Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

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 […]

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? […]

The Day After the 2014 Election: Six Things To Watch In the New GOP Congress

Republicans had a very good day yesterday. But can they translate their ballot-box success into a positive legislative agenda? It won’t be easy but here are six clues: Mitch McConnell: He is a brilliant legislative tactician. We know he’ll use those skills to try to outmaneuver Democratic Leader Harry Reid but will he also use […]

Is There Any Chance Congress Will Pass Business Tax Reform Next Year?

In the run-up to next week’s congressional elections, Republicans are saying that if they win control of the Senate, they will try to pass business tax reform as part of an ambitious “we can get things done” agenda. Is there any possibility that a GOP-controlled Congress could rewrite the business provisions of the tax code? The chances […]

Why Tax Lawyers and Tax Economists Can’t Communicate

Any close observer of the making of tax policy can see it: Lawyers and economists looking at the same issue through entirely different prisms. I’ve been fascinated by how their respective brains work, and why they have so much trouble communicating with one another. It turns out I am not alone. In a newly published […]