Tag Archives: taxes

The Real Spending Problem – NYTimes.com

19 Mar

Tax breaks favor the rich, and are functionally the equivalent of spending.

Each year, the government doles out tax breaks worth $1.1 trillion. That is more than the cost of Medicare and Medicaid combined. It is more than Social Security. It tops the defense budget, and it tops the budget for nondefense discretionary programs, which include most everything else.Tax breaks work like spending. Giving a deduction for certain activities, like homeownership or retirement savings, is the same as writing a government check to subsidize those activities. Functionally, they mimic entitlements. Like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, they are available, year in and year out, in full, to all who qualify. Yet in budget talks, Republicans ignore tax entitlements, which flow mostly to high-income taxpayers, while pushing to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

via The Real Spending Problem – NYTimes.com.

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CBO: U.S. Is on Track for a Terrible 2013 Recession (Unless Congress Acts) – Derek Thompson – The Atlantic

23 Aug

On January 1, 2013, America’s tax and spending picture changes suddenly and dramatically. Taxes go up by about $400 billion. (The Bush/Obama tax cuts expire, the stimulus tax cuts expire, the payroll tax cuts expire, the business investment tax cuts expire, *and* the health care reform tax increases begin.) Spending goes down by about $100 billion. (The Budget Control Act, which cuts into discretionary spending, coincides with reduced unemployment insurance payments and a sharp drop in Medicare payment rates for physicians.) That’s a painful bite for an economy clinging to growth and 8% unemployment.

We’d lose our grip on both things — growth and 8% unemployment — without further action. Unemployment would go back to 9%. Real GDP would fall by about 3% in the first half of 2013. The double-dip would be very real.

via CBO: U.S. Is on Track for a Terrible 2013 Recession (Unless Congress Acts) – Derek Thompson – The Atlantic.

Don’t trust corporate charity – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com

13 Apr

On the surface the increased attention big business seems to be paying to general social welfare would appear to be a positive development. Major corporations go out of the way to ease the burdens of normal citizens, in the process dulling some of the harsher aspects of modern capitalism and earning for themselves PR boost. However it bears asking the question, as many good and well intentioned individuals there are sitting in the C-Suites of major companies, what would cause them to expend huge amounts of resources on pursuits which seem to have nothing to do with what their organizations are legally created to do? …

The answer lies in the reality that whatever these organizations put back into the communities in which they operate, communities which are often struggling under the weight of collapsing infrastructure, they expend far greater effort to ensure that they avoid paying their share of tax into public coffers. By avoiding taxes these companies ultimately help eliminate social services, a simulacrum of which they then provide in the form of charitable donations and other public outreach. The company keeps the funds it would’ve otherwise lost to tax and earns PR credibility for its supposed altruism, while the public loses out on the tax revenue which rightfully belongs to it

via Don’t trust corporate charity – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com.

Robert Frank responds on Black Friday — Marginal Revolution

27 Nov

In my recent book, The Darwin Economy, I defend the claim that taxes on activities that cause undue harm to others could generate more than enough revenue to balance the federal budget and restore our crumbling infrastructure. We should tax congestion, noise, and pollution. We should tax passenger vehicles by weight. We should replace the income tax with a more steeply progressive tax on consumption. But until we’ve done all that, no champion of liberty has any cogent reason to oppose replacing taxes on useful activities with taxes on harmful ones.

via Robert Frank responds on Black Friday — Marginal Revolution.

America’s corporate tax obscenity – Taxes – Salon.com

3 Nov

The authors discovered that the average effective tax rate — what the companies really paid after government subsidies, tax breaks and various tax dodges were taken into account — was only 18.5 percent, less than half the statutory rate. Fully a quarter of the 280 companies paid under 10 percent.

Remember that fact, the next time someone tries to tell you that American corporations pay the highest income taxes in the free world. The only number that counts is the “effective tax rate.” One of the interesting tidbits provided by the authors is that in many cases, the tax rate on foreign income for many of these companies is actually higher than the effective U.S. rate.

via America’s corporate tax obscenity – Taxes – Salon.com.

MARK CUBAN: ‘Tax The Hell Out Of Wall Street And Give It To Main Street’

18 Oct

n a world of High Frequency Trading and black box trading that does nothing but create a platform for “financial hackers” to turn the market into their own proprietary financial playground, we need to figure out a way to revert the Stock and Bond Markets, and the derivative instruments created from these equities, back to their original purpose, a place to raise capital for growing business. Instead, today its a platform for financial engineers and hackers looking to exploit every and any opportunity. When 60pct or more of trades are from High Frequency/Algorithmic traders and the correlation for every market index rushes past .7, the market is no longer a market, its a platform.

The simplest way to change this is to place a very simple per share tax on every transaction. 10 cents a trade. Every share. Every option. Every Bond. Every currency transaction. Every trade.

The obvious response is that trading volume will plummet. So what? Let it. The next response is that traders will merely move their trades to foreign exchanges. Yes they will. Will transaction costs go up? Duh.. that is the point. The market thrived when spreads and transaction costs were much higher just a few short years ago. It will survive now.

via MARK CUBAN: ‘Tax The Hell Out Of Wall Street And Give It To Main Street’.

The Great 8: Billionaires who will pay more – Patriotic Billionaire Challenge – Salon.com

10 Oct

Aka Cheapskates Rise to the Top

Salon queried the Forbes 400 richest on whether they’d be willing to pay more taxes. The vast majority ducked the question. I’m betting that most of them think they deserve what they earn. After all, did they not work hard? Yes, they did. But . . . well, more on that later.

Of 400 billionaires, only eight (including Buffet) say they are willing to pay more. Three others indicated opposition; one said maybe.

But most declined to comment at all. Oprah Winfrey, who endorsed Obama in 2008, did not respond. Nor did liberal media mogul Ted Turner. Prominent Democratic Party donors from Hollywood such as Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Barry Diller did not express a view. Philanthropists Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg — whom we queried repeatedly — refused to comment on Buffett’s argument, even as it became a central part of Washington’s political conversation.

On Sept. 19, President Obama rolled out his jobs plan, calling for individuals making more than $250,000 to pay higher taxes for the sake of paying pay down the deficit and funding the president’s jobs plan.

via The Great 8: Billionaires who will pay more – Patriotic Billionaire Challenge – Salon.com.

Flouting the Law, Pastors Will Take On Politics – NYTimes.com

1 Oct

Hmmmm. . . .

The alliance and many other advocates regard a 1954 law prohibiting churches and their leaders from engaging in political campaigning as a violation of the First Amendment and wish to see the issue played out in court. The organization points to the rich tradition of political activism by churches in some of the nation’s most controversial battles, including the pre-Revolutionary war opposition to taxation by the British, slavery and child labor.

The legislation, sponsored by Lyndon Baines Johnson, then a senator, muzzled all charities in regards to partisan politics, and its impact on churches may have been an unintended consequence. At the time, he was locked in a battle with two nonprofit groups that were loudly calling him a closet communist.

Thirty years later, a group of senators led by Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, passed legislation to try to rein in the agency a bit in doing some audits. While audits of churches continued over the years, they appeared to have slowed down considerably after a judge rebuffed the agency’s actions in a case involving the Living Word Christian Center and a supposed endorsement of Ms. Bachmann in 2007. The I.R.S. had eliminated positions through a reorganization, and therefore, according to the judge, had not followed the law when determining who could authorize such audits.

via Flouting the Law, Pastors Will Take On Politics – NYTimes.com.

Leadership Crisis – NYTimes.com

18 Sep

A solid majority said creating jobs should be the highest priority for the government now and that payroll taxes should be cut to help with that. A whopping 8 in 10 think building bridges, roads and schools is important, which means — gasp — spending money.

Many Democrats are so gun shy that they don’t dare even to talk about raising taxes on the rich. But 71 percent of those polled said any plan to reduce the budget deficit should include both spending cuts and tax increases. And Americans understand that there are choices to be made; 56 percent said the wealthier should pay higher taxes to reduce the federal deficit.

via Leadership Crisis – NYTimes.com.

House GOP Rejects Tax Cuts For Middle Class | ThinkProgress

17 Sep

Meanwhile, a payroll tax holiday is one of the few types of tax cuts that do actually stimulate the economy, precisely because they mostly affect working- and middle-class people, who need the money more and thus spend it right away.

via House GOP Rejects Tax Cuts For Middle Class | ThinkProgress.