Tag: taxes

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Trump Tax Records Mailed Anonymously to the New York Times

 
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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.

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

 
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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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: More

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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:

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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.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Adventures in Economics: Trump Tax Plan Edition

 

Trump-OregonSo the original Donald Trump tax plan was a massive revenue loser, even with generous dynamic scoring. Then came word Team Trump was tweaking it to reduce the revenue loss from $10 trillion ($12 trillion without dynamic effects) to $3.8 trillion (with dynamic effects). (This is a greatly simplified timeline.)

Now he is reverse-tweaking it. But what would those tweaks have looked like, beyond reducing cost?

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What a contrast to today’s warmed-over Marxist class envy Democrats- whether Obama, Hillary or Sanders. Many of you may have heard this, but if you have not, it is worth listening to and passing on. Obama not only raised taxes, but Obamacare proved to be a massive tax increase, and these huge tax increases are […]

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A $1,000 per gun tax should serve as a “role model” for states, according to the governor of the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, which imposed the $1,000 gun tax earlier this month. An idea first endorsed by Hillary Clinton in 1993, steep gun taxes have now taken hold in […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Amazon Theory of Protectionism

 
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Hadrian / Shutterstock.com

For years, Walmart was the model of efficiency for the retail business. The true genius behind the world’s biggest retailer was not the superstore, or the cheap goods from China, but logistics. Walmart established what was perhaps the best distribution network in the history of mankind: an interconnected web of manufacturers (yes, some in the USA), warehouses, and trucks that moved goods from one point to another with astonishing efficiency. Coupled with advances in computer technology that gave them real-time data on stock levels, Walmart pioneered a way to use its trucking network as mobile warehouses, able to restock stores quickly with the goods that were most in demand. This allowed them to reduce their warehouse footprint, expand their retail presence, satisfy their customers, and make billions of dollars.

Then, a small start-up decided to disrupt it all. Amazon is a tech giant of the 21st century and one of the few dot-coms to not only survive the tech bubble, but to dominate its field going forward. Today, its businesses range from basic Internet retail, to back end server infrastructure, to some of the best darn consumer devices money can buy. It’s easy to forget it all started as a bookstore.

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Yesterday, while Ray was out getting a haircut and going to his accordion band rehearsal, I got together all of our forms and information, and sat down to do our taxes. Since we got married in 2003, this has been my job, since I have TurboTax. I buy the software at Costco every year, and […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. If You Want Government to Spend Like a Nordic Nation, It Needs to Tax the Middle Class Like One

 

twenty20_bb96649b-cbf1-4e5f-afd8-e585579301f5_sweden_flag-e1454439423712The WaPo’s Max Ehrenfreund has a great Q&A with sociologist Lane Kenworthy, author of Social Democratic America — a book I have written about a few times. The following bit gets at the idea that it wouldn’t be just the rich paying for the progressive dream of greatly expanded government, Scandinavian-style:

One difference between these two candidates’ [Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders] platforms and the social-democratic agenda in your book is that both are talking a lot about raising taxes on the rich, while in the Nordic countries, the middle and working classes pay more in taxes, too.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Cartels and Concierge Bureaucracy Management

 

Several years ago I heard an amusing story on NPR’s Planet Money program. The story described an Indian entrepreneur who, frustrated with India’s local political corruption and red tape, started a new business: Concierge Bribery. For a fee, he would seek out and pay off all of the sundry local officials whenever a local business needed something done. I thought how lucky we were that America had not yet descended to that level. I was deeply wrong. We, in fact, have had concierge bureaucracy managers for some time.

While it is generally a good maxim to never ascribe to mendacity that which can be explained by incompetence, normal logic seems rarely to apply to any of the corruption and rot stemming from Obamacare (and for the record, I refuse to call it “The Affordable Care Act”, or ACA). The act seems explicitly designed, among other things, as a tool to force a cartelization of the entire medical industry. We see this in the rapid demise of independent practices, as they close up shop and merge into large provider networks — effectively regional medical cartels. What we are not yet seeing, or rather noticing, on any scale is the very similar effect Obamacare (when coupled with the many other business strictures in place) is having on general employment itself.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hillary and Bernie Both Want to Raise Investment Taxes Dramatically

 

usa-election-democratsI thought a goal of smart tax policy was that you raised taxes on what you didn’t want (like pollution) and cut them on what you did want (like more investment and work). Over at Forbes, Ryan Ellis notes that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are proposing the highest capital gains tax rates in history, 47.4% for Clinton and 60% for Sanders vs. 23.8% today.

In the case of Clinton, according to Ellis, the math is a top headline rate of 39.6% + the 3.8% Obama “net investment income tax” + a new 4% high-income surtax. (By the way, the top capital gains tax rate was 20% when Bill Clinton left office and 15% under President George W. Bush.)

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Taxes Chased GE Out of Connecticut

 
GE in Schenectady

GE’s decision to leave Fairfield for Boston is another sad marker in the downhill slide brought about by Connecticut’s high-tax, high-regulation, anti-business policies of the last 25 years.

Governor Dannel Malloy (D) accelerated the state’s economic freefall with another huge tax hike passed last summer. Despite his 2014 reelection promise of no new taxes, Malloy signed a $2 billion tax hike that falls heavily and businesses and individuals. This came only a few years after his near $1.5 billion tax hike.

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