discourage consumption of unhealthy drinks: The idea is that taxes worked to lower tobacco...
Friday, May 22, 2009
Apparently, Congress is warming to the idea of taxing employer-provided health benefits. Thank goodness for small miracles: it was starting to look like lawmakers would never find a tax they could swallow. (Except maybe the soda tax. Ba dum dum.) Still, I'm dubious about the prospects for this idea...
Friday, May 15, 2009
In a recent article for the American Prospect, executive editor Mark Schmitt considers the role of experts in American politics. Specifically, he mulls President John F. Kennedy’s penchant for technocratic governance. Like many before him, he judges it a mixed blessing. Some of Kennedy’s most not...
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The plight of America's newspapers is not exactly news. In recent years (and especially over the past 18 months or so), there has been plenty of hand-wringing about the dismal prospects of ink-on-paper publications. And not without reason. Ad revenues are plummeting, subscribers are vanishing, and...
Monday, April 20, 2009
Washington Post: President Obama plans to convene his Cabinet for the first time today, and he will order its members to identify a combined $100 million in budget cuts over the next 90 days, according to a senior administration official. Seriously? No joke? Look, I'm all for political pragmatism,...
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The Tea Party protests planned for tomorrow are ridiculous for any number of reasons. But what's particularly galling -- at least to my historian's eye -- is their historical illiteracy. The Boston Tea Party, from which these modern day revolters ostensibly draw their inspiration, was not a tax rev...
Monday, April 13, 2009
My colleague Marty Sullivan seems more than a little dubious about the prospects for a value-added tax. And he may be right. A VAT would mark a sea change in the history of American public finance—the kind of tax innovation that only comes along every century or so. But I’m not convinced that old...
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Wunderkind blogger Matthew Yglesias thinks progressive taxes just aren’t all that. Other countries typically use regressive taxes – like the value-added tax – to pay for progressive spending. On balance it’s a good deal, leveling the playing field more effectively than progressive taxation alon...
Thursday, April 2, 2009
If you're worried about missing the April 15 deadline for filing your tax return, consider this: if it were 1954, you'd already be two weeks late. From 1919 to 1954, returns (like this one) were due on March 15. From 1913 to 1918, they were due earlier still, on March 1. Congress extended the deadl...
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Obama's nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, paid nearly $8,000 in back taxes and accrued interest after discovering errors in her tax returns for 2005, 2006, and 2007. Oops. So far, Democratic leaders have been notably silent on this lates...