Author Archive

Clip ‘N Save: Orrin Hatch’s Tax Reform Principles

In a few weeks, veteran Utah Republican Orrin Hatch will become chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Soon after, the panel may begin tackling tax reform. While there is good reason to be skeptical about how far a tax code rewrite will get in the next Congress, it is worth keeping track of Hatch’s views on […]

The War on the IRS

The massive 2015 spending bill that President Obama is likely to sign this week continues an ongoing effort to trash the Internal Revenue Service.  It is a cynical recipe for a self-fulfilling disaster: Give the agency more and more work. Cut its budget. Blame it for failing to do its job. Repeat. House GOP Appropriators […]

Kudos to Sandy Levin For Speaking Out For Fiscal Responsibility

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), the senior Democrat  on the House Ways & Means Committee, stood up on the House floor yesterday and urged Congress to refuse to make permanent three special tax breaks for charitable giving unless their $11 billion cost was paid for. Why were his remarks notable? Because Levin was the prime sponsor […]

Why Does Congress Pay For Some Tax Cuts and Not Others?

Can somebody explain to me why the House agreed last week to restore 50+ tax subsidies without paying for them (and thus adding $42 billion to the deficit) and 10 minutes later approved a new tax subsidy that it insisted on paying for? It can’t be the merits of the recipients. By now, TaxVox readers […]

Are Tax-Free ABLE Accounts The Right Financial Solution For People With Disabilities?

For the first time since 2010, Congress may be about to acknowledge that people with disabilities cannot have a decent quality of life with limited financial resources and modest government support. It is on the verge of approving the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which would create tax-free savings accounts to assist some people […]

How To End the Tax Extender Drama: Stop Calling Them Extenders—And Make Congress Pay For Them

There are two simple ways to end the tiresome seasonal drama over faux-temporary tax cuts known (with a stunning lack of accuracy) as the extenders. First, call them what they are: Expired tax breaks that have been off the books for nearly a year. Second, make Congress pay for any of the special interest subsidies […]

Who Won the Election Again?

Pardon me for being confused. Two weeks ago, voters turned the Senate and several state houses over to Republicans and increased the GOP majority in the House. Now, in a new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, (firewall) Americans have firmly embraced—a Democratic agenda. They want more government spending on roads and Ebola, They want to […]

Jim Poterba Wins Holland Award

The National Tax Association gave this year’s Dan Holland Medal for outstanding contributions to the study and practice of public finance to MIT professor Jim Poterba. Jim, who is also president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, is a terrific economist and one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. To learn more about […]

Will Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Kill Tax Reform? Hint: You Can’t Kill Something That’s Already Dead

The latest narrative making the rounds in Washington is that President Obama will kill prospects for tax reform in 2015 if he grants legal status to undocumented immigrants though an executive order. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and others claim that this step will so poison the well of trust between Democrats and Republicans that […]

How Did Medical Device Makers Become Poster Children for Obamacare Critics

The push to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s tax on medical devices has somehow become a touchstone for GOP efforts to chip away at President Obama’s health care law. But why?  To paraphrase Bogart’s  classic line from Casablanca:  Of all the taxes in all laws in all the world, why did they pick this one? […]