February 12, 2008
Maybe it's time to have a grown-up discussion about the Bush tax cuts. Something big will happen to them before they expire in 2010. But they are not going to be made permanent. Nor will they be allowed to completely expire. For their own reasons, both political parties continue to argue over these absolutes, but this debate is silly and leads nowhere.
February 11, 2008
The Bush Administration's 2009 budget, released last week, contained a proposal to reform the tax incentives aimed at encouraging additional retirement saving. The Administration's plan calls for the consolidation of the various types of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) into a single Retirement Savings Account (RSA). RSAs would have the characteristics of a Roth IRA—that is, once contributions are made to the account, both the account balance and eventual distributions would never be taxed.
February 8, 2008
After Congress agreed to its $169 billion stimulus package last night, a happy House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) boasted, "What has passed the Congress in record time is a gift to the middle class and those who aspire to it in our country."
February 6, 2008
Congratulations to John McCain, whose strong Super Tuesday showing made him the clear frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. But who is the Real McCain? Is he the sometimes ornery contrarian who bucked his party on issues such as campaign finance reform, or the establishment Republican who, since 2004, has been a faithful supporter of President Bush?
February 4, 2008
The Administration released its FY2009 budget today. To save paper, OMB limited the number of printed copies, but Senate Budget Committee chairman, Kent Conrad (D-ND) couldn't resist quipping that the Administration "ran out of red ink."
January 31, 2008
While everyone has focused on the individual elements of the stimulus bills working their way through Congress, few have paid much attention to the business provisions. They should, because they could turn out to be an awfully big waste of money.
January 29, 2008
California's health care reform may be the first victim of the economic downturn. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's ambitious $14.9 billion plan to reform the state's health insurance system has crashed, in part because it was unclear proposed funding sources would raise enough revenue to ensure the program's viability in the face of a deteriorating budget environment. The state is facing a $14.5 billion deficit.
January 29, 2008
Not to spoil the stimulus party or anything, but the budget deficit this year could well approach $500 billion.
January 29, 2008
Among all the magical tax cuts in supply siders' arsenal, one is believed to have almost magical powers—cutting capital gains taxes. Advocates take it as a matter of faith that cutting tax rates on profits from sales of assets spurs so much more selling that revenues must increase.
January 25, 2008
Six months ago, states were predicting balanced budgets and surpluses. Virtually all had surpluses at the end of fiscal year 2007 and more than half had ending balances equaling at least 10 percent of their general funds. Governors and legislatures were happily talking about property tax relief and expanding medical coverage to the uninsured.