Tag: taxes

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Today’s Sermon: Whose Compassion?


Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10Nor shall you glean your vineyard, Nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 23)

A story: “In the middle of the Great Depression, the mayor of New York City was the five foot tall son of Italian-Jewish immigrants, Fiorello H. LaGuardia. LaGuardia was a seriously energetic little guy. It was not unusual for him to ride with the firefighters, raid with the police, or take field trips with the kids from the city orphanage. On a bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself—-something a quirk in New York City law enabled him to do.

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I would never suggest eliminating this deduction because it deprives the government of $70 billion in tax receipts. That argument could be made for just about any part of current tax law. I could say, for example, that because the top bracket is capped at XX % and should be 5% higher, that low ceiling deprives the […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Yes, It’s Time to Reform the Mortgage Interest Deduction


Housing policy should be at the heart of America’s economic policy debates. Housing was a catalyst for the Financial Crisis. Housing costs constrain America’s most productive cities and regions. Housing tax breaks distort the economy and reduce government tax revenues by at least $70 billion annually. If you’re interested in the US economy growing faster in the next decade than it has in the past decade, then smart housing policy would be a key accelerant. Housing reform is a key structural reform to creating sustained fast growth in the decades to come.

Of course given that housing is central to people’s lives, big changes would inevitably mean big political controversy. So I totally get why Hugh Hewitt is concerned that the incoming Trump administration is considering capping the mortgage interest deduction. Hewitt makes a number of arguments in his Wall Street Journal op-ed from the other day: (a) the value of every US home would immediately fall by 10-15%; (b) it’s unfair to change the rules in the middle game; (c) it would be an unfair and shocking surprise since no politician ran on this issue; (d) the political fallout would consume the GOP – especially in high tax states – and destroy its chance to “realign politics” and get more important things done, such as filling judicial vacancies and rebuilding the military.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Time for Tax Cuts? “Trickle-down Economics” vs. “Spillover Effects”


My top public policy priority would not be big, fat tax cuts for the superrich. (At the same time, I don’t want to see marginal rates drift ever higher.)

Other sorts of pro-growth policy are more relevant right now, including regulation and education. But what would be the economic case for lower rates for the 0.1%?

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Most of you will remember New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ill-fated attempt to ban sugary drinks of a certain size in NYC restaurants. The ban was sold as a response to a public health crisis surrounding sugar consumption and obesity. It was eventually struck down by the NYC court of appeals on the grounds […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Donald Trump’s selection of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be secretary of energy. They wince as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell taps the brakes on the Trump tax plan and offers no ideas on how to reduce spending fight future deficits or replace Obamacare. And they discuss the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI disputing the CIA’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 campaign explicitly to help Trump win.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Is the American Dream in Trouble? And If So, Is the Answer Opportunity or Redistribution?


stallingIn 2014 researchers had some reassuring news about whether America was still the Land of Opportunity. As the New York Times characterized the findings, “The odds of moving up — or down — the income ladder in the United States have not changed appreciably in the last 20 years.” So a pleasant surprise — of course it could be better — on the issue of relative social mobility. Stable was the new up.

But what about absolute mobility? It’s a slightly different question. Do kids earn more than their parents? Here, according to new research from the same group, the findings are disheartening. From the Wall Street Journal:

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America correct the record on Tuesday’s faithless elector story and how the new information makes his actions far worse. In today’s martinis, they react to a Time magazine piece suggesting people stop paying taxes if a president is ever elected again without winning the popular vote. They also debunk the liberal fantasy that Democrats can somehow confirm Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court before the senators elected last month get sworn in on Jan. 3. And they slam Pres. Obama for his incredibly misleading statement about terrorism on U.S. soil during his administration.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Trump’s Econ Plan Offers Some Promise — with Plenty of Risk


Trump wavingThe incoming Trump administration doesn’t seem the sort much concerned about “consensus” economic opinion or what so-called experts think. For instance: One recent survey of top economists found 93% disagreed with the notion that Trump’s 100-day economic plan would help middle-class workers. (“Even if we no longer import from and offshore to China and Mexico, manufacturing jobs won’t come back. If they did, they would before robots,” opined one.)

But you take your friends where you can find them. Such as at the OECD, the rich economy think tank. In a new report, it had nice things to say about Trumponomics: “The new Administration will begin implementing its policy priorities next year and in this context the fiscal stance is projected to become more expansionary as public spending and investment rise, while taxes are cut. This will provide a boost to the economy, particularly in 2018.”

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Signed, Hopeless in California


images-4Dear Governor Brown;

You may not remember me, as you speak with thousands. After your first stint as Governor and then Presidential Candidate you were Mayor of Oakland. I happened upon you being interviewed by a local news station at a Jack London Square coffee bar near my hotel. As I sat on a barstool sipping my coffee you completed your interview and came up to order right next to me. I introduced myself, respectfully suggested that while we were on opposite sides of the political debate I wanted to thank you for your service and offered to buy your coffee. You were a gentleman and seemed genuine as you asked what issues I was concerned about. Never someone without an opinion, I shared my views. We talked about national security, the economy, education, etc. and while we nearly agreed on our desired outcomes, we disagreed with the policies that would achieve such ends. 45 minutes later we were surrounded by a crowd and the original camera crew listening and taping us argue points and counterpoints in good faith. 

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Trump Tax Records Mailed Anonymously to the New York Times

Erika Cross / Shutterstock.com

During the primaries, major media didn’t dig too deep into Donald Trump’s questionable business and financial practices because he brought the clicks and gave headaches to establishment GOP figures. But that all changed once he became the Republican standard bearer, and the hits keep getting worse. Late Saturday night, the New York Times published the details about Trump’s 1995 tax returns, information they were mysteriously sent by an anonymous party:

Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hey, What Happened to Hillary Clinton’s Middle-Class Tax Cut?

Hillary Bernie
Bernie Sanders listens as Hillary Clinton answers a question about college affordability in Durham, New Hampshire, Sept. 28, 2016.

The NYT’s David Leonhardt thinks Democrats risk again becoming the High Tax Party. Recall that during the 2008 presidential campaign Barack Obama contrasted his middle-class tax cut plan to John McCain’s, one Obama contended favored wealthier Americans. Here’s what tax-cut enthusiast Larry Kudlow wrote back then:

Wouldn’t it be the height of irony if Barack Obama wins this election as the Ronald Reagan tax-cutter? His tax plans are severely flawed, and his campaign narrative to support them is all wrong. And yet a recent Rasmussen poll shows that 31 percent of voters believe Obama is the real tax-cutter, while only 11 percent choose McCain. Believe it or not, Obama seems to have swiped the tax-cut issue from the Republican Party. How can this be. Well, for almost two years Obama has talked about cutting taxes for 95 percent of the people. McCain has no such record.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Will This Be the No-Fun Presidency for the Next POTUS?


Why does anyone want this job if you can’t do the fun stuff that makes voters happy: cutting taxes and spending money? From the WSJ:

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are likely to recite their varied promises for fresh government spending at Monday’s first presidential debate. One reality they’re unlikely to note: Whoever wins in November will enjoy far less latitude to spend money or cut taxes than any president since World War II. Not since Harry Truman will a new leader enter office with a higher debt-to-GDP ratio. And for the first time in decades, the new president will face the specter of widening deficits despite a growing economy. “The next president, no doubt, is going to be very constrained,” said Rep. Charlie Dent, a Pennsylvania Republican who sits on the House appropriations committee and hasn’t endorsed anyone for president.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Clinton’s Tax Conceit


Hillary-Clinton-angry3Hillary Clinton has revealed further details of her plan for the fiscal future of the United States. Her vision addresses both sides of the equation: how and from whom taxes should be raised; and how and for whom they should be spent. Her plan is squarely within the progressive tradition. She insists that “The middle class needs a raise,” and that the federal government will pay for the raise by increasing taxes on the top one percent, who once again must be made to pay their “fair share.”

The notion of diminishing returns from higher taxes at no point informs the key features of the Clinton plan: a four percent income tax surcharge on those earning over $5,000,000 per year; the imposition of the “Buffett rule” that requires an alternative minimum tax of at least 30 percent on those earning more than a million dollars per year; an increased capital gains rate for investments held for less than six years; a hefty increase in the estate tax, by reducing its base to $3.5 million per person from the present $5.45 million per person; an increase in the top rate from 40 percent to 45 percent; and capping the charitable deduction at 28 percent, even for people in a higher individual tax bracket.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Europe Gets Apple Right


iPhone_6_PLUS_preview_MG_1875On August 30, the European Commission issued a blockbuster ruling that required Ireland to recoup, with interest, the €13 billion in tax benefits that it has granted Apple since 1991. The tax breaks, the commission held, violated the European Union’s “state aid rules” that no company should be given preferential treatment under the law.

The decision elicited a strong reaction from Apple CEO Tim Cook who denounced it as “total political crap.” He was not alone in this belief. Holman Jenkins, Jr., writing in The Wall Street Journal, for example, said the decision was motivated by the European Commission’s desire to impose “tax harmonization” on all EU members as a way of “defending Europe’s stagnant social model,” which could not generate any Amazons, Googles, or Facebooks on its own. The United States Treasury echoed the same theme in a white paper that anticipated the EC’s ruling. And now Ireland, backed by Apple and Treasury, has decided to appeal the EC decision to the European Courts. Who is right, and why?

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Over at NRO, Deroy Murdock lists several of Donald Trump’s agenda items: Simplify today’s seven-tiered tax structure (with a top rate of 39.6 percent), down to three (the maximum being 33 percent) Chop corporate taxes from a crippling 35 percent — the developed world’s highest rate — to a refreshing 15 percent Eliminate the death […]

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Grover Norquist lays out all the tax increases that Hillary has already admitted to supporting: Read More View Post

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Few Thoughts on the New House GOP Tax Plan


twenty20_bbd66f6a-c928-4675-9849-6fa3baff68a9_tax_money-e1467742818385The Tax Foundation has modeled the growth, income, and revenue effects of the new House Republican tax plan.

Among the plan’s key elements: three personal income tax brackets of 12%, 25%, and 33%; a top investment tax rate of 16.5%; a higher standard deduction; increases in the child tax credit, elimination of individual and corporate AMT; a corporate rate cut to 20%: full expensing of capital investment; elimination of the deductibility of net interest expenses on future loans. And with these effects:

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Opportunity Costs of Government Planners


shutterstock_141130255One of the disadvantages of a complex tax code is that a great deal of human mental effort is wasted trying to figure it out. If a person has ten productive hours a day, any time spent doing busywork is a direct reduction on the amount of time that can be spent doing something productive that might actually create wealth (which, for those so inclined, could be taxed). This is one reason why I was so impressed during my recent visit to Singapore: The government there makes everything easy for productive citizens. The border crossing takes seconds, taxes are simple, even renewing a driver’s license happens as fast or faster than anywhere else in the world. All of this frees up the productive citizen to go and get some real work done.

The problem is compounded when one looks at government support for scientific and academic research. Highly educated and intelligent people — following the grant money — pour their creative energies into stupid and senseless fields. Think of what they could have accomplished if they were not following the research priorities set by not-invented-here senior scientists or, worse, ignorant and corrupt members of the government.