The President’s first fiscal plan is a lean but incomplete spending machine. His “skinny budget” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and make up the money by making deep cuts in many domestic programs. It would eliminate 19 small federal offices and agencies, and slash spending by double-digits at many departments. However, the fiscal document says nothing about the biggest federal programs—Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid—and is silent on revenues. So is it a budget at all? Senator John McCain predicted that the plan—which would go into effect October 1—cannot pass the Senate.
Trump’s spending blueprint would cut the IRS by another $239 million. That’s on top of many years of cuts that have slashed the agency budget by one-fifth since 2010. At his confirmation hearing, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called for more IRS staff and upgraded technology. TPC’s Howard Gleckman notes that it could have been worse, but wonders how much longer the IRS can manage to do more with less.
The House Budget Committee advances the American Health Care Act. The bill narrowly passed in spite of three no votes from House Freedom Caucus members Dave Brat of Virginia, Gary Palmer of Alabama, and Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Speaker Ryan has acknowledged that the bill will have to be amended to pass the House. Will he and President Trump solidify support from the right by accelerating Medicaid cuts, or will they find ways to win backing from moderate Republicans who find this version’s tax credits too meager for seniors and lower-income consumers?
Expecting a tax refund? The IRS helps you check. The agency says that while more than 90 percent of federal tax refunds are issued in 21 days or less, some may take longer. The best way to check the status of your refund is by going online through the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at IRS.gov or via the IRS2Go mobile app.
Why are Americans proud to pay taxes? To answer the question, Brookings Institution’s Vanessa Williamson relies on national survey data and in-depth interviews. In her new book Read My Lips, she demonstrates that Americans see taxpaying as their civic responsibility and a moral obligation. But the experience of taxpaying misleads Americans about who pays taxes and how much. Would a better experience make Americans not only proud, but more confident in the fairness of the tax system—and more able to hold their elected officials accountable in attempts to reform it?
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- © Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and individual authors, 2016.