Tag: taxes

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

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.

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.

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.)

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.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Why Ted Cruz’s VAT Really Is a VAT


DebateThursday’s GOP presidential debate in South Carolina featured a feisty back-and-forth between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio concerning Cruz’s tax plan. Rubio said Cruz’s “business flat tax” is really a value-added tax that will blindfold “the American people so that they cannot see the true cost of government.” Cruz argued that a VAT is “a sales tax when you buy a good,” and his new tax is instead “imposed on on business.”

Make no mistake here. Cruz is proposing a VAT add-on to the existing personal income tax system. Specifically, it’s a “subtraction-method” VAT. Cruz explained it pretty accurately in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. A business would pay a 16% tax on its “gross receipts from sales of goods and services, less purchases from other businesses, including capital investment.”

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Hillary is currently campaigning saying that “we would all be better off if we went back to the economic policies of the 90’s”. Clearly, she wants to raise taxes on 98% of the population, while letting the top 2% off scot free. (The Bush tax cuts applied to the entire population. They were subsequently eliminated […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Is There a Real Alternative to the Ideas of Trumpism?


RTX1ZP41_trump_supporters-e1451321671210Let’s posit that Donald Trump’s polling power — particularly among white working-class voters — mostly reflects that group’s economic troubles and anxieties about the future. What sort of economically-sound agenda might resonate with these voters? Something other than border walls, immigrant roundups and deportation, and trade wars with Asia.

In his much buzzed-about The Atlantic piece, David Frum tries to outline just such an agenda:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Study: Trump Tax Plan Would Add $34 Trillion to National Debt


An analysis of Donald Trump’s tax plan from the Tax Policy Center (as summarized by the WSJ):

Donald Trump’s tax plan would cut federal revenue by $9.5 trillion over a decade and boost the after-tax incomes of the wealthiest households by an average of more than $1.3 million a year, according to an analysis released Tuesday. Mr. Trump’s plan, which would cut tax rates and push millions of households off the income tax rolls, would reduce federal revenue by 22%, requiring either significant new borrowing or unprecedented spending cuts. … “The revenue losses from this plan are really enormous,” said Leonard Burman, director of the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, which released the study. A bipartisan panel reviewed the report before its release. Mr. Trump’s website says his plan would be revenue-neutral. The center’s analysis shows otherwise.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Bernie Sanders, Democratic Socialism, and the Left’s High-tax Future for the US Middle Class


RTX1ZF6L_berniesanders_dem_debate_dec192015-e1450715133604During the weekend’s Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton expressed skepticism about the cost of Bernie Sanders’s spending plans, particularly his $15 trillion single-payer health plan: “Free college, a single-payer system for health, and it’s been estimated we’re looking at $18 to $20 trillion, about a 40 percent increase in the federal budget.”

In response, Sanders argued that “it is unfair simply to say how much more the program will cost, without making sure that people know that we are doing away with cost of private insurance, and that the middle class will be paying substantially less for health care on the single-payer than on the Secretary’s Clinton proposal.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Current State of GOP Tax Cutting


RTX1XSKW_jeb_bush-e1449758498928The Tax Policy Center offers its modeling of the Jeb Bush tax cut plan:

The Tax Policy Center estimates the proposal would reduce federal revenue, before considering any macroeconomic feedback effects, by $6.8 trillion over its first decade and an additional $8.6 trillion over the subsequent 10 years. About 60 percent of the revenue loss would come from individual income and payroll taxes and most of the rest from the corporate income tax.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What to Do About US Firms Moving Overseas to Pay Lower Tax Rates


RTX1VHPR_Pfizer-e1448306821641New York-based Pfizer and Dublin-based Allergan are merging in a mega-inversion deal to create the world’s biggest drug maker based on sales.

To take advantage of Ireland’s low 12.5 percent corporate tax rate, the two companies will combine under Allergan, though the entity will be called Pfizer PLC and trade under Pfizer’s current NYSE ticker symbol. According to the WSJ: “Pfizer expects the combined firm to have an adjusted tax rate of between 17% and 18%, lower than its current 25 percent rate, among the highest in the industry.” And here is the kicker:

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Giving Thanks For Congress


Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 12.56.48 PMEvery Thanksgiving I sympathize with lobbyists: can you imagine sharing their obligation to feel grateful for Congress? Amidst the vast, un-American growth of the administrative state, the world’s greatest deliberative body continues to do what it does best: taxing our children and passing the savings onto us.

The distinction progressives make between public and private is a false one. Many Americans know what it’s like to struggle beneath the weight of debt: not a day that goes by when my mailbox isn’t stuffed with offers from Visa or MasterCard informing me that I have been pre-declined.

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In the debate on Tuesday I couldn’t square how Ted Cruz could state that his 10% flat income tax plan (that also eliminates payroll taxes) was revenue neutral when scored dynamically. Well two articles by Steven Moore and Ramesh Ponnuru on NRO really helps explain what is going on. Basically both Ted Cruz and Rand […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Flat Taxes and Gold: A Few Thoughts on Ted Cruz’s Economic Plan

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, speaks at the First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua, NH, April 18, 2015. Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com

Full disclosure: I have written critically of the flat tax and gold standard as appropriate policy choices for the modern US economy. Frequently, in fact.

So there goes Ted Cruz in Wednesday’s debate endorsing both policies (kind of regarding the gold standard): “If you want a 10 percent flat tax where the numbers add up, I rolled out my tax plan today. … And I think the Fed should get out of the business of trying to juice our economy and simply be focused on sound money and monetary stability, ideally tied to gold.”