Tax Analysts Blog

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Dave Camp's tax reform plan is dead. We know that because everyone says so. And for once, everyone is right. But the death of Camp-style tax reform may be the best thing to happen to tax policy in a long time. A couple of weeks ago, my colleague Marty Sullivan explained some of the reasons why the...
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Over the last decade or so, economist Thomas Piketty has made his name central to serious discussions of inequality. Along with his frequent collaborator, Emmanuel Saez, he has provided the empirical foundation for most political arguments about the danger of growing wealth and income disparities....
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Tax reform is going nowhere. At least that's what the headlines say: New Tax Plan Falls Flat: White House, Congress Wary No Raves for Tax Reform Outlook for Tax Reform: Probability of Higher Payments for Many Indicates Strong Resistance to Any Change Congress Unlikely to Toe the Line: Prospects f...
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Filing season is never easy for anyone -- not for taxpayers and not for the IRS. This year, we've already heard a round of complaints about poor IRS service. The agency is struggling, taxpayers are frustrated, and Congress is outraged. Which makes 2014 just like every other year. But some tax years...
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
If you're a Democrat, there's a lot to like in House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp's tax reform bill. According to early reports, the legislation includes a special surtax on wealthy taxpayers, as well as a new tax on large banks and insurance companies. Camp himself has promised that the bill...
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
IRS budget cuts don't actually save money. In fact, they're very expensive. Over the past four years, Congress has slashed the IRS budget by roughly 8 percent, saving the government about $1 billion, according to The Boston Globe. But the cuts have also cost that same government about $8 billion in...
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The federal debt limit is an embarrassment, both in practice and by design. Critics insist that the limit is meaningless -- that debt is a function of numerous tax and spending decisions, not some single, arbitrary cap. And those critics have a point. But the debt limit still plays a powerful symbo...
Thursday, January 30, 2014
A few days ago, billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins really stepped in it. "I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'" Perkins wrote in a letter to Th...
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Taxing meat would help slow global warming, according to a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change. By reducing consumer demand, such a levy would curb one of the leading causes of climate change: methane emissions from livestock. Carbon dioxide gets all the headlines, but methane is actuall...
Friday, January 17, 2014
Judging by the rhetoric, liberals are worried about inequality and conservatives aren't. Last month, President Obama called inequality the "defining challenge of our time" and "a fundamental threat to the American dream." But conservatives have refused to panic. "One has to ask," writes Michael Tan...
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Politicians are, by nature and necessity, truth-challenged. It's tempting to call them liars, but that would be harsh, so let's stick with the euphemism. After all, that's what politicians do when it comes to taxes. As everyone knows, the "breakthrough" budget deal now pending in the Senate include...
Thursday, December 12, 2013
It's amazing what passes for success in Washington these days. Budget negotiators on Capitol Hill have delivered a non-disaster, cobbling together a pathetic half-measure that pleases no one and accomplishes almost nothing. True, it allows Democrats and Republicans to avoid abject failure, which i...
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The Cold War ended more than 20 years ago, but the battle against global communism rages on – at least in the pages of the Internal Revenue Code. Since the early 1990s, Congress has repealed numerous laws that were once intended to thwart the international communist conspiracy. But along the way,...
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
As I've said before, tax reform is well and truly dead. But that doesn't mean it's gone forever. Bad ideas, like bad pennies, have a way of coming back. And so do good ideas, which often need time to ripen; few reforms make it through the legislative gantlet on the first try. But death changes thin...
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
For a complex tax issue, carried interest sure gets a lot of media attention. That's probably because it involves many very rich hedge fund managers -- the kind of people who everyone loves to hate, admire, and envy, thanks to their "hugely outsized earnings." But the debate over how to tax profits...
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Everyone likes to believe in tax reform – if only because everyone likes to hate on the existing tax system. But tax reform is hopeless in our current political environment, and it's time to throw in the towel. At least for now. According to the optimists, Congress is dead-dog serious about tax r...
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Big business wants to raise the gas tax and spend the money on infrastructure. Which sounds like a great idea, since that's what the gas tax is supposed to pay for anyway. But the tax is broken, thanks to Congress, which has refused to raise it for two decades. "Twenty years,” exclaimed Thomas Do...
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The United States may or may not be on the verge of default, but financial markets seem unworried. Maybe savvy investors know something the rest of us don't. Maybe they know, for instance, that past arguments over raising the debt ceiling have always ended short of disaster. History counsels compla...
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Wall Street isn't buying all the tough talk about default coming from the Republican fringe. “We've seen this movie before,” one portfolio manager told The New York Times. “We know how it's going to end.” Fair enough: Recent history suggests that lawmakers will eventually snatch solvency fro...
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Amid all the bad ideas floated by House Republicans during the shutdown fight, one was actually pretty good: repealing the medical device tax. When Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act in 2010, it included a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of medical devices. As the Center on Budget and Poli...