May 27, 2008
Howard Gleckman continues to think that temporary tax cuts are no better than permanent ones from the standpoint of enhancing political accountability and fiscal restraint (“Tax Extenders and Fiscal Restraint,” May 22, 2008). So here’s some data.
May 23, 2008
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that states may offer special tax breaks to residents for investing in municipal bonds issued by them and local governments within the state. The 7-2 decision, in Kentucky Department of Revenue v. Davis was widely expected. But even if the Court wanted to bar states from preferring their own bonds over those from other jurisdictions, the current troubles of the $2.6 trillion municipal bond market probably made that impossible.
May 22, 2008
It was good to hear from University of Virginia tax professor and former Joint Tax Committee boss George Yin. George argues that temporary tax cuts are a good idea because they force Congress to consider the costs and benefits of these measures before renewing them. This reckoning, he says, imposes more political accountability on the system, not less.
May 20, 2008
Howard Gleckman’s criticism of temporary legislation (“The Tax Extenders Ride Again,” May 20, 2008) overlooks the impact of Congressional budget rules. When such rules are considered, a change in law on a temporary (rather than permanent) basis increases political accountability and arguably enhances fiscal restraint.
May 20, 2008
The other day, the House Ways & Means Committee routinely approved dozens and dozens of tax breaks. Hardly anyone even noticed.
May 15, 2008
Like it or not, health care and taxes are inextricably linked in the U.S. The employer-sponsored health system that covers most of the non-elderly is largely built on nearly $200 billion in income tax breaks. The biggest: employer-sponsored insurance which is tax-free to workers. Perversely, this structure provides the biggest tax breaks to the highest income workers who get the most expensive plans.
May 13, 2008
Yesterday, John McCain disclosed details of his plan to cut the use of fossil fuels—and thus greenhouse gases--through a cap and trade system of mandatory emissions reductions. As we have written, cap’n trade is not the name of a cheesy seafood restaurant. It is Washington-speak for a huge new tax on oil, gas, and coal. This is a good thing, but we ought to talk about it honestly.
May 8, 2008
$451 million in tax breaks for timber companies. Ka-ching. $500 million for biodiesel. Ka-ching. $126 million for racehorse breeders. Ka-ching. $20 million for Aggie bonds. Ka-ching.
May 6, 2008
Before you get the idea that a big increase in energy taxes is just the latest raving of an elitist, inside-the-Beltway policy wonk, you might want to know that I’m not the only one who likes this idea. So do John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.
May 5, 2008
Senator Clinton has taken economists to task for our universal opposition to a gas tax holiday. Both theory and evidence tell us that suspending the tax temporarily would provide little relief to consumers while further enriching big oil.