Tax Analysts Blog

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Last year, voters in Berkeley, California, approved a new tax on sugary drinks. That success has encouraged fans of taxing other “sins,” including your cherished liter of Evian. “There are enormous environmental, social, and ethical costs associated with bottled water,” declared Laura Bliss in...
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Carly Fiorina may be trailing in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, but she's leading the pack when it comes to financial disclosure. Last week, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO released a personal financial disclosure statement, buttressed by two years of tax returns. You can see...
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Highway Trust Fund is about to run out of money. Again. This manufactured crisis may be Washington's most regular – and predictable – demonstration of failure. If Congress cobbles together another temporary patch, it will be the 33rd in the last six years. 33! Politicians like a little urgen...
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Is a tax cut still a tax cut if you call it “tax reform”? For my money, the answer is yes. But Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center feels differently. Republican presidential candidates are going soft on big government, he contends. Or at least soft on big revenue. While most of the party's...
Thursday, May 7, 2015
The flat tax is back, thanks to a variety of GOP presidential candidates, including Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul. Their collective enthusiasm has given new life to this old idea. The problem for the flat tax has always been its popularity – or more specifically, the lack thereof. As one of...
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
For opinion writers, it takes a special sort of gumption to deliberately antagonize your most loyal readers. In that spirit, this week's Profile in Editorial Courage award goes to Patrick Brennan of The National Review, who recently dared to defend the existence of the IRS. Brennan was moved to hi...
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Want to create some jobs? Then cut some taxes. But make sure you cut them for the right people. According to Owen Zidar, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, you'll get the biggest bang for the buck by focusing your tax relief on the poor and middle class. For decade...
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
It's tax day, so it must be time for another round of showboating on Capitol Hill. The majority party usually takes the lead on these things, so Republicans have decided to mark our national anti-holiday by voting to repeal the estate tax. This year, however, we're getting Repeal 2.0: less defens...
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Sen. Ted Cruz is like a 100-watt light bulb – very bright, but with the dimmer turned way down. By many accounts both brilliant and thoughtful, he seems happiest when channeling the simplistic and shallow. Especially when it comes to taxes. Cruz has been getting attention for his tax views, especi...
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
In 2013 Utah Sen. Mike Lee released a tax plan. It was interesting and very expensive. In 2015 Lee released a new tax plan, this time with help from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. It was less interesting and much more expensive. Lee's 2013 proposal – hailed as an example of “reformicon” economic thi...
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
According to a recent poll, voters in the United Kingdom don't see a distinction between tax avoidance and tax evasion, at least not a moral one. According to a YouGov survey, 59 percent considered avoidance “unacceptable,” while only 32 percent thought it was legitimate. The pollsters took pain...
Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's easy to be cynical about tax reform. Politicians tell us that fixing the tax system is imperative and essential. But comprehensive reform is unusual and durable changes rarer still. That's not exactly a recipe for optimism. “For longtime tax observers, it is hard not to have a jaundiced vie...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The Senate Finance Committee got a visit from the Ghosts of Politics Past today. Former Sens. Bob Packwood and Bill Bradley answered the call of a desperate committee and tried to conjure up some useful thoughts on “Getting to Yes on Tax Reform.” The past is almost never a good model for the fu...
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
President Obama's 2016 budget includes a predictably bad solution for fixing the nation's infrastructure crisis: a one-time tax on the foreign earnings of U.S. corporations. The idea is predictable because lots of people in Washington have proposed similar solutions to the looming bankruptcy of t...
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Well, that was quick. According to news reports, the White House has abandoned its brand-new proposal to tax withdrawals from 529 college savings plans. Administration officials are now calling the plan a “distraction,” which is a nice way of saying “albatross.” I guess if you're going to cut...
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Congress returns to Washington today, and Republicans have a chance to strut their stuff as the Capitol's new majority party. But the GOP ascendancy raises a question: Can Republicans actually govern without a crisis? Jamelle Bouie asked that question in Slate recently and offered a sobering recol...
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Wall Street Journal wants to banish expertise from Capitol Hill – at least when it comes to economic policy. In a defiantly anti-intellectual editorial, the paper suggested recently that Congress abolish both the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation. Both are bastion...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
For an idea with plenty of champions, the carbon tax sure has lousy prospects. It is one of those proposals that wonks love to champion but politicians love to hate. Do a quick Web search and you'll find a host of champions for the levy, hailing from both ends of the political spectrum. But look f...
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Apparently, the medical device tax (MDT) is one of America's biggest problems. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has made its repeal one of his top priorities. Device manufacturers are prepping for a victory celebration after bankrolling a multiyear campaign that seems ready...
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Jeb Bush has a problem, and his name is Grover Norquist. According to Politico, Bush has made some powerful enemies in his own party, especially among antitax purists. His problems derive not from his tenure as Florida's governor, where he championed the requisite round of tax cuts. Rather, they s...