Tax Analysts Blog

 
Clint Stretch
Monday, March 30, 2015
I've spent some time recently looking at the national debt and my own net worth. I think there's a correlation. As a country, we have mortgaged our future. We have chosen collectively to borrow and shift the cost of today's government onto our children and grandchildren. At the same time, freed...
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
As readers of my February 6 post know, I'm not too impressed by the possibilities for tax simplification. But I recently finished filling out all the online pages that will cause a very thick package of tax returns to come back to me out of some wondrous piece of software. So I've “done my taxes...
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Last week, my colleagues Marty Sullivan, Jeremy Scott and Joe Thorndike wrote long blog posts on tax reform. Marty expanded the menu of possibilities, Jeremy wondered if we are asking the right questions about spending, and Joe discussed the optimists' view. I have a more direct approach to income...
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
It's exciting to think of the possibilities as a united Republican Congress starts shaping tax and budget policy. President Obama's veto pen may ultimately get in the way, but the new governing majority in Congress should let nothing stop them from sending him a clear vision for the future. I rec...
Friday, February 6, 2015

Statements of position or principle by lawmakers are sometimes most interesting for what they don't say. Last week's letter from Senate Finance Committee Democrats to committee Chair Orrin Hatch outlining their seven principles for tax reform was no exception. It should remind us that Humpty Dumpt...

Thursday, December 18, 2014
President Obama's move to normalize relations with Cuba may add Cuban cigars and Cuban rum to next year's holiday gift possibilities. This would certainly make life easier for anyone who wants to give me a gift, and I suspect I'm not alone. Fortunately, normalization doesn't require congressiona...
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
At the risk of revealing too much of my sentimental side, I have to admit that I'm a huge Patsy Cline fan. So I recently found myself at the small but carefully curated Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Va., which is holding a special exhibit on Patsy's life and career. The most comm...
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Tax reform is a decidedly mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the inevitable. Of course, what is good or bad is a matter of opinion, not fact. Here's my list of things I think voters should reflect on before they make up their minds on the tax reform proposals from House Ways and Means Committee C...
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
1. It is as close to their flat-tax dream as they can get for now. 2. If they want a credible claim that Obama and Democrats are responsible for the failure of tax reform, they must pass a bill in the House. 3. It dramatically lessens the tax code's influence on business choices. 4. It honors pers...
Thursday, February 27, 2014
1. Republicans don't seem to like it. 2. For future legislation, it provides a great list of now-Republican-endorsed loophole-closing provisions. 3. For campaigns, it provides a great list of horrible things Republicans would do to businesses and individuals. 4. It confirms the appropriateness of...
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
An interesting orthodoxy was emerging among lovers of the tax reform fantasy at the Tax Council Policy Institute's tax policy symposium last week in Washington. Reform advocates were trying to convince people that the reason tax reform is going nowhere is a lack of leadership on the part of Presid...
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
When my wife and I stepped into a cab at Tucson International Airport last week, we didn't expect to receive a civics lesson. We discovered that our driver was a Somali who had come to the U.S. from the refugee camps in Kenya. He was very grateful to be here. When we asked what he liked most about...
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
For two years, Washington has been asking whether or how another 1986-style tax reform might be accomplished. Whatever happened to 1995-style tax reform? That year, Republicans gained control of both the House and Senate. Rep. Bill Archer, who took over the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means...
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Now that Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are behind us, it's time to see what gifts are available on Capitol Hill. Folks are headed to the Finance and Ways and Means committees with their wish lists of holiday-season extenders. Like children asking if Santa is coming, taxpayers want t...
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I have been reading biographies of our Founding Fathers recently. One of the acts of Parliament that inspired fierce opposition among the colonists was the Stamp Act, which imposed tax on numerous documents, including newspapers and pamphlets. Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, D...
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
My last blog post went up as I started a trip to southern New Mexico and West Texas. During 10 days in and around the Permian Basin, my perspective on the energy tax policy debate shifted a bit. It struck me that Washington is behind the country in understanding energy and that its improvident appr...
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Last week, Joe Thorndike wrote an obituary for tax reform and Jeremy Scott did the same for any possible revenue-related deal in the budget conference. As readers of this blog know, I am skeptical when it comes to the chances for tax reform, so I will concur in those obituaries. Now the question be...
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A reader of one of my recent blog posts observed that many current tax benefits “go unused by the majority of taxpayers throughout their lifetimes.” He added, “Taxpayers don't really care about choice; they care about dollars. They can't afford tax planning.” All true enough. The comment led...
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Remember when House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, D-Mont., were promising tax reform packages and a markup this fall? They haven't started, and time is marching on. The reason is that the failure of the House and Senate to negotia...
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
At the grocery store the other day, I noticed that the shampoo and conditioner section took up 150 linear feet of shelving. That piqued my curiosity about other products. A quick look at the store's online ordering site disclosed a dazzling array of choices: 354 different packages of cookies, 246...