Another step on the road to highway funding. The House easily approved the highway bill by a vote of 359 to 65, and the Senate will soon follow suit. But TPC’s Howard Gleckman notes that at least a third of the bill is funded with gimmicks and new borrowing. Nonetheless, President Obama says he’ll sign it.
There are winners, winners, and some more winners in the still-in-flux “tax extenders” deal. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget breaks down the latest version. Three-fifths of about $700 billion in tax breaks go to business. Over one-third goes to increased spending. As for losers: After interest, the deal could cost $840 billion over ten years.
Speaker Ryan has big plans for 2016. In his first major address since becoming Speaker, Ryan promised to offer a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. He didn’t offer details, but said the plan could include tax credits to help people afford insurance and repeal the ACA’s individual and employer mandates. He called (again) for an overhaul of the US tax code by closing loopholes and reducing the number of tax brackets.
About Mark Zuckerberg’s big plans… The New York Times explains the Facebook CEO’s share-donation strategy in its interview with law professor Victor Fleischer. Zuckerberg plans to donate most of his Facebook stake—currently valued at $45 billion—during his lifetime. He will use a limited liability corporation, which can invest in for-profit companies, make political donations, and lobby for changes in law. Fletcher suspects that the LLC will donate appreciated Facebook shares to charity. “What this means is that he amassed one of the greatest fortunes in the world — and is likely never to pay any taxes on it.”
Speaking of billionaires… Tesla founder Elon Musk has some thoughts about the carbon tax. Innovation, conservation, or renewable energy are great, but he says that such a tax is the only way to accelerate the transition from carbon-producing fossil fuels to sustainable energy. In an address to students at the Sorbonne in Paris, he said: “The fundamental problem is the rules today incent people to create carbon; this is madness.”
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