The combination of the recently-passed health care legislation and the President’s proposed rollback of the Bush tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers would sharply boost tax rates on the wealthy. This is great news for the high-end real estate market. It may seem counterintuitive, but raising taxes on those in the top brackets could increase urban house prices by as much as 10 percent, and even more in east and west coast cities where homes are most expensive. The drivers of this windfall: higher top rates on ordinary income and hikes in capital gains taxes. Obama’s proposal to limit the benefit of itemized deductions to 28 percent could more than reverse this housing windfall, but that measure is unlikely to win congressional approval.
Economists can't seem to agree about whether the corporate tax falls on the rich or the poor. We pretty much concur that sales and payroll taxes are regressive and that income and estate taxes are progressive, but we argue endlessly about whether the burden of the corporate tax falls more on the wealthy or the middle class.
Is America's banker turning bearish? This week, Japan eclipsed China as the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities. This news comes one week after it was reported that China may sell-off some of its U.S. Treasury holdings to punish Washington for selling weapons to Taiwan. These developments offer more evidence that Beijing is growing less willing to continue buying and holding U.S. debt.
Unless Congress acts in the next six months, the estate tax will be repealed in 2010 and then revert to its 2001 parameters — substantially more burdensome than current levels — in 2011. This bizarre policy makes it very likely that Congress will reform the levy by the end of this year, but it’s unclear exactly how.
Earlier this week the Washington Post published an article painting the Administration’s tax plan as one that would burden small business owners with soaring tax payments. In stark contrast, a Post editorial run just two weeks earlier—“The Small Business Myth”—debunked claims that Obama’s plan unfairly targeted business owners. Which Washington Post piece is right?