Posts tagged ‘Taxes’

September 2, 2011

Tax Cuts as a Form of a Spending Program

by Vince




The Republicans who loathe spending programs as a form of anti-Christian reliance in fact worship a program known as tax cuts, ironically a government program in itself:

The other way to look at these credits and deductions is that they’re essentially government spending programs in disguise. After all, if these deductions didn’t exist, then either the deficit would be smaller or everyone else could pay fewer taxes. A tax credit that subsidizes the construction of affordable housing is no different than an explicit grant to do the same thing.

In Washington, however, tax expenditures generally aren’t considered spending programs. They’re considered tax breaks. And, as a new NBER paper by Len Burman and Marvin Phaup details, this view has had enormously perverse consequences over the years. Politicians always prefer tax breaks to new spending programs. So Congress ends up enacting a disproportionate amount of social policy through tax credits and deductions, the paper said, and that, in the end, can actually lead to higher taxes and bigger government than would otherwise be the case.

Burman and Phaup found that total U.S. tax expenditures will amount to $1.2 trillion in fiscal year 2011. That’s much, much larger than non-defense ($671 billion) or defense ($744 billion) discretionary spending. In other words, there’s a huge pool of federal spending that Congress doesn’t even consider to be spending. As the authors noted, “excluding income tax expenditures causes spending to be understated by about one-third.”

(Pictured: the 10 biggest tax expenditure programs for fiscal year 2011)

September 2, 2011

Paying CEO’s and Not Paying Taxes

by Vince

Among other things:


From the perspective of the board room, the fact that 25 corporations last year paid more money to their CEOs than they did in income taxes to the U.S. government is an achievement deserving applause.
But few people outside Wall Street are clapping at this news, which was published by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in its 18th annual Executive Excess report.
Among the 25 companies that rewarded their leadership while dodging the U.S. Treasury were Boeing, Coca Cola, Dow Chemical, eBay, Ford, General Electric, Honeywell, Motorola, Stanley Black & Decker and Verizon. Eighteen of the 25 firms operated subsidiaries in offshore tax haven jurisdictions.
The average paid to the 25 leaders was $16.7 million. John Lundgren, the CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, took home $32.6 million while his company claimed a net loss and did not pay corporate income taxes.
The IPS report noted that executive compensation has continued to soar. In 2009, the ratio between worker salaries and CEOs was 263-to-1. By last year it was 325-to-1.
Of the 25 companies that paid their CEO more than they paid to the government, 20 also spent more on lobbying lawmakers than they paid in corporate taxes. Eighteen gave more to the political campaigns of their favorite candidates than they paid to the IRS in taxes.
The divide between worker and CEO pay as well as CEO pay and tax payments (if any) is mind boggling, isn’t it?
July 30, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince

“For those who insist that the center is always the place to be, I have an important piece of information: We already have a centrist president. Indeed, Bruce Bartlett, who served as a policy analyst in the Reagan administration, argues that Mr. Obama is in practice a moderate conservative. Mr. Bartlett has a point.

The president, as we’ve seen, was willing, even eager, to strike a budget deal that strongly favored conservative priorities. His health reform was very similar to the reform Mitt Romney installed in Massachusetts. Romneycare, in turn, closely followed the outlines of a plan originally proposed by the right-wing Heritage Foundation. And returning tax rates on high-income Americans to their level during the Roaring Nineties is hardly a socialist proposal.

True, Republicans insist that Mr. Obama is a leftist seeking a government takeover of the economy, but they would, wouldn’t they? The facts, should anyone choose to report them, say otherwise.” –Paul Krugman

July 2, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince

“There is a revenue stream called tax cuts,” – Rush Limbaugh.

June 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

by Vince

“Tax hikes are off the table,” he said. “First of all, raising taxes is going to destroy jobs….second, a tax hike cannot pass the US House of Representatives — it’s not just a bad idea, it doesn’t have the votes and it can’t happen. And third, the American people don’t want us to raise taxes. They know we have a spending problem. –Speaker of the House John Boehner.

June 6, 2011

Legislating Morality in Chambersburg

by Vince

Public Opinion columnist Matthew Major writes as if a moral and societal emergency is about to be upon Chambersburg residents. What is he writing about? Out of control yardsales. In his eyes, its worth raising taxes to enforce borough laws about yardsales.

Borough council will consider an ordinance June 13 that would limit residents to one yard sale per month, with a maximum of four per year. Each sale would be limited to three days’ duration, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. It would require “all evidence of yard sale activity” to be stored out of sight outside of permitted hours.

It strikes us as an aggressive, but necessary, crackdown on people who effectively run underground commercial operations out of their yards every day of the week. Greencastle, Mont Alto and Washington Township have also had to rein in yard sales with similar restrictions.

Underground commercial operations. Striking use of terms there. Now some more strikingly logical and deep reasoning behind the need to enforce yardsales:

People have always needed to get rid of unwanted stuff that somehow piles up in their homes. But cultural and economic trends have conspired to emphasize the deals over the house-clearing. For example, we now have numerous TV shows glorifying the nation’s pawn shops and junk circuits.

Major finishes with some final words:

And so with the inevitable overreach on the part of yard retailers comes the correction from the authorities. If people cannot conduct yard sales without becoming a nuisance to their neighbors, someone will have to do it for them.

It’s a shame to have to legislate proper behavior and consideration for others, but Chambersburg’s proposed yard sale restrictions should become law as soon as possible.

Is this more important than dealing with local poverty, local runaway educational costs, or local unemployment (which on a Pennsylvania county level, Franklin County is dead last)? Then again, these regulations would employ a few individuals (at the cost of higher taxes, mind you).

May 31, 2011

Taxes and Entitlements Talk

by Vince

Some interesting thoughts:

May 26, 2011

Tax Paying Paradox of the Day

by Vince

Or even for the year / decade:

GE earned $5.1 billion in profits in America in 2010, in addition to another $9.1 billion it made overseas. But it paid nothing to the IRS. Instead, it enjoyed tax breaks totaling $3.2 billion.

Meanwhile, the scapegoat “illegal immigrants” paid more than GE:

The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy has concluded that unauthorized immigrants paid $11.2 billion in taxes last year. This total included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.
States that gained the most revenue from illegal immigrants paying taxes were California ($2.7 billion), Texas ($1.6 billion), Florida ($807 million), New York ($662 million), and Illinois ($499 million). They were followed by Georgia ($456 million), New Jersey ($446 million) and Arizona ($433 million).
May 25, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

Some other commandments you could add:

  1. Tho shalt increase the military budget.
  2. Tho shalt protect the fetus but refuse to provide a safety net during the rest of it’s life.
May 14, 2011

Loathing Taxes

by Vince

The GOP way:

 The GOP doesn’t just hate taxes. They hate taxes so much that theirstated position is they’d prefer no deficit reduction, and even a default on the debt ceiling, to even a dollar in new taxes. They hate taxes, in other words, more than they like balanced budgets, or fear a federal default. Hating taxes is the absolute, number-one core belief of the modern GOP.

A recent history lesson is helpful:

 “In the 1990s, we raised taxes, particularly on the rich. And a lot of these people were saying our tax increases were going to kill the economy. But remember what actually happened? We got rid of our deficits and the economy grew really robustly for 10 years. And what if it happened again? We might get rid of our deficits and the economy would grow really robustly for another 10 years. Maybe it’s good for the economy to actually get the deficit under control.”

May 12, 2011

Taxing the Upper-Middle Class

by Vince

Considering the taxes levied for this bracket – those making $100k-$250k – may be worth our time.

March 18, 2011

A Century of “Tax Burdens” in one graph

by Vince

The creator of the graph, Stephen von Worley, explains:

That’s a line for every year from 1913 onward, sized and colored by the tax burden: the amount of tax due relative to the long-term average at each income level. Above-average burdens appear thick and red and below-average thin and blue. We adjusted everything for inflation to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison, with the caveat that the effects of Social Security, Medicare, and other taxes are not included. The underlying data comes from The Tax Foundation, IRS, and Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is the same information we used in last year’s bracket graph, updated for 2011.

Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan

December 10, 2010

The Obama Tax Deal in One Graph

by Vince

H/T: Ezra Klein

August 13, 2010

Chart of the Day

by Vince

Ezra Klein and Andrew Sullivan provide this from a study:

New data from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation show that households earning more than $1 million a year would reap nearly $31 billion in tax breaks under the GOP plan in 2011, for an average tax cut per household of about $100,000.

You can see how this is going back and forth: The Dems are accused of proposing the highest tax hike ever and the Repubs are accused of giving $31 billion in tax breaks to those making more than $1 million a year.

In the end, both sides are accused of not being able to bend the deficit.

President Obama and congressional Democrats have vowed to extend the cuts only for families making less than $250,000 a year and individuals making less than $200,000 — 98 percent of American taxpayers — in a plan that would add about $202 billion to next year’s deficit.

Given the soaring national debt, many economists deem both proposals unaffordable. Even some Republicans, including Reagan administration budget chief David Stockman and former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, have urged lawmakers to let them expire and allow income tax rates to pop back up to their levels during the Clinton administration.

I appreciated this article finally putting a number to the amount of millionaires in the USA: 315,000. Either plan by the Dems or Repubs would not sway their tax rate that much for millionaires: 29.9% with the Dems and 24.6% by the Repubs. I wonder how many millionaires read my blog?

In the end, this is a tough discussion. Many who are part of the “richer” end of society contribute via small businesses but I am not into widening the gap between poor, middle class, and filthy stinking rich.

July 27, 2010

Fact Check: Toomey and Sestak

by Vince

Gus Cileon writes in to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey has been inundating the media with ads condemning Democrat Joe Sestak for voting for the “death tax.” The ads state that the government will take up to half of your assets when you die. Inaccurate and partial information is the same as not telling the truth.This tax is really an inheritance tax, which applies only to estates of more than $1 million, and there are further exclusions that can be used to reduce this tax. To act as if all Americans are subject to this tax is just a cheap scare tactic. Why should we vote for someone who so blatantly misleads?

July 14, 2010

Limbaugh’s Pad for Sale

by Vince

The WSJ has an article on Rush Limbaugh’s $12.25 million condo for sale in NYC. This is due to his anger over a raise in income taxes:

One broker familiar with the transaction said the final price was about $11.5 million. Mr. Limbaugh paid just under $5 million for the apartment as well as a maid’s room and a storage locker, in 1994.

Last year when New York state adopted a temporary income-tax surcharge to raise more than $3 billion a year, Mr. Limbaugh said on his radio show that he was going to “get out of New York totally” and sell his Manhattan apartment. A Web transcript of the show is titled “El Rushbo to New York: Drop Dead.”

But property records show that Mr. Limbaugh has been a beneficiary of rising property values in the city since 1994.

July 2, 2010

On Record about Reagan and Taxes

by Vince

Former Republican Senator from Wyoming Alan Simpson is direct in his address: