The Tax Policy Blog

November 20, 2014

After winning reelection this month, Maine’s Governor, Paul LePage, announced that he wants to completely eliminate the state’s individual income tax. He would replace the lost revenue by broadening the sales tax base.

This sort of swap is generally good tax policy. Individual income taxes have a few problems. One, they tend to create labor force disincentives and two, they are...

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November 20, 2014

In number of firms, pass-throughs are the dominant business type, with over 30 million tax returns in 2011. Pass-throughs are unique in that all pass-through business income is taxed at individual tax rates.

Over the last 30 years, the number of pass-throughs has increased substantially. Much of this growth comes from the doubling in number of sole...

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November 19, 2014

The Washington Examiner yesterday published an editorial that advanced a rather contrarian idea – that certain tax breaks should be made permanent so that they can be repealed.

If this logic sounds nonsensical to you, good! It is! But that is not because the staff of the Examiner are illogical people. It is because Washington is an illogical place, where nonsense arguments...

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November 19, 2014

The U.S. House of Representative’s leadership has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan to chair the House Ways and Means Committee. In the continuing debate over ways to fund the government and grow the economy, Ryan has remained a longstanding voice for reform.

The House Ways and Means Committee is the oldest committee in Congress,...

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November 19, 2014

Back in 2008, one of the Tax Foundation’s tasks was to fact-check the fiscal policy statements by the candidates. We documented a lot of the misleading rhetoric and advertisements that came from both sides. Personally, most of the work we did is forgotten, but one area of the 2008 campaign that is hard to forget is then-candidate Barack Obama's constant criticism of John McCain's health care plan. I was reminded of this again this week as the Jonathan Gruber story made headlines.

One...

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November 19, 2014

The financial crisis was most disastrous for housing, but it was terrible for all kinds of investment. After accounting for the wearing out of equipment and buildings, most sectors of the U.S. capital stock are barely being replenished fast enough to make up for depreciation. The U.S. is doing little to expand its capital stock and is instead mostly just holding on to what it has.

The chart below shows net investment, which is all investment in physical capital minus the lost value...

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November 19, 2014

This week, a new report from the Center for Effective Government claims that a number of corporations paid their CEOs more than they paid in federal income taxes. They claim that this reflects the fact that corporations are not paying their fair share and the corporate tax system is broken.

Leaving aside that their measure of corporate profits and taxes paid is flawed (see their FAQ #3 on page 18), the report...

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November 18, 2014

Today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a delay in the implementation of the second phase of his own tax hike plan, seeking a mandate for his decision by calling for snap elections in December.

Back in April, Japan’s VAT increased from 5 to 8 percent in the first of two planned sales tax hikes orchestrated by Prime Minister Abe as part of his three-pronged economic reform plan, widely termed “Abenomics.”...

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November 18, 2014

MIT Economist Jonathan Gruber, an architect of the Affordable Care Act, has been in the news lately for several comments on the design of the health care bill. One such story includes some remarks on the Cadillac Tax, a tax levied on employer-provided health plans. Gruber believes it was an important step towards...

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November 18, 2014

The top 20 percent of taxpayers pay a disproportionate share of federal income taxes and total federal taxes, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office on the distribution of household income and federal taxes. (For an overview, see here.)

The report finds that the top 20 percent of households earn 52 percent of income...

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November 18, 2014

Last week, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities released a report arguing that bonus depreciation should remain expired. They base this on three main claims:

  • Bonus depreciation was a temporary stimulus and should be allowed to expire
  • Allowing bonus depreciation to continue is an overly-generous subsidy for business investment
  • It does not align with the goals of tax reform

The CBPP’...

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November 18, 2014

Economic growth has hovered around 2 percent in recent years. One reason for the slow growth is that saving and investment have been declining in the U.S. for nearly a half century. Both are crucial to the economy.

Investment is important, because it provides American workers with the means to be more productive. Saving is important, because it provides the money needed for investment, which explains the...

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November 17, 2014

This week, the CBO released its estimate of the distribution of household income and federal taxes. This report measures both average household income and average federal tax burden by income quintile in 2011.

There are many important parts to this report, but the main feature of this report is its estimation of the distribution of household income and federal taxes....

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November 17, 2014

Household incomes have stagnated in recent years. From 1980 to 2000, when the economy was growing at a higher rate, real household income increased from $47,668 to $56,800, where it peaked. But since 2000, and after two recessions, median household income in the United States has declined. In 2013, median household income was $51,939, the lowest it has been since 1995.

...

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November 17, 2014

Milton Friedman once said that “nothing is more permanent than a temporary government program.” However, it turns out that nothing may be as permanent as a temporary tax increase, either. According to a new report from the Urban Institute, many of the temporary taxes created to fill state budget gaps...

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Subscribe to Tax Foundation - Tax Foundation's Tax Policy Blog The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.

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