Author Archive

CBO’s Spending Projections Map the Coming Fiscal Battle

Without changes in the law, health care, Social Security, and interest on the debt will eat up 85 percent of all new federal government spending over the next 10 years, according to the latest estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. By contrast, CBO expects most of the rest of government, including income security for low-income […]

Could The U.S. Fix Taxation of Multinational Corporations With A Sales-Based Formula?

Corporate inversions have been the topic of the summer for tax wonks (beats jellyfish and beach traffic, I suppose), but the issue is a classic bit of Washington misdirection. Instead of focusing on the real disease—an increasingly dysfunctional corporate income tax—we are obsessing over a symptom—firms such as Burger King engaging in self-help reform by […]

How Much Would An Individual Tax Rate Cut Add to the Deficit, and Who Would Benefit?

Reducing tax rates is a guiding principal of most tax reform plans. Even Democrats who see reform partly as a tool to boost revenues agree that some money generated by eliminating tax preferences ought to go to rate reduction. But how much does Treasury lose when Congress reduces individual tax rates, and which taxpayers benefit the […]

Is Treasury About to Curb Tax Inversions on Its Own?

The Treasury Department put out the word that Secretary Jack Lew is considering regulatory curbs on corporate tax inversions, a step that may be intended to increase pressure on Congress to act once it returns from its summer recess in September. The matter of how much authority Treasury has to limit inversions has generated its […]

Does Congress Really Care About the Deficit? Not When It Comes to Vets and Highways.

Next time a lawmaker starts to pontificate about the desperate need to reduce the budget deficit, remind him (or her) about what Congress did just before it left town last week. It passed two bills that are extremely important, but didn’t pay for either of them. And they are likely to add tens of billions […]

A New Way to Invest for Old Age, But How Many Will Buy?

A few weeks ago, with absolutely no fanfare, the Treasury Department announced what could be a major change in the way we save for retirement. It will now permit people to shift a portion of their 401(k)s or IRAs into a deferred annuity that provides a guaranteed stream of income once you reach old age. […]

How REIT Spinoffs Will Further Erode the Corporate Tax Base

While Congress has been obsessing about tax inversions, it turns out another—potentially more important–tax avoidance technique is getting increased attention from the business community: Spinning off tangible assets into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). If these deals become widespread, they’d be another nail in the coffin of the corporate income tax. Multinational firms already slash […]

Are Tax Inversions Really Unpatriotic?

President Obama and many congressional Democrats argue that U.S.-based multinational firms are being unpatriotic by moving their corporate addresses overseas in order to reduce their taxes. Obama even implied they are “corporate deserters.” These are powerful, emotionally-charged allegations. But are they fair? Is it unpatriotic to maximize tax savings? After all, companies and individuals do […]

The Bring Jobs Home Act Won’t

The Bring Jobs Home Act is a classic message bill. Its Democratic sponsors have no interest in making it law, they merely see it as a way to boost the party’s Senate candidates in part by forcing Republicans to vote against something that sounds like a good idea. After all, who could be against bringing […]

Have We Created a Two-Tiered Tax System—One for the Powerful and One for the Rest of Us?

Unlike the rest of us, many high-income, influential people and organizations have close to a free hand when it comes to their taxes. Already underfunded and understaffed, the IRS seems incapable of stopping many aggressive or even abusive interpretations of the tax laws, often by hedge funds or politically-motivated tax-exempt organizations. Over the past few […]