Nothing New Under the Sun: The Sad History of the Tax Extenders.

Nice piece by Tax Notes reporter Lindsey McPherson describing the recent history of the tax extenders. Four take-aways:  There is always last-minute drama over bringing them back, most are repeatedly extended, they are almost never paid for, and they are frequently rolled into a bigger bill. In 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012 the subsidies […]


Six Takeaways from CBO’s New Long-Term Budget Outlook

The newest Congressional Budget Office long-term budget outlook, released today, is more evidence that the long-term federal budget problem may be forgotten, but it is not gone. Here are six takeaways. 1. The size of the budget deficit today isn’t a problem, and it’s not much of a problem for the next few years either. […]


Field of Tax Dreams: Budgets, Taxes, and Takeovers

If you cut it, will it do more? The IRS budget has been cut by $1 billion over the past four years, with a subsequent loss of 10,000 IRS jobs. Late Monday night, the House GOP by voice vote voted to cut $1.14 billion for the next fiscal year, or 13 percent below last year’s budget. […]


What’s The Matter With Kansas And Its Tax Cuts? It Can’t Do Math

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and his state legislature have embarked on a wonderful natural experiment. Once again we are testing the question: Can tax cuts pay for themselves? The answer– yet again– is a resounding no. We’ve tried this experiment time and again. And tax cut proponents such as economist Art Laffer continue to insist they […]


Permanent Breaks, Pharma Moves, Credits and Grace

Expect the House to approve some permanent changes in the charitable deduction this week. They include contributions of food inventory, real property for conservation purposes, and  IRA distributions for charitable purposes. The measure would also allow individuals’ charitable contributions made between the end of the tax year and April 15 to count as tax-year contributions. […]


Compromises, Delays, Derivatives and Daze

A highway bill could soon head down Pennsylvania Avenue. The House Rules Committee  plans to send to the floor the Ways & Means panel’s short-term highway funding bill today. After a floor vote sometime this week, it’s seen as the likely version to land on the President’s desk. In the Senate, the Finance Committee and […]


Games, Spins, Ignorance and Patience

Congress keeps playing with the Highway Trust Fund—but why? The House Ways & Means Committee approved its effort to fund the Highway Trust Fund through May, 2015. To reach a bipartisan deal, the Senate Finance Committee ultimately took a slightly different approach in a $10.8 billion proposal to finance roads and transit. Both convoluted short-term patches […]


Is It Time To End The Highway Trust Fund Fiction?

Congress is in the midst of another Perils of Pauline political showdown: This time the drama is over how to finance the highway trust fund, which will be unable to pay its bills in a couple of weeks. House Republicans have cooked up one set of gimmicks to keep the money flowing for a few […]


Pensions and Tax Bases: Realities and Hopes

The thing about pension smoothing: The bumps always come back. Neither the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget nor TPC’s Len Burman will suspend disbelief when it comes to the latest gimmick to patch the Highway Trust Fund. Maybe “stupid tax tricks” work politically but “pretending to raise revenue, while adding to our long-run fiscal […]


“Pension Smoothing” is a Sham

Pity House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp. He wants to rewrite the tax code in a serious way, but instead he’s spending his days trying to come up with imaginary revenue sources to pay for important spending priorities like rebuilding our crumbling highways. Tomorrow, his committee will consider a proposal to partially pay […]