Cheap Talk, Scoring, and Promises

Congress is in recess through the mid-term elections. The Daily Deduction will post each Monday until then.  Counting devices before they hatch? Should the GOP take the Senate in November, medical device makers may see a renewed push to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on their products. The tax is an important financing component […]


Ryan and Lew Both Object to JCT Scoring of Future Tax Reform

Like a couple of baseball managers working the umpires before a big World Series game, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), who wants to be the next chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, are looking to change the way Congress scores tax reform even before Congress begins a rewrite. Ryan […]


How Asset Building Tax Subsidies Miss Their Targets

Nearly one-third of all federal tax expenditures–$384 billion in 2013 alone– is aimed at various forms of asset building, such as retirement savings, higher education, and home ownership. Yet, according to research by several of my Tax Policy Center and Urban Institute colleagues, these tax breaks do little to help low- and middle-income households build […]


It’s Not Easy to Escape the Local Pension Vise

Last week’s federal court ruling in the municipal bankruptcy case of Stockton, CA highlighted the enormous challenge faced by local governments with underfunded public pensions. There are ways out of this vise, but none are easy, and all are fraught with risks. State governments face at least a $1 trillion gap between pensions promised to […]


“Communication” Defined, Cash Borrowed, Reform Still Needed

Congress is in recess through the mid-term elections. The Daily Deduction will post each Monday until then.  In Oregon, Comcast’s cable service is ruled a “communication” service, and its tax bill could be huge. So said the Oregon Supreme Court late last week: Property that Comcast uses to provide cable services, in addition to property […]


Pass-Through Firms Report $800 Billion in Net Income, Can’t Be Ignored in Business Tax Reform

Washington is going through another one of its periodic calls for business tax reform. But new research by my Tax Policy Center colleague Joe Rosenberg shows just how hard it is to separate business taxation from the individual tax code. And it should serve as a warning to those who think Congress can enact corporate tax […]


The Public Wants Clear Rules About Campaign Giving Through Tax-Exempts. Is It Possible?

A poll released today by the conservative Hudson Institute and the liberal group Public Citizen finds that nearly 9 in 10 voters surveyed favor clear rules that define political activities by non-profit tax-exempt organizations. The public’s desire for clarity is not surprising, given the amount of undisclosed campaign money that is flooding through tax-exempt 501(c)(4) […]


The $300 billion question: How should we budget for federal lending?

Lending programs create special challenges for federal budgeting. So special, in fact, that the Congressional Budget Office estimates their budget effects two different ways. According to official budget rules, taxpayers will earn more than $200 billion over the next decade from new student loans, mortgage guarantees, and the Export-Import Bank. According to an alternative that CBO […]


Pressure, Power, and a New View on Cuts

Congress is in recess through the mid-term elections. Read the Daily Deduction each Monday until then.  Apple’s new products might not bend, but its tax deals are under some pressure. Later today, the European Union’s European Commission is expected to release its opening decision on Apple’s 1991 and 2007 deals with the Irish government: They […]


Treasury’s New Rules May Slow, But Won’t Stop Corporate Tax Inversions

Will Treasury’s new rules stop the wave of corporate tax inversions? No they won’t. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew acknowledged as much when the agency proposed the curbs yesterday. Will they slow the practice? Perhaps, but even that is not certain. In a perverse way, Treasury’s most effective weapon may have been ambiguity. Once the Administration announced […]