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TPC Press Clips

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TPC research and analysis appears in thousands of news articles each year. Below is a partial list, including the sources used in selected articles. Please note, article links cited below were verified on the day of publication and may change.

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

December

  • Presenting the second annual Wonky awards, Washington Post (December 28, 2012)

    "Think tank of the year: The Tax Policy Center

    [LINK TO CHART]

    To the untrained eye, that table may not look like much. But to those of us who’ve been involved in the tax debate this year, we know better. That’s a distributional analysis from the Tax Policy Center. That is to say, it’s a breakdown of who will pay how much more, or less, under a proposed tax plan, and it’s been prepared by the best tax wonks in the business. In a debate rife with partisan misinformation and strategic vagueness, these tables have been a lifeline for those of us trying to figure out what the various tax policies actually mean, and who they’d actually help.

    The Tax Policy Center is the cool, nonpartisan, analytical yin to Norquist’s hot, ideological, activist yang. The center is directed by Donald Marron, a former Bush appointee, and staffed by a who’s who of tax wonks who’ve served in both parties. They produce the best and most respected tax numbers in town, and they’re fearless while doing it. It was their analysis that showed Mitt Romney’s tax plan could not possibly fulfill all its stated objectives at the same time, and it’s been their work that has made clear the size of the tax increases embedded in the fiscal cliff. Their work has truly been essential over the last year.

    White paper of the year: Tax Policy Center’s paper on Romney’s tax plan

    It seemed too good to be true: a tax plan that slashed everyone’s rates without increasing the deficit or raising the tax burden on the middle class. And the Tax Policy Center revealed that it was. The TPC’s white paper on Romney’s tax plan revealed its central incoherence, showing that it would be impossible to devise a plan that would fulfill all of Romney’s stated objectives. Romney and his defenders tried to fire back with competing analyses, but none of them fully refuted the TPC study. In the end, it was a triumph of empiricism over political rhetoric."
  • The Fall of Plan B : Self-Destruction in the Cause of the 0.3 Per Cent, The New Yorker (December 20, 2012) by John Cassidy

    "As ever, the devil is in the details. While the tax rates of the 0.3 per cent would go up, they would also be allowed to claim many more deductions than they would under the Obama plan. In addition, they would also get to pay substantially lower rates on capital gains, dividends, and inheritances. Since many of them derive much of their income from these sources, this is a big deal. In short, 'the Boehner plan maintains several generous tax cuts for incomes over $1 million.' The quote comes from an an invaluable post by Bob Greenstein, the president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which takes a clinical look at Plan B and cites freshly produced figures from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. The upshot of these calculations: relative to the President’s latest offer, which limits the deductions that very high earners can take and increases the tax rates they would pay on investment income, the average member of the 0.3 per cent would gain upwards of fifty thousand dollars a year."
  • John Boehner, scourge of the wealthy, ctd., The Washington Post (December 19, 2012) by Greg Sargent

    "The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has just completed a new analysis of John Boehner’s 'plan B' fiscal proposal, which would raise taxes only on income over $1 million. The analysis makes it pretty clear just how ludicrous it is for House Republicans to be expecting Obama to agree to it.

    The new analysis sheds fresh light on just how tiny a slice of taxpayers would see a tax hike under Boehner’s plan. It also reveals in new detail just how many households that are very wealthy (but make under $1 million) would actually see their taxes go slightly down."

  • Loopholes to Some, Lifelines to Others, The New York Times(December 11, 2012) by Eduardo Porter

    "According to Eric Toder and Donald Marron of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, including all the spendinglike exclusions as regular items in the budget increases the size of the federal government by about 4 percent of our gross domestic product. That’s about $600 billion in 'hidden' spending through the tax code last year alone.

    We may want to trim or eliminate certain tax breaks for specific reasons — because they are poorly targeted or inefficient. The exclusion for employer-provided health insurance — which will cost the government $1 trillion over the next five years, according to the Tax Policy Center — is pretty inefficient as a tool to deliver health care."

  • Boehner: GOP willing to raise $800 billion in tax revenue, Washington Post (December 2, 2012) by Suzy Khimm

    "The White House believes it’s impossible to make that target without hitting popular tax breaks like the charitable deduction unless you also target those with incomes below $250,000, citing calculations by the Tax Policy Center."

November

  • Predicting The Future: What Will Your 2013 Tax Liability Be? Forbes (November 29, 2012) by Patrick Nitti

    "There has been no shortage of words dedicated to the potential tax implications of the fiscal cliff. But leave it to those geniuses at the Tax Policy Center to turn all of the meaningless rhetoric into pure, simple, math. The TPC recently published a 2013 tax calculator, and if you enjoy hypothetical situations and pressing the TAB key and plugging numbers into forms as much as I do, you’ll just love it. It works like so ..."
  • 'Our Laws Your Life': Check out this free 'fiscal cliff' tax calculator, Examiner.com (November 29, 2012) by Patricia Kutza

    "The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center is trying to decrease some of these questions by offering a free tax calculator. It's a clever tool that helps citizens input their financial and family details and compare hypothetical changes in their tax bills based on four possible fiscal cliff outcomes. Taxpayers can also see ready-made examples to get a sense of the potential effects of the fiscal cliff."
  • A Sneak Preview of Next Year’s Taxes, Wall Street Journal(November 29, 2012) by Laura Saunders

    "The TPC’s website has six ready-made examples showing different outcomes for different categories of taxpayers, including a childless couple, a single person and a couple older 65 or older. Individuals can also use numbers from their own tax returns to see the outcomes of various proposals."
  • Calculator: The Fiscal Cliff and Your Taxes, Wall Street Journal (November 28, 2012)

    "For those who enjoy scaring themselves with fiscal-cliff what-ifs, the Tax Policy Center has set up a new Tax Calculator that considers four potential outcomes of the negotiations.

    Under one scenario, current tax policy would basically be extended. Under another, the current Bush- and Obama-era tax breaks go away, and relief from the alternative minimum tax isn’t renewed – i.e. we go over the fiscal cliff.

    The third, the Senate Democrats’ plan, would extend current tax breaks for everyone except the wealthy – couples making more than $250,000 – while also allowing the 2010 payroll tax holiday to expire. The fourth, the GOP plan, would extend Bush-era breaks for everyone including the wealthy, but not the Obama-era breaks, such as the payroll break.

    With negotiations apparently dragging, the odds of the U.S. heading over the fiscal cliff appear to be growing. But there’s still a lot of time left by congressional standards."

  • ‘Fiscal cliff:’ Are conservatives turning to liberals for help? Washington Post(November 26, 2012) by Allen McDuffee

    "It’s striking that Thiessen turned to what he considers a “liberal think tank” to make his point. It’s especially striking given the wrath conservatives heaved upon the Tax Policy Center (TPC) this fall when it released a report that said enacting Mitt Romney’s tax plan would lower taxes for the rich and raise them for the poor and middle class to cover a $5 trillion gap in the plan.

    Thiessen’s typical go-to shops are AEI or the Heritage Foundation, but it may well be the case that neither of those think tanks (or a host of other conservative-leaning organizations) even have closing tax loopholes or limiting deductions on their radar, let alone on their publication list.

    The Tax Policy Center is a joint venture between the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, both of which have individuals who have been affiliated with Republican and Democratic administrations."

  • Tax Policy Center study adds fuel to debate over Bush-era rates, The Hill (November 25, 2012) by Bernie Becker

    "The Tax Policy Center’s findings come as negotiations to keep the economy from plunging over the fiscal cliff are beginning in earnest."
  • In Montana, Crow tribe sees perils to 'fiscal cliff,' USA Today (November 19, 2012) by Gregory Korte

    "The Tax Policy Center's Donald Marron told Congress this year that the Indian coal credit is one of two extenders that deserve "special scrutiny" because it's never been reviewed.

    Many of these extenders -- Marron calls them 'expirers' -- are budgetary gimmicks. By authorizing the tax breaks a couple years at a time, they look less expensive when included in the government's 10-year budget forecast. But that also means they're not very effective at encouraging investment because businesses can't be certain how long they'll last, Marron said.

    'If the goal is to have an incentive for something, it should be permanent, or at least long term,' Marron said."

  • Obama: Master of the Message? Or Not? The Wall Street Journal (November 15, 2012) by David Wessel

    "One bit of evidence came this week from the Tax Policy Center, the joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution which took some flak during the campaign but which has a reputable economic model for putting numbers on tax proposals. It said that putting a cap of $50,000 on itemized deductions could bring in $749 billion over 10 years if tax rates remain where they are right now. And nearly all the money would come from folks with income (as the center defines it) above $200,000."
  • Higher Taxes Are to Start With Flip of a Calendar, The New York Times(November 9, 2012) by Catherine Rampell

    "Estate taxes affect very few Americans; only about 0.13 percent of people who die have estates big enough to owe estate tax. If the rates revert to the pre-Bush era level, as planned, that will rise to about 2 percent of estates, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

    Mr. Obama has proposed setting the exemption for the estate tax at $3.5 million, indexed to inflation, while Republicans want to eliminate the tax altogether.

    'One thing you might see this year is wealthier people gifting significant amounts of their assets, putting them in trusts or giving to their heirs early,' said Mr. Williams. Still, there are limits on how much people can give away without running into gift taxes, and besides, some wealthy people might be reluctant to divvy up the fortune too soon. 'You might hear some people saying, "How do I do this without losing control? Can I still keep Junior under my thumb?"' said Mr. Williams."

  • The Obamney tax plan, The Economist (November 8, 2012) by Greg Ip

    "I don't have a ready estimate of how much capping deductions for those earning more than $250,000 would raise. But you can ballpark it by looking the Tax Policy Center's estimates for capping itemized deductions at $50,000. It would raise $749 billion over 10 years, within the $800 billion that Mr Boehner has previously agreed to. That’s also more than the $429 billion yielded from returning the two top rates to their pre 2001 levels. The appeal for Republicans is that no one’s rates go up, and the preferential rate for capital gains and dividends is preserved. The appeal for Mr Obama is that it is highly progressive. According to the TPC, less than 1% of the bottom 60% of households would pay more tax while the top 1% would pay 79% of the additional revenue. The average tax rate for the bottom 60% wouldn’t change, while it would go up 2 percentage points for the top 1%. It's worth noting that Mr Obama’s budgets proposed capping the value of deductions for upper income households at 28%, which would have raised $584 billion over 10 years. Prior to 2001, the personal exemption and itemized deductions phased out for upper income taxpayers; those phaseouts were eliminated by the Bush tax cuts. Mr Obama's budget would reinstate them, raising $164 billion over a decade. (These provisions would raise considerably less revenue if the two top rates did not go up.)"
  • Mitt Romney Haunted By Missing Tax Returns As Campaign Draws To Close, Huffington Post(November 5, 2012) by Zach Carter, Jason Cherkis, and Ryan Grim

    "The questions raised by this information -- and lack of information -- gain importance with Romney’s vague tax reform proposal. In August, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center published a study indicating that the tax rate reductions Romney had been promising wealthy Americans simply are not mathematically possible without either raising taxes on the middle class or expanding the federal budget deficit. Romney responded not with a more narrowly tailored plan, but by insisting that other studies showed that his math did work. Most of those studies, however, were actually blog posts. And all of them indicated that Romney would have to eliminate a host of popular tax preferences, including the mortgage interest deduction, for people making as little as $100,000 a year –- an income level often considered to be middle-class."

October

  • How the Fiscal Cliff Affects the Poorest Americans, Washington Post (October 28, 2012) by Suzy Khimm

    "While the 2001 changes overwhelmingly helped middle-income families, the 2009 expansion was targeted to help the bottom 20 percent of Americans, as the Tax Policy Center’s Elaine Maag explains in this chart: 

    [LINK TO CHART]

    Overall, if the tax breaks from the 2009 stimulus are allowed to expire—the EITC and Child Tax Credit expansions, along with American Opportunity Credit for college tuition—the poorest 20 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up by $209 on average, reducing their after-tax income by 1.9 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center. The top 40 percent of Americans, by contrast, would see see a mere 0.1 percent drop in after-tax income. And advocates for the poor are now worried that these provisions will fall by the wayside during the fight over the Bush tax cuts and their impact on the richest Americans."

  • Tax Policy Center in Spotlight for Its Romney Study, New York Times (October 24, 2012) by Annie Lowery

    "No white paper or policy manifesto put out during the presidential campaign has proved more controversial than an August study by the Washington-based Tax Policy Center, a respected nonprofit that issues studiously detailed tax analyses."

  • Study: Tax Deduction Cap Would Raise $1.3 Trillion, Wall Street Journal (October 18, 2012) by Siobhan Hughes

    "The Tax Policy Center report was posted by Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center and a former deputy assistant director for tax analysis at the Congressional Budget Office. 'Capping deductions would raise revenue in a highly progressive way but how much revenue and how progressive depend on the cap,' Mr. Williams wrote in a post."

  • Would Mitt Romney's cap on itemized deductions work? Los Angeles Times (October 18, 2012) by David Lauter and Lisa Mascaro

    "Unfortunately for Romney, however, the cap does not come close to covering the full cost of the tax plan he has proposed, according to a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a specialized Washington think tank. The Romney tax plan would reduce federal revenue by about $5 trillion over 10 years in addition to the cost of the Bush-era tax cuts that he would extend.

    'These new estimates suggest that Romney will need to do much more than capping itemized deductions to pay for the roughly $5 trillion in rate cuts and other tax benefits he has proposed,' wrote Roberton Williams, an analyst at the nonpartisan center, which is a joint operation of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.

    The Tax Policy Center analysis suggested that Romney’s proposed cap would raise revenue in a ‘highly progressive’ way because upper-income households benefit more from itemized deductions. The center found that the cap would provide considerable revenue to offset the cost of the tax cut, but would still leave a huge gap.

    The center’s staff consists of former government tax experts from both Republican and Democratic administrations. Romney and his aides cited the center as an authoritative source during Republican primary debates but since then have objected to the center’s analyses of shortcomings in their tax plan."

  • Romney's tax plan still nowhere close to adding up, Salon.com (October 18, 2012) by Alex Seitz-Wald

    "At first Romney’s campaign tried to discredit the study as a left-wing smear, but when that didn’t really work — the TPC is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, two well-respected D.C. think tanks — Romney offered a modification: He’ll cap the amount of deductions wealthy people can take. Basically this means that Romney’s plan would limit the amount of money rich people could save via the tax code at a finite level (he’s offered several possibilities: $17,000, $25,000 or $50,000). This is probably actually a very good idea, considering that rich people enjoy a whopping 80 percent of the savings from itemized deductions, but is it enough to pay for Romney’s $5 trillion cut?"

  • Romney’s Proposal to Cap Deductions Would Not Pay for His Tax Cuts, Analysis Says, New York Times (October 17, 2012) by Michael Cooper

    "Mr. Romney has pledged that his tax plan will not add to the deficit, so he would have to find ways to make up the lost revenues. But an analysis released Wednesday by the Tax Policy Center found that capping deductions would not yield enough revenue to make up the roughly $5 trillion that Mr. Romney’s various tax proposals are projected to cost over a decade.

    The center calculated that eliminating all deductions, which would go much further than Mr. Romney’s proposal, would yield only $2 trillion over 10 years if tax laws were changed along the lines Mr. Romney has proposed.

    'Even if you zero out itemized deductions, you’re still not going to get there,' Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said in an interview. ‘The dollars just aren’t big enough.'"

  • Financial Survival in a Time of Fiscal Peril, New York Times (October 16, 2012) by Paul Sullivan

    "If the government does not hit the brakes and all the provisions that make up the fiscal cliff come to pass, however, the impact on gross domestic product will be to reduce it 4 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center made the impact more personal: 90 percent of Americans will see their taxes rise, with an average increase of $3,500. The United States economy will slide back into recession."

  • Moody's Chief Economist On Romney’s Tax Plan: 'The Arithmetic Doesn’t Work,' Think Progress (October 12, 2012) by Anne Rose Strasser

    "Speaking on CNN's 'Starting Point,' Zandi acknowledged a study by the Tax Policy Center that shows Romney’s plan to lower taxes by 20 percent across the board, while making up those losses in government revenue by closing loopholes on the wealthy, doesn’t add up. Zandi even went so far as to say that 'the arithmetic doesn’t work as it is right now':

    ZANDI: Yeah, I think the Tax Policy Center study is the definitive study. They're non-partisan, they're very good. They say given the numbers that they've been provided by the Romney campaign, no, it will not add up. Now, the Romney campaign could adjust their plan. They could say okay I'm not going to lower tax rates as much as I'm saying right now and they could make the arithmetic work. But under the current plan, with the current numbers, no it doesn't. I'll say one other thing, though. I think it is important that we do focus on the so-called tax expenditures in the tax code. Those are the deductions, and credits, and loopholes in the code. We need to reduce those, because if we do we’re going to make the tax system fairer, easier to understand and ultimately lead to stronger growth. So that's the right place to focus. But, no, the arithmetic doesn't work as it is right now."

  • Paul Ryan at the vice-presidential debate: How the GOP VP nominee did in his first national debate versus Vice President Biden, Washington Post (October 12, 2012)

    "Moreover, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has analyzed the specifics of Romney's plan thus far released and concluded that the numbers aren't there to make it revenue neutral.

    In the debate, Ryan twice countered that 'six other studies' have found that not to be the case, but those studies actually do not provide much evidence that Romney’s proposal — as sketchy as it is — would be revenue neutral without making unrealistic assumptions or changing the parameters of Romney's tax cut. (Some are not even studies but more like opinion articles.) So Ryan is wrong to assert the studies have 'verified that this math adds up.'"

  • What the fiscal cliff means for the next dollar you earn, Washington Post (October 11, 2012) by Dylan Matthews

    "The Tax Policy Center quietly released numbers last week estimating marginal tax rates in 2013 under both current policy (that is, if we avoid the cliff) and under current law (if we go over it). People in the middle actually aren’t hit much. Households making between $40,000 to $50,000 a year, which is pretty close to the median, see marginal rates on wage income go up from 32.4 percent to 33.1 percent, when you count both the income and payroll taxes. That’s something, but probably not enough to deter a lot of people from working more."

  • What a Post-'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Will Cost US Households, CNBC.com (October 2, 2012) by Paul O'Donnell

    "It’s instructive, too, to look at the Tax Policy Center’s predictions about which households will see the biggest rise in their taxes. Taxpayers in the top 1 percent of earners would, given an unmitigated fiscal cliff, get belted with a 7 percent increase, or an average of $120,000 by 2013. Taxes on dividend income, a significant slice of that group’s income, would rise more than 20 percent."

  • Report: Nearly 90 percent of Americans would see taxes rise if ‘fiscal cliff’ hits, Washington Post(October 1, 2012) by Lori Montgomery

    "The Tax Policy Center report, titled “Toppling Off the Fiscal Cliff: Whose Taxes Will Rise and How Much?,” emphasizes that the fiscal cliff is not monolithic. Even as policymakers bicker over the Bush tax cuts, they could agree to extend other policies. The report identifies nine categories of tax increases, each with its own set of political considerations."

  • IRS Could Buy Time on Fiscal Cliff, Wall Street Journal(October 1, 2012) by John D. McKinnon

    "A spokesman for House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp said the TPC report ‘describes how painful [the fiscal cliff] would be’ and called on Democrats to join Republicans to stop the tax increases."

  • The Tax Side of the Fiscal Cliff, New York Times (October 1, 2012) by Annie Lowrey

    "How big are those federal tax increases? The respected Tax Policy Center is out with a full analysis of the math, and estimates the impact at more than half a trillion dollars next year alone.

    In the words of Eric Toder, one of the report’s authors, 'It’s just a huge, huge number.' The paper is full of such numbers. About 9 in 10 Americans would see their tax bills go up. The average household would pay $3,500 more. The typical middle-income household would pay $2,000 more. An average household in the top 1 percent would pay $120,000 more. The average federal tax rate would climb a whopping 5 percentage points. Americans would have 6.2 percent less after-tax income."

  • Americans face $3,500 fiscal cliff tax hit, CNNMoney.com (October 1, 2012) by Jeanne Sahadi

    "'Households with low incomes would be particularly affected by the expiration of tax credits expanded or created by the 2009 stimulus,' the Tax Policy Center wrote on Monday. 'And households with high incomes would be hit hard by the expiration of the 2001/2003 tax cuts that apply at upper income levels and the start of the new health reform taxes.'"

September

  • Breaking down Romney's 47% remark, San Francisco Chronicle (September 25, 2012) by Kathleen Pender

    "Romney's statement is believed to be based on numbers from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. It estimated that in 2010, about 47 percent of tax units nationwide paid no federal income tax. (A single person or married couple filing taxes jointly each count as one unit.) In 2011, this number had dropped to 46.4 percent.If you counted individuals instead of units, about 42 percent of adults paid no tax in 2011, according to Roberton Williams, a senior fellow with the center."

  • Mitt Romney admits he’ll need to raise taxes on the middle class, Washington Post (September 24, 2012) by Ezra Klein

    "The Tax Policy Center, the gold standard in nonpartisan tax wonkery, looked at the tax cut and these promises and declared the proposal 'not mathematically possible.'"

  • Sorry, Death and Taxes Still Apply, Wall Street Journal (September 22, 2012) by Rex Nutting

    "Mr. Romney is nearly correct on the numbers: According to the latest estimates from the Tax Policy Center, about 46% of American households will owe no federal income tax in 2012, in part because of policies to give poor people an incentive to work."

  • Five myths about the 47 percent, Washington Post (September 21, 2012) Op-ed by William Gale and Donald Marron

    "The vast majority of people who pay no federal income tax have low earnings, are elderly or have children at home. They are exempt from the income tax because of features Congress added to the tax code, thanks to bipartisan efforts, to help these groups. For example, Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both favored the earned-income tax credit (EITC), which has helped millions of families stave off poverty."

  • A History Of Mitt Romney And The 47 Percent, Talking Points Memo (September 19, 2012) by Briand Beutler

    "In July 2009, the nonpartisan and respected Tax Policy Center determined that 47 percent — yes, again — would pay no income tax in 2009.

    The conclusion was widely misunderstood and abused on cable news and talk radio. In April 2010, TPC’s Howard Gleckman felt compelled to set the record straight. 'Let me explain—repeat actually—what this means,' he wrote.

    About half of taxpayers paid no federal income tax last year. It does not mean they paid no tax at all. Many shelled out Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. In fact, only 14 percent of Americans didn’t pay either income or payroll taxes. Some paid property taxes and, it is fair to say, just about all of them paid sales taxes of one kind or another. So to say they pay no taxes is flat wrong.However, this class warfare-like rhetoric plays to a perception that the income tax is a chump tax: Only hard-working folks like us pay it. The welfare queens don’t. The super-rich don’t. It is a powerful emotional argument. It is also flat wrong…. [A]s you file your last-minute returns on Tax Day, keep in mind what really is going on with the now-famous 47 percent. It may not be quite what you think.

    Moreover, as TPC’s Roberton Williams noted on Tuesday, the 47 percent figure is a temporary phenomenon of the Great Recession, driven largely by the depressed economy. 'It’s worth noting that the percentage has changed over time, rising and falling as the economy fluctuates and Congress enacts short-term stimulus tax cuts,' he wrote. 'Looking forward, we project that the percentage will fall below 40 percent by the end of the decade, even if Congress makes the Bush-era tax cuts permanent.' TPC went on to estimate (PDF) that 45 percent of households would pay no federal income tax in 2010. In 2011, the number was 46."

  • For whom the taxman cometh, The Economist (September 18, 2012)

    "In remarks at a fund-raising event earlier this year, Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president, claimed that 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax. According to the Tax Policy Center, he is largely correct, as the chart on the left shows. But most Americans do pay federal taxes of some sort, such as payroll taxes, and nearly all pay sales taxes. The increase in the number of people who do not pay federal income tax is largely due to efforts by both Republicans and Democrats to lower the tax burden of low-income workers."

  • Romney’s Tax Plan Leaves Key Variables Blank, New York Times (September 9, 2012) Annie Lowrey and David Kocieniewski

    "'The combination of stuff they’ve specified is not only impossible — it is impossible several times over,' said William G. Gale, the director of economic studies for the center-left Brookings Institution and a co-author of a definitive Tax Policy Center study on Mr. Romney's plan, whose arithmetic the Obama campaign is citing."

  • For Tax Policy Center, Greater Influence Means Greater Scrutiny, Tax Notes(September 4, 2012) by Eric Kroh

    "Other economists agreed that the TPC does not have a political agenda that favors a particular party. Daniel N. Shaviro of New York University School of Law said the TPC's reputation is "sky-high" and that its analyses are the "coin of the realm." However, that isn't to say that some economists don't have legitimate objections to the TPC's positions, Shaviro said. Economists advising the Romney campaign probably have no problem with the arithmetic of the TPC analysis but could disagree with some of the assumptions, especially about the expected rate of economic growth, he said."

August

  • Mitt Romney’s budget is a fantasy, Part II, Washington Post (August 16, 2012) by Ezra Klein

    "In an interview with Fortune earlier this month, Mitt Romney responded to the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of his tax plan:

    'I indicated as I announced my tax plan that the key principles included the following. First, that high-income people would continue to pay the same share of the tax burden that they do today. And second, that there would be a reduction in taxes paid by middle-income taxpayers. Those are the key principles of my plan that the Tax Policy Center chose to ignore.'

    No, the Tax Policy Center didn’t 'ignore' those principles. It tried to test them. And the principles failed.

    What's more, they failed for a comically simple reason. ‘The total value of the available tax expenditures (once tax expenditures for capital income are excluded) going to high-income taxpayers is smaller than the tax cuts that would accrue to high-income taxpayers, high-income taxpayers must necessarily face a lower net tax burden.’

    That is to say, the tax cuts Romney is promising the rich are larger than the available storehouse of tax breaks Romney can close to pay for them. As such, if the plan is going to be revenue neutral, as Romney has pledged, it is mathematically impossible for it to do anything but shift the tax burden away from the rich.

    Note that Romney's response to this plan is, quite literally, that the Tax Policy Center refused to believe that he would do this impossible thing. Romney has a lot of economists and policy thinkers around him. If any one of them had come up with a better argument, my guess is that Romney would have used it."

  • Websites that help sort fact from fiction, Boston Globe (August 15, 2012) by Scott Lehigh

    "But what if you’re interested in a detailed discussion of the candidates’ plans and what they’ll mean for taxpayers? There's no better place to check in from time to time than the Tax Policy Center.A joint enterprise of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, the center’s nonpartisan experts produce well-regarded studies. When the center recently called Romney’s tax cut plan unworkable, the Romney campaign tried to discredit the center by calling it 'a liberal group.' Problem: One of the authors had once worked for President George H.W. Bush. Second problem: The Romney team had previously cited the center’s critique of former Republican rival Rick Perry’s fiscal plan, labeling it 'objective, third-party analysis,' which was actually, well, an objective third-party analysis."

  • Does a Romney-Ryan Ticket Really Ensure Clash of Visions? Bloomberg (August 12) by Francis Wilkinson

    "Yet there is reason to be skeptical that Romney has just embraced a Manichean struggle. Romney’s campaign is emerging from two weeks of brutal scrutiny of his budget plan. After analyzing the plan on Romney's own terms, the Tax Policy Center concluded it was 'mathematically impossible.'"

  • A tough new Obama ad that — surprise! — is accurate, Washington Post (August 3, 2012) by Glenn Kessler

    "Readers of this column know that we have frequently cited the Tax Policy Center's work. In a town full of partisans, the group is about as even-handed and nonpartisan as possible. The staff roster consists of serious and credible analysts with experience working in the administrations of both parties."

  • Nine takeaways on Romney’s tax plan, Washington Post – Wonkblog(August 2, 2012) by Ezra Klein

    "1) The Tax Policy Center bent over backwards to make Romney's promises add up. They assumed a Romney administration wouldn’t cut a dollar of tax preferences for anyone making less than $200,000 until they had cut every dollar of tax preferences for everyone making over $200,000. They left all preferences for savings and investment untouched, as Romney has promised. They even tested the plan under a model developed, in part, by Greg Mankiw, one of Romney's economic advisers, that promises 'implausibly large growth effects' from tax cuts. The fact that they couldn’t make Romney’s numbers work even when they stacked all these scenarios on top of one another shows just how impossible Romney’s promises are."

  • Romney’s Tax Hike, New York Times – Taking Note(August 2, 2012) by David Firestone

    "The Tax Policy Center, if anything, comprises a gang of raging moderates from both parties who have infuriated ideologues for years by simply telling the truth about the tax system. It has one of the more reliable and unbiased computer models of the nation’s tax system. But for the far right (also known as the Republican center), any tax analysis that doesn’t swallow the prosperity gospel of tax-cut magic is, therefore, liberal."

  • Study: Romney tax plan would result in cuts for rich, higher burden for others, Washington Post(August 1, 2012) by Lori Montgomery

    "Mitt Romney’s plan to overhaul the tax code would produce cuts for the richest 5 percent of Americans — and bigger bills for everybody else, according to an independent analysis set for release Wednesday. The study was conducted by researchers at the Brookings Institution and the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, who seem to bend over backward to be fair to the Republican presidential candidate.”

  • Obama: Romney 'asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a tax cut,' Politico (August 1, 2012) by Jennifer Epstein

    "President Obama is set to attack Mitt Romney on Wednesday for pushing tax reforms that would cut taxes for the rich while raising the burden on other taxpayers. It's an argument that Obama often makes, but as he speaks in Mansfield, Ohio, it will come with the added weight of a new report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center -- which is affiliated with the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution -- that backs up his claim."

July

  • Obama Tax Plan on the Trail: Part of the Reelection Strategy, National Journal (July 25, 2012) by Sophie Quinton

    "As both sides square off before Congress's August recess, the rhetoric has outpaced the reality of their proposals, experts say. The Bush tax-cut expiration is 'an extremely narrow way to phrase the issue,' said William G. Gale, co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. He’d rather see a more robust effort to address both the short-term weakness in the economy and the long-term problem of the deficit. But political constraints make that kind of strategic action difficult."
  • Key Republican: Extend Bush tax cuts for year, Wall Street Journal - MarketWatch (July 24, 2012) by Elizabeth Dexheimer

    "'A combination of a stimulus package [which would let the Bush tax cuts expire] and going off the fiscal cliff is the single best, most feasible way to address the short- term and long-term issues,' said William Gale, co-director of Brookings tax policy center and former economist for the Council of Economic Advisors under President George H.W. Bush."
  • Few pay more taxes under health care law, USA Today (July 17, 2012) by Kelly Kennedy and Richard Wolf

    "The law's impact on middle-income taxpayers 'is on average going to be relatively small,' says Donald Marron, director of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. 'The bulk of the taxes are aimed at corporations and high-income folks.'"
  • Policy and the Personal, New York Times (July 15, 2012) by Paul Krugman

"Look, voters aren’t policy wonks who pore over Tax Policy Center analyses. And when a politician — say, Mr. Obama — cites actual numbers in a speech, well, there’s always a politician on the other side to contradict him. How are voters supposed to know who’s telling the truth? In fact, earlier this year focus groups given an accurate description of Mr. Romney’s policy proposals refused to believe that any politician would take such a position."

June

  • Take your pick: GOP plans would either explode deficit, or hike taxes on middle class, Washington Post (June 20, 2012) by Greg Sargent

    "I asked Roberton Williams of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center to assess the Dems' claims. He said Dems were merely making assumptions about the deductions the Ryan plan would close. But he also noted that until the Romney and Ryan plans specify how they would pay for their tax cuts, they should be considered deficit busters. Williams:

     'The Ryan plan as laid out is a revenue loser and would make it harder to bring the deficit under control. As laid out, both plans lose lots of revenues and would make the deficit worse.'"      

  • Obama challenges on vague Romney tax, budget plan, Reuters (June 15, 2012) by Kevin Drawbaugh and Kim Dixon

    "The Tax Policy Center, a centrist think tank, estimated in March that the Romney plan would cut federal tax liability by $480 billion in 2015, or just under $5 trillion over 10 years.

    The center noted its analysis was incomplete because Romney has not spelled out how he would "broaden the base" of taxpayers to help lower rates. Romney has said that some tax benefits for the wealthy might have to be curtailed. Obama also said 70 percent of the benefits from Romney's proposed tax cuts would go to those making more than $200,000 a year. A Tax Policy Center analysis shows 67 percent of Romney's proposed tax cuts benefit those in upper income groups."

  • U.S. state revenues recover but budgets still tight, Reuters (June 13, 2012) by Lisa Lambert

    "Europe poses a large threat to many states, especially those that rely heavily on income taxes, said Kim Reuben, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. Their budgets take steep hits when taxpayers' investment income drops.

    'If Europe leads to a recession, if growth slows, I think states are going to be in trouble,' she said. 'Their revenues are going to be lower and there will be more uncertainty for states that trade with the rest of the world.'"

  • Tax loophole or policy fix? It can be in the eye of the beholder, Washington Post (June 11, 2012) by Suzy Khimm

    "The early debate on the fiscal cliff has mostly focused on the two biggest changes that are set to take effect on Jan. 1: the Bush tax cuts and the automatic spending cuts under the sequester. But yet another major piece will be in play: dozens of temporary tax provisions that make up one-eighth of the $450 billion of the fiscal cliff's deficit reduction, according to the Tax Policy Center's Donald Marron, who testified at the House hearing."

     
  • Poverty Calculator Highlights Hurdles Facing Poor, Huffington Post (June 6, 2012) by Tom Zeller, Jr.

    "A novel tool developed by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan social policy think tank in Washington, measures the complex interactions between federal and state income taxes, payroll taxes, and a raft of potential benefit programs. The tool sheds new light on what can often be a brutal reality for those at the lowest rungs of the economic ladder: As even meager income is earned, benefits can fall off precipitously, often making it difficult, if not impossible, for many people to climb out of the poverty trap.

    'It's been well documented that there comes a point when it can seem like it's not worth working any more,' said Elaine Maag, a co-director of the Net Income Change Calculator project, and a senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. 'Tax and transfer benefits can phase out fast enough that people are not seeing that much of an increase in their total income -- even as they work more hours. So there's still a huge hurdle for people trying to move out of poverty.'

    Whether those hurdles act as a disincentive to work is an open question, Maag said, but the new calculator reveals wide variation among states in how much and how quickly various benefits drop off. It also underscores the difficult trade-offs that poor and low-wage workers face as they attempt to better their lot."

May

  • Tax Reform: Cap All Deductions at 2 Percent of AGI, Fiscal Times (May 3, 2012) by Eric Pianin

    "Feldstein's approach would generate an estimated $278 billion to $300 billion a year in fresh tax revenue. By comparison, the House-passed GOP budget and tax-cut plan would cost the Treasury on average $460 billion a year of foregone revenue or $4.6 trillion over the coming decade, according to the urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The $120 billion shortfall would likely result in additional budget cuts."

"But we can go even further. In a conference call about this report with journalists last week (you can listen to it here), Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center codirector William Gale acknowledged, as most economists do, that changes in tax rates affect behavior, 'but they also have effects on the deficits, and those deficits' impact on growth can be far larger than the incentive effects that are created.'"
"The recent Republican tax bill might be the wrong answer to the problem of poor small business sales. As Howard Gleckman, who blogs for the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, explains in a recent post, the temporary tax cut won't do much to change fundamentals. It will provide little more than a windfall for eligible companies."

April

  • Troubling Favoritism In Tax Code, New York Times (April 21, 2012) by James Stewart

    "'Capital gains were the single biggest tax preference when the A.M.T. was passed, and they are again now,' William G. Gale, co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, told me this week. 'Congress should have put them back in as a preference item' when capital gains rates were cut, 'but it didn't,' Mr. Gale said. 'The antisheltering part of the A.M.T. has been completely neutered.'"

  • Mortgage-Tax Break Curbed by Housing Slump, Bloomberg (April 20, 2012) by Amanda Crawford

    "'Most economists don't like it,' said Kim Rueben, senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center in Washington, a nonpartisan research group, noting that there is little evidence that the tax break spurs home ownership.

    'We are effectively encouraging people to buy bigger homes and take out debt because we are allowing them to deduct interest,' Rueben said."

  • How the Buffett Rule Would Affect Small Businesses, New York Times (April 16, 2012) by Robb Mandelbaum

    "According to calculations by the Tax Policy Center, some 217,000 “tax units” (households, basically) would be subject to the Buffett Rule in 2015, or nearly half of all households making more than $1 million, assuming the Bush tax cuts are extended. Only 76,000 units earn above $2 million and would be subject to the full brunt of the tax. (This small set of tax units would likely include Mitt and Ann Romney, who paid just 14 percent of their adjusted gross income in federal taxes in 2010.) If the Bush tax cuts expire, the capital gains rate would rise to 20 percent and all dividends would be treated as ordinary income — and in 2015, the number of tax units subject to Buffett would fall by 100,000.

    So why is this proposal not really relevant to small businesses?

    First, most small-business owners do not make $1 million. (And, of course, an even tinier percentage make more than $2 million.) But even among those who do, most would still not be subject to the Buffett Rule. That's because the proposal does not indiscriminately tax million-dollar earners. Rather, it taxes million-dollar earners who are not paying an effective 30 percent tax rate, and these, typically, are people who earn most of their money from stock dividends or capital gains on stock sales, both of which are taxed at just 15 percent, according to Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center, who spoke to NPR about the proposal on Wednesday."

  • Buffett Rule Heads to a Vote, Nears End of Its Legislative Life, National Journal (April 16, 2012) by Nancy Cook

    "And, perhaps, most importantly, the Buffett Rules puts Romney on the defensive about his own wealth. It reminds voters that Romney wants to cut taxes for guys like him—guys who earn millions in income from carried interest, capital gains, and dividends. These types of investments provide income for one-third of top earners, according to Donald Marron of the Tax Policy Center, but across the economic spectrum, just 6 percent of Americans' income comes from such investments. Try explaining that in a swing state."

  • Romney's Mortgage-Tax Plan Is a Drop in the Bucket, Bloomberg (April 16, 2012) by Deborah Solomon

    "I asked the very smart economists at the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Instituteand Brookings Institution, for their calculation. Based on some very rough, initial estimates, they say Romney's idea would save the U.S. about $10 billion per year."

  • 'Buffett Rule' A Rallying Cry For Obama At Tax Time, NPR - All Things Considered (April 10, 2012) by Scott Horsely

    "Bob Williams, of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, says the problem with the tax system is all the special deductions and carve-outs that allow people making similar incomes to pay very different tax rates. He understands the desire to fix that but says the answer is not another layer of complexity, like a special tax rate for millionaires."

  • Buffett Rule or Not, Most Rich People Already Pay, Bloomberg (April 12, 2012) by Richard Rubin

    "If the Buffett Rule—officially named the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012—became law, the number of people required to pay substantially more in taxes would be relatively small. Of the 217,000 households that would be affected by the rule, 4,000 will have incomes exceeding $1 million and tax rates below 15 percent, according to estimates for 2015 by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group. The average rate, including payroll tax, for the middle 20 percent of taxpayers will be 15.9 percent, the center projects.

    Although investors including Buffett and Romney—who are now taxed no more than 15 percent on capital gains and dividends—would be 'clobbered' by the Buffett Rule, says Tax Policy Center senior fellow Roberton Williams, the tax rate of top executives, movie stars, and pro athletes wouldn't change as much because their pay is already taxed as ordinary income. High-income households with a mix of ordinary and capital income currently have rates from 15 percent to 30 percent. Their taxes would rise, though they already pay more than middle-class households."

  • Obama expected to push 'Buffet Rule' in speech at FAU Tuesday, Palm Beach Post (April 10, 2012) by George Bennett 

    "Those in Buffett's rarefied economic strata who make more than $2.1 million a year paid an average of 32.1 percent of their income in federal taxes last year, the

    Tax Policy Center estimates. Buffett's low tax rate is 'not average, but it is possible, certainly,' said the Tax Policy Center's Eric Toder, who added, 'I don't know how we would get to 36 percent for his secretary.'

    Bosanek's salary has not been revealed, but anyone paying an effective federal tax rate above 30 percent appears to be an anomaly. The average effective tax rate for all taxpayers was 18.8 percent in 2011, according to the Tax Policy Center. The center said those in the middle 20 percent of all filers -- with incomes between $33,542 and $59,485 -- paid an average of 12.6 percent in combined federal taxes.

    The Tax Policy Center's estimates are similar to those generated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, though CBO's freshest data is from 2007."

  • 'Buffett Rule' A Rallying Cry For Obama At Tax Time, NPR - All Things Considered (April 10, 2012) by Scott Horsely

    "Bob Williams, of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, says the problem with the tax system is all the special deductions and carve-outs that allow people making similar incomes to pay very different tax rates. He understands the desire to fix that but says the answer is not another layer of complexity, like a special tax rate for millionaires."

  • Detroit Financial Advisory Board Finds Model In New York City, Washington D.C., The Huffington Post (April 9, 2012) by Janell Ross

"'Sure, a board is absolutely at odds with the notion that voters get to decide things,' said Kim Rueben, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank. Reuben studies state and local finance. 'But it's also an acknowledgment that there are serious problems. It puts somebody else in the room with a green eye-shade who will say I don't believe the most optimistic [tax revenue] projections. Let's make that unpopular cut right now.'"

"Of these, $4.6 trillion is the revenue cost over the next decade of the tax cuts embodied in the plan, as estimated by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. These cuts — which are, by the way, cuts over and above those involved in making the Bush tax cuts permanent — would disproportionately benefit the wealthy, with the average member of the top 1 percent receiving a tax break of $238,000 a year."

  • Ryan and Obama Deficits, The Conscience of a Liberal ( April 8, 2012) by Paul Krugman

    "But the Tax Policy Center (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/Content/PDF/T12-0075.pdf) has scored the actual Ryan tax proposals, minus the mystery meat, and concludes that they would reduce revenue by more than 2 percent of GDP in 2023."

  • The Political Deadlock Over National Debt, Washington Post (April 6, 2012) by Zachary Goldfarb

    "'The president has to be more realistic about raising taxes more across the board on a broader group of people if he's going to maintain spending at the levels he's talking about,' said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. 'On the other side, the Republicans are going to have to realize that not increasing taxes requires the very, very large cuts in spending that disproportionately benefits low- and middle-income households.'"

  • What's the Easiest Way to Cheat on Your Taxes?, New York Times (April 3, 2012) by Adam Davidson

    "The most surprising loopholes are the ones that are so big that they don't even seem like loopholes. The mortgage-interest deduction, which lets people deduct the interest they pay on their mortgages, requires the government to essentially write an annual check to everyone with a mortgage. The incentive was supposed to encourage more people to buy houses, but there's not much evidence for this, says Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Centerin Washington. It does, however, encourage people to take out even bigger mortgages. It will cost the government an estimated $84 billion this year. And it's considered untouchable."

  • Private Equity Tax Break Won't Apply to Health-Care Levy, Bloomberg(April 2, 2012) by Margaret Collins

    "An estimated 4.1 million households, or 2.4 percent, would be affected by one or both of the new health-care taxes, data released by the Tax Policy Centerin Washington on March 28 show. The thresholds aren't indexed for inflation so the percentage of people subject to the levies almost doubles by 2022, said Jim Nunns, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan group."

March

  • Ways and Means Clears GOP Tax Cut Proposal, The Hill (March 28, 2012) by Bernie Becker

    "But Democrats, who have sharply criticized the measure in recent days, pointed out that the proposal is the sort of temporary tax provision that the House GOP budget, which is expected to get a floor vote this week, calls for ending.

    Rep. Sandy Levin (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on Ways and Means, also cited a study from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center that said that close to half of the tax cut's benefits would go to those making more than $1 million a year.

    'This is, as I said, the antithesis of tax reform,' Levin told reporters after the markup. 'This is indefensible and inexcusable.'"

  • Ryan Spending Plan Makes Republicans Pre-Sputnik, Bloomberg (March 28, 2012) by Rich Miller

    "'There is no magic number' for what's the best level of the debt as a proportion of GDP, said Donald Marron, who served in the Bush White House and was acting CBO director in 2006. What you want is for government to have liabilities that are low enough that it can ramp up borrowing if needed in a crisis without spooking investors, said Marron, who is now director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington."

  • Guess Who Wants to Kill Corporate Tax Reform, The Fiscal Times(March 27, 2012) by Michelle Hirsch

    "The major reason is that raising taxes on individuals, borrowing the money from abroad, or cutting spending on Medicare and Social Security are political nonstarters, said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and author of the TaxVox blog.  Another is that even a small tax increase on a few firms would supply the Treasury with substantially more revenue than shifting the burden to small businesses, Gleckman said."

  • Tax Policy: Much Talk, Few Details, New York Times (March 22, 2012) by Floyd Norris

    "The Tax Policy Center, which is nonpartisan and widely respected, tried to analyze the impact of the tax changes Mr. Ryan proposed. He would get rid of the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax. He would cut corporate taxes by seeking to tax only earnings made in the United States. He would repeal assorted other taxes. And he would cut the top individual tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent."

  • Paul Ryan's Path to Nowhere, Washington Post (March 21, 2012) by Matt Miller

    "Federal spending has gone from recent norms of about 20 percent of GDP to 24 percent under President Obama, thanks to the lagging economy and spending on things like the stimulus and unemployment insurance. Ryan wants to get it back to 20 percent in the next few years and return taxes to their more recent norms of 19 percent, up from today's recession-depleted 15 percent. (The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said Tuesday that Ryan's proposals would in fact fall dramatically short of 19 percent, but leave that aside for the moment.)"

  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Still On The Books, The Economist - blogs  (March 9, 2012)

    "Some government spending remains fairly visible; in a 2010 paper, Ms Mettler reports that barely a quarter of food stamp recipients are unaware of having used a government social programme. For the home mortgage-interest deduction, the figure is 60%. The most visible programmes involve interaction with public officials, whereas those administered through the tax code or subsidised private organisations pass largely unnoticed. In practice this means the programs that benefit wealthier parts of society are often the least visible. The reality is that this hidden spending is regressive; the the Tax Policy Center estimates that ending all individual-income tax expenditures in America would cost the lower quintile $931 per year and the top one percent almost $280,000."

  • Mitt Romney's Tax Plan Is a Moral (and Mathematical) Failure, The Atlantic (March 2, 2012) by Derek Thompson

    "The Tax Policy Center has released its new-and-improved analysis of Mitt Romney's new-and-'improved' tax plan, and here's what they found. Lower taxes for everyone except the lowest-income Americans. Bigger tax breaks for the richest. And $500 billion added to the deficit by 2015 that we would have to borrow or cut."

  • Parsing Santorum's Proposals, New York Times (March 1, 2012) by Floyd Norris

    "The Tax Policy Center in Washington estimated that in one year, 2015, that set of proposals would reduce federal tax revenue by 40 percent, or $1.3 trillion, from what it would be under current law, which assumes the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. But the center estimated that not everyone would pay lower taxes under that proposal. It estimated that 0.3 percent of taxpayers — most of them earning less than $30,000 — would face tax increases.

    ...The center's analysis is based solely on Mr. Santorum's public statements; his campaign declined to discuss the proposals with the group. But since the Tax Policy Center's estimate was published in January, the Santorum campaign seems to have decided it needed to do something to assuage those who care about deficits."

  • Credibility of Romney's Big Tax Cut Questioned, Financial Times (March 1, 2012) by James Politi

"Mitt Romney's latest tax-cut proposals would result in $3.4tn in foregone revenue for the federal government, with revenues stuck at the very low level of 16 per cent of gross domestic product for the next decade, according to a study by an independent think-tank.

The calculations by the Tax Policy Center will raise questions about the fiscal rectitude of Mr Romney's economic plan at a time when the former Massachusetts governor is vowing to slash US budget deficits."

February

  • How Fuel Efficient Cars Drive Up Gas Prices, The Fiscal Times (February 27, 2012) by Michelle Hirsch

    "The introduction of fuel-efficient vehicles is connected to many states' decisions to hike their gas taxes, said Kim Rueben, a state and local finance expert at the Tax Policy Center. Since gasoline is taxed per-gallon, and fuel-efficient cars need less of it, states are having a harder time keeping up with construction and road maintenance costs, she said. Consequently, some car manufacturers like General Motors have actually urged states to increase gasoline taxes to encourage fuel-efficient car purchases."

  • America is Europe, New York Times (February 23, 2012) by David Brooks

    "These tax expenditures are hidden but huge. Budget experts Donald Marron and Eric Toder added up all the spending-like tax preferences and found that, in 2007, they amounted to $600 billion. If you had included those preferences as government spending, then the federal government would have actually been one-fifth larger than it appeared."

  • You're Not Paying the Tax Rate You Think You Are, Reuters (February 21, 2012) by David Cay Johnston

    "In a new analysis the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington research organization, used a wider measure of income to calculate effective tax rates. The rates are much lower using this broader measure of income.

    The Tax Policy Center computer model of the tax system, which estimates how changes in the law would affect tax burdens, has repeatedly made projections that subsequent events showed were accurate. The center is a joint project of two Washington research organizations, the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. The George W. Bush administration went out of its way to praise the reliability of the center findings even when they were not helpful to administration policy."

  • Obama Campaign Memo Takes Aim at Santorum, Los Angeles Times (February 21, 2012) by Kathleen Hennessey and Michael A. Memoli

    "Obama's camp for months has primarily targeted Mitt Romney, indicating despite the wild twists and turns in the Republican primary the president's advisers believe the former Massachusetts governor would be their eventual opponent.

    But a campaign memo released this morning suggests some hedging on that point. The memo notably bashes the fiscal policies of both Romney and Santorum, who took the lead in some national polls last week.

    'As Senator Santorum has risen in the polls, the scrutiny of his policies will follow,' campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told reporters when asked why the former Pennsylvania senator was included in the campaign's fiscal critique. 'While both Governor Romney and Senator Santorum both claim to be budget-cutters, they've both introduced proposals that would lead to massive increases in the deficit. So we thought it was appropriate to raise those questions today.'

    The memo claims Romney's tax and budget proposals would add $175 billion a year to the deficit. Santorum's proposals, which call for large tax cuts, would add $990 billion to the deficit in 2015, the memo said, citing a study from the Tax Policy Center."

  • A Life Unfolds As Idaho Sorts Out Its Budget Priorities, NPR - StateImpact, Idaho (February 20, 2012) by Molly Messick

    "Not surprisingly, this discussion, tax cuts versus restored funding for spending programs, is taking place in many states, particularly those with conservative governors. Kim Rueben with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center stresses that budget decisions made now will affect how states fare the next time revenues take a downward turn. 'States set up their fiscal systems in periods when they have a little bit more slack,' she says, 'so they're getting more money in, and often the problems we see when budgets get tight have been set into place when they start getting some money back.'"

  • The Buffett Tax Rule Is Really More of a Guideline, New York Times (February 16, 2012) by Ann Lowrey

    "William G. Gale, a director of the Tax Policy Center and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said: 'A well-designed tax system would as an artifact be consistent with something like the Buffett Rule. But trying to glom the Buffett Rule onto the current tax system? That's going to be a mess.'"

  • Could the 'Buffett Tax' Replace the Dreaded AMT? Wall Street Journal (February 13, 2012) by Laura Saunders

    "According to Roberton Williams of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, both bills could have high earners figure their taxes three ways and pay the highest amount. First would come regular tax, then the AMT and finally the millionaire's tax. For the last, taxpayers would start with adjusted gross income, subtract deductions for some charitable contributions, and then figure a tax of 30%.

    Williams estimates such a levy would bring in as much as $20 billion from 116,000 taxpayers in 2015—assuming no one changes his or her behavior, which many would. Still, that's far below the $40 billion or so the current AMT collects from about 4 million taxpayers (assuming tax rates stay the same and lawmakers enact a “patch” this year to keep the AMT from hitting about 30 million taxpayers)."

  • Obama Seeks Big Dividend Tax Hike for Wealthy, Reuters (February 13, 2012) by Kim Dixon and Patrick Temple-West

    "Companies complain that dividend taxation is a double tax, adding an individual investor tax on top of the corporate tax.

    Suggesting that this argument is over-stated, William Gale, an economist at the centrist Tax Policy Center, has written that half or more of dividends are not taxed because they flow to pension funds, retirement plans and other non-profits."

  • Why the GOP Should Stop Invoking Reaganomics, Washington Post (February 3, 2012) by Bruce Bartlett

    "According to the Tax Policy Center, the total federal tax rate (including both the employer and employee share of the payroll tax) for a four-personfamily earning the median national income more than doubled between 1965 and 1979, from 11.5 percent to 23.1 percent. The marginal tax rate — the tax on each additional dollar earned — rose from 17 percent to more than 36 percent. This “tax wedge” — the difference between a business's cost of employment and the employee's after-tax reward — also explained why unemployment was high despite robust growth."

  • Reporting On Romney's Taxes: Economics, History And Morality, NPR (February 3, 2012) by Edward Schumacher-Matos

    "Capital gains tax is long enshrined. Until 1921, the rate was equal to that on wages, according to Roberton Williams, senior fellow at the authoritative and non-partisan Tax Policy Center. The argument that a high capital gains tax was counter-productive prevailed after the war, and it was cut to as low as 13 percent, he said. Beginning with the Great Depression it mostly fluctuated, though during four years under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, wages and capital gains were again taxed the same—28 percent. The current rate was passed by Congress in 2003."

  • The Advantages and Risks of Gingrich's Tax Strategy, New York Times (February 2, 2012) by Paul Sullivan

    "'Could he have defended $2 million in compensation and $1 million in dividends?' asked Steve Rosenthal, a tax lawyer and visiting fellow at the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution in Washington. 'That would have been defendable. But fundamentally, the S corp. is his alter ego. Its sole business is service.'"

  • Romney Isn't Concerned, New York Times (February 2, 2012) by Paul Krugman

    "And we're talking about a lot of money. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Mr. Romney's tax plan would actually raise taxes on many lower-income Americans, while sharply cutting taxes at the top end. More than 80 percent of the tax cuts would go to people making more than $200,000 a year, almost half to those making more than $1 million a year, with the average member of the million-plus club getting a $145,000 tax break."

  • Cheap Shots at Romney ‘Poor’ Gaffe, Free Pass for Tax Plan: View, Bloomberg - editorials (February 2, 2012)

    "The real problem with Romney's remarks is that they bear little resemblance to his comparatively uncontroversial economic plan. According to the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, 'Believe in America,' Romney's economic blueprint, would impose fresh burdens on the poor, cutting anti-poverty programs while simultaneously depriving lawmakers of the money to repair the holes. As for the middle class, it is hard to argue that it is a primary “focus,” at least if you follow the money in the candidate's plan.

    A few examples. Romney would end tax credits for higher education, the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and other provisions enacted in 2009 to counter the recession. While taxes for many poor people would rise, taxes on the middle class would generally decline somewhat and taxes on the wealthiest would decline substantially. Romney would repeal health insurance for the working poor, repeal the estate tax and permanently extend the Bush tax cuts. The Tax Policy Centercalculates that in 2015 Romney's plan would generate an average break of $865,637 to the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers."

  • Does Romney's 'I'm Not Concerned About the Very Poor' Line Matter? The Atlantic (February 1, 2012) by Derek Thompson

    "This is what austerity does. It forces us to make tough choices about who wins and who loses. Mitt Romney has made his choice. His tax plan is basically today's tax policy with more support for businesses and investors, and less for the poor. First, he makes investment income tax free for the middle class. Second, he cuts corporate income taxes. Third, he repeals the estate tax. And fourth, he does not extend the tax cuts created by the 2009 stimulus bill, which Obama has proposed keeping. Romney's tax proposal would 'raise taxes for households in the bottom two quintiles, relative to what they're paying this year,' wrote Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center, even as it cuts taxes for middle class investors."

January

  • Talk of Taxing the Rich More Faces Political Realities, New York Times (January 26, 2012) By John Weisman

    "'They're using a baseball bat, rather than a scalpel' by applying the 30 percent minimum rate, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. 'By proposing the Buffett Rule, they're saying: "We don't like how the tax code is working. We're worried that there are some very wealthy people who aren't paying a fair share,"' he said. 'But instead of eliminating deductions and simplifying the tax code, they're just introducing more bells and whistles.'"

  • Mitt's 1040s: The Real Scandal is the Tax Code, The New Yorker (January 24, 2012) By John Cassidy

    "Cue an avalanche of articles and online rants pointing out that Romney is paying a smaller proportion of his income to the federal government than most middle-class Americans who actually work for a living and take home a fraction of what he does. Actually, that's not quite true. According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, in 2007, the last year for which figures are available, households in the middle fifth of the income distribution—roughly speaking, those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 a year—paid 14.3 per cent of their income to the federal government, which is about the same as Mitt."

  • Why Taxes Aren't As High As They Seem, New York Times (January 20, 2012) By David Leonhardt

    "Such breaks are probably one reason that so many people feel as if their own taxes are such a burden: they have a sense, and not incorrectly, that others are benefiting from tax breaks unavailable to them. 'If we had a simpler tax code,' said Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center, ''people might be more accepting of what they pay.'"

  • Why Mitt Romney's Tax Rate Isn't Lower than Most, San Francisco Chronicle (January 19, 2012) By Kathleen Pender

    "The Tax Policy Centeruses an even broader measure of income that includes some items left out of adjusted gross income, such as tax-exempt interest and un-taxed Social Security benefits.

    By this measure, the effective tax rate is 9 percent for all individuals and 14.7 percent for those in the $200,000 to $500,000 bracket. The rate is higher for people in higher brackets and lower for those in lower brackets.

    Some argue that an effective tax rate should also include Social Security and Medicare taxes. The Tax Policy Center says these so-called payroll taxes add seven percentage points to the average effective tax rates, but they hit lower-and middle-income people harder because the Social Security portion is only levied on the first $110,100 in annual income."

  • Higher Deficits Seen In Romney's Tax Plan, And His Rivals', New York Times (January 19, 2012) By Michael Cooper and David Kocieniewski

    "Mr. Romney's tax plan -- which calls for permanently extending the Bush administration's tax cuts, reducing the corporate income tax rate and eliminating the estate tax -- would cut the taxes of people earning more than a million dollars a year by an average of $295,874, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group."

  • Santorum Tax Cuts to Boost Deficit by $1.3 Trillion, Study Says, Bloomberg News (January 19, 2012) By Steven Sloan

    "The study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington compares the revenue that would be generated under Santorum's plan with the amount that the U.S. projects to collect under current law, which assumes several income tax cuts will expire at the end of 2012. The analysis doesn't consider the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts mandated to begin in 2013 or the $5 trillion in cuts that Santorum has pledged over five years.

    Still, the Tax Policy Center's analysis serves as a benchmark of how Santorum's policy positions would affect federal revenue compared with the plans of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. Previous studies by the Tax Policy Center found that former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich's proposals also would expand the deficit by $1.3 trillion. The budget shortfall would grow by $995 billion under Texas Governor Rick Perry's plan and by $600 billion in former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's tax proposal.

    'I was surprised at how large the revenue losses were,' said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. 'It's a lot of rate cuts and doesn't get rid of anything to help pay for that.'"

  • Capital Gains: Romney and the 1%, New York Times - Economix blog (January 17, 2012) By Shaila Dewan and Robert Gebeloff

    "Mr. Romney might manage to largely avoid payroll taxes, except for those on the $374,000 he makes in speaking fees, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, and he might deduct large amounts for charitable contributions. 'Trying to figure out what taxes he actually pays without seeing his tax return is very difficult,' he said."

  • How Romney and Obama Differ on the Economy, U.S. News & World Report (January 11, 2012) By Rick Newman

    "Analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center shows that the bottom 40 percent of earners would pay lower taxes under Obama's plan, while the next 40 percent would fare roughly the same under both plans. The top 20 percent of earners would pay less under Romney's plan. If Obama got his way, the average American's annual tax bill would fall by about $1,373, compared with the tax rules now on the books (which include the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts at the end of this year). Under Romney, the average decline would be $3,566. Voters should be skeptical of any proposed tax cuts, however, because they would add to the mushrooming national debt and Washington can scarcely afford them."

  • Analysis: SantorumTax Plan Cuts Rates, Keeps Goodies, Reuters (January 7, 2012) By Kim Dixon

    "Just under half of Americans do not pay federal income tax, according to the Tax Policy Center, a statistic that has become a conservative criticism of the current system. A large number of these individuals are retired and pay payroll, sales and other taxes."

  • Some Conservatives See Santorum's Tax Plan as 'Welfare in Disguise,' The Hill (January 7, 2012) By Bernie Becker

    "As Howard Gleckman of the non-partisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Centerhas noted, Santorum also would look to complement his tax plan by cutting $5 trillion in federal spending over five years – including freezing spending on Medicaid, food stamps and other social programs."

  • Mitt Romney Tax Plan Would Cut Taxes on Rich, Raise Taxes on Poor, Analysis Suggests, The Boston Globe (January 5, 2012) By Bobby Calvan

    "Those making more than $1 million a year would get a tax cut of about $150,000 -- amounting to about half of the total tax cuts he proposes, according to Howard Gleckman, a fellow at the Urban Instituteand editor of the Tax Policy Center's budget policy blog, 'TaxVox.'"

  • Mitt Romney Tax Plan Would Cut Taxes on Rich, Raise Taxes on Poor, Analysis Suggests, The Boston Globe (January 5, 2012) By Bobby Calvan

    "Those making more than $1 million a year would get a tax cut of about $150,000 -- amounting to about half of the total tax cuts he proposes, according to Howard Gleckman, a fellow at the Urban Instituteand editor of the Tax Policy Center's budget policy blog, 'TaxVox.'"

  • Rick Santorum's Big-Family Economics: It's All About the Kids, The Atlantic (January 4, 2012) By Derek Thomspon 

    "Like the other candidates, whose tax plans are compared easily in this Tax Policy Center chart, Santorum would reduce tax rates on earned income, investment income, and corporate income. But rather than pay for lower tax rates with fewer tax deductions, Santorum would keep deductions for charitable giving, mortgage interest, employer-sponsored healthcare, and retirement. Santorum would also eliminate the AMT and the estate tax on top of slashing revenue in every part of the tax code except the payroll tax."

  • GOP Candidates Agree on Problem, Diverge on Solution, Boston Globe (January 4 2012) By Anirban Basu  

    "For voters, the economy remains by far the dominant issue, even in such states as Iowa and New Hampshire that have weathered the turbulence relatively well. 'The economy is going to drive people's emotions when they go into that voting booth,' said Roberton Williams, a fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington.

    The policies of their candidates run the gamut 'You go from Mitt Romney, who would tinker around the edges and who wouldn't make many changes. Then we have Ron Paul, who would blow everything up,' said Williams, who for two decades was a top official at the Congressional Budget Office specializing in tax analysis. 'In between are everybody else.'"