Tax Analysts Blog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tax reform is one of those feel-good ideas that everyone likes. And recently, we've been hearing a lot about it. President Obama's blue-ribbon debt commission (do commissions come in any other color?) floated a couple of different plans for revamping federal revenue. So did a similar panel sponsore...
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
My colleague Marty Sullivan is unconvinced by recent arguments for pairing deficit reduction with tax reform. "Tax reform is one of the most arduous tasks Congress could ever undertake," he points out. "So is massive deficit reduction. What is it that makes people think that doing both simultaneous...
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tim Fernholz recounts his thoughts on Google's now-famous tax avoidance: Seriously, though, after reading this article about Google's evasion of $3.1 billion in tax obligations through legal loopholes, I got into a Twitter argument with Townhall.com's Kevin Glass about whether this move is a violat...
Friday, October 22, 2010
Pity the lost soul of Mitch Daniels. Long a paragon of virtue and morality, he has strayed from the True Faith. In a recent speech to conservative bigwigs, Daniels suggested that a value-added tax, coupled with a flat-rate income tax, might be a reasonable basis for tax reform. For this unpardonabl...
Friday, September 17, 2010
As debate over extending all/most/some/none of the Bush tax cuts continues to heat up, liberals are giving new attention to an old idea: special tax brackets for the super rich. It's easy to forget -- especially in this bracket-starved era when lawmakers have left us with just half a dozen lines of...
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
What are the prospects for old-fashioned tax reform — trading lower rates for a broader base? During an inteview on NPR yesterday, I touted the old mantra as the best sort of tax policy. But I have to admit, its political viability seems dubious, at least in an era when Grover Norquist calls the s...
Monday, August 9, 2010
We take it for granted these days that politicians will always suck up to voters. Even appointed officials feel compelled to flatter the electorate. But once upon a time, political leaders felt a bit freer to speak their minds. Consider the words of U.S. Treasury Secretary Ogden Mills in 1931, tryi...
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
As debate rages over the estate tax -- mostly dead but not yet all dead, to use Billy Crystal's distinction from the Princess Bride -- it's worth a glance back a century or so. In August 1910, Teddy Roosevelt delivered his famous speech on the New Nationalism, insisting that government had a respon...
Monday, July 5, 2010
In a debate over carbon taxes, Steve Everley, policy director for Newt Gingrich's American Solutions, makes a dubious historical observation: The last time we imposed a tax regime of this scale was when the Progressives convinced us we needed an income tax. Four years after the 16th Amendment, Cong...
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
People have been complaining about tax complexity for ages. Maybe forever. Here's a tidbit from 1920, published by Wall Street titan and prominent arts patron Otto H. Kahn: One of the essentials of wise taxation is simplicity of method. Nothing tends more to create a sullen animosity against fiscal...
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
First a movie, now live radio. Hard on the heels of April's blockbuster release, An Inconvenient Tax, we now have a radio program devoted to tax history. On Thursday, public radio's Backstory will tape a live show covering the whole shebang -- from Tea Party (1773) to Tea Party (2010). For anyone l...
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In a fiery little blog post, Matt Yglesias musters some genuine moral outrage about inequality. Some people are "just too damn rich," he writes. "It’s greedy, absurd, and morally indefensible for talented people born in favorable circumstances to be dedicating their lives to accumulating huge sums...
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
If the modern Tea Party movement makes you uneasy, then get in line: you have plenty of historical company. The original Tea Party -- the one in Boston -- has long been a touchstone of American nationalism. Kids learn about in grade school, and almost everyone knows the story of Sam Adams, his phon...
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Today marks the 85th anniversary of Calvin Coolidge's one and only inaugural address. Silent Cal had been president since 1923, assuming the office when Warren Harding died. But he won the job in his own right during the 1924 election, and his March 4 inauguration gave him a chance lay out his big...
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
In a recent item for ChamberPost, Tom Quaadman makes this observation about the stock transaction tax: Ironically, in 1932 President Hoover had Congress pass a dramatic increase to the then existing stock transaction tax to stop what he thought was needless speculation. The result- 60 days after th...
Monday, January 25, 2010
Want to know what's wrong with federal taxes? Just read Tom Friedman's advice to the president: Obama should bring together the country’s leading innovators and ask them: “What legislation, what tax incentives, do we need right now to replicate you all a million times over” — and make that his...
Monday, January 11, 2010
Conservative superstar Glen Beck apparently has a tax problem. Not a big one, mind you, but not a trivial one either. Which makes him just like a lot of other decent, responsible people who find themselves on the wrong side of an IRS interview. Except that Glen Beck is not like everyone else. He's...
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Over at the Huffington Post, Chris Kelly did a nice little send-up of the estate tax debacle. Taking his cue from the untimely death of baby-oil heiress Casey Johnson, Kelly points out that Johnson's fiance, Tila Tequila, will at least be spared a tax bill. This may shock you, if you think you live...
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Apparently, the world can only mourn one economist at a time. Paul Samuelson's death on December 13 made headlines around the world. By contrast, the passing of C. Lowell Harriss on the following day made barely a ripple. As far as I can tell, no newspaper has published an obituary for Harriss. Not...
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson has made a career out of being every Republican's favorite Democrat. But the next time he feels compelled to trash the proposal of a fellow Democrat, he might stop to consider whether he knows what he's talking about. Take his comments on the recent proposal for a war ta...