November 1, 2007
In the October 30th Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton was asked what she thought of the tax reform plan offered by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). She responded by expressing her deep admiration for the gentleman from New York and explaining that, "I don’t know all the details of what Charlie is recommending." This, of course, is Washington-speak for "I ain't getting anywhere near this soaking puppy."
October 31, 2007
The wildfires in Southern California should have taught us two major lessons: State and local governments need to be better prepared for predictable disasters and, when it comes to emergency services, you get what you pay for.
October 30, 2007
House Republican Study Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) has an extraordinary idea: "The correction of tax mistakes should never be offset with tax increases." Hensarling's Law, which might also be called the Mulligan Act of 2007, came in response to a huge tax restructuring proposed on Oct. 25 by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). The core of that plan would repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax and make up nearly $1 trillion in lost revenue over 10 years with an income tax surcharge and other tax hikes.
October 27, 2007
Here are two related items by TPC researchers. Jason Furman has an op ed in the Think Tank section of on the need for...
October 25, 2007
One of the main charges against the Rangel tax plan is that it would increase taxes by $1 trillion. Which is a bit odd because the President's budget proposed the exact same revenue increase, although in his case it is collected through the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) instead of a rate surcharge on high income families.
October 26, 2007
My colleagues and I had some heartburn when various news outlets referred to a surtax proposal made by Greg Leiserson and me as "the Tax Policy Center plan" to fix the AMT. The TPC has no tax plan or institutional positions of any kind. Highlighting that point, TPC's chief blogger, Howard Gleckman, showed that we don't speak with one voice when he complained that "I don't like ... the way AMT relief [in Chairman Rangel's tax reform plan] is funded" in his most recent post. That is, Howard's not keen on Greg's and my modest proposal, which Mr. Rangel adopted with small modifications.
October 25, 2007
Let’s start with the obvious: The tax plan rolled out today by House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is not the “mother of all tax reforms,” the congressman’s claim notwithstanding.
October 24, 2007
Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson said in a letter to congressional Republicans yesterday that Congress needs to act immediately to enact an Alternative Minimum Tax fix. One reason: It will take 12-13 weeks for the agency to reprogram its computers to account for the change. Huh?
October 23, 2007
President Bush and the Congress are going to spend much of the next three months in an ugly cage match over $21 billion in spending. While $21 billion is real money by anyone's definition, the energy they will expend on this largely symbolic fight could be put to much better use. They could, for instance, use the time to look seriously at where the real money is—entitlements and an increasingly out-of-whack tax code.
October 22, 2007
In Saturday’s Washington Post, Michael Kinsley argued that the U.S. should dump the regular income tax and replace it with the simpler and fairer alternative minimum tax. On their face, his arguments are appealing: The AMT has a broader base than the regular income tax. It has only two rates—26 percent and 28 percent. And it is simpler, dispensing with a raft of deductions, including those for state and local taxes, personal exemptions, and the standard deduction. So why did I flash back to the old 1970s comedy Laugh-In, when Arte Johnson, replete with Wehrmacht battle helmet and a bad German accent, would pipe up, "Very interesting … but stupid"?