New Taxes: Most likely Indirect and regressive
The government is hungry for money. And it is looking for innovative ways to get it. However, they don’t want to take it from you directly. You see that’s political suicide. So when we hear about the great 300 billion middle class tax cut that the Obama administration is so graciously planning on granting, we should realize that most of it will be recovered by indirect taxes.
North Carolina - Thinking About Taxing mileage
Again, an example of government’s priorities taking precedence over the private citizen’s priorities. This time it comes from North Carolina, but trust me, if it is instituted and works, you will see it soon. The problem? People have cut back on driving and their cars have become more fuel efficient, thus tax revenues have fallen precipitously.Solution? Tax your odometer.With gas-tax revenues plummeting, the state of North Caro
Abusing the authority to tax (a natural result of granting that authority)
State government may have to make temporary spending cuts, but when it gets itself into deficit trouble from overspending, it turns to the one source of revenue it has - state taxpayers (unlike the Fed, states can’t just print money). And it also comes up with some innovative ways to both raise money and push its agenda. Take NY (please):The plan will com
The Tax Man (and job killer) Cometh
While I prefer Bob Barr’s tax plan (cut ’em and the size of government too), I don’t think the difference between the Obama tax plan and the McCain tax plan can be better summarized than the following two paragraphs and the accompanying chart. [Full disclosure - the IRET is a pro-McCain group of economists, but they have supported their work rather well (read the whole study/analy
Always "Charitable" with other people’s money
Barack the Wealth Redistributionist (I’m beginning to warm to that name) says Palin and McCain don’t know what they’re talking about when they call him a socialist. He’s not a socialist, he’s just planning on giving everyone a "fair" shot - with other people’s money of course:"The point is, though, that — and it’s not
The Shell Game Continues
Talk about the "Great Set-up", the con continues with attempts at lowering expectations. Obama took it from $250,000 to $200,000 in his infomercial. Joe Biden recently dropped it to $150,000. Now,  
Going down! 250, 200, 150 - do I hear 100?
That 95% of working Americans who’ll receive a tax cut is down from a ceiling of $250,000 to those making $200,000 or less.
Is this sinking in yet?
Because the more you hear it, the more it should sink in. Repetition, as the Army taught me, reinforces.Your taxes - yeah, I’m talking to you and I don’t care how much money you make - are going to be raised under a Democratic administration. Clear enough?Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Democrats will push for a stimulus package after the November election, and called for a package reducing defense spending by 25 percent while s
A couple of points about the Obama Tax myth
By "myth" I mean that he’ll only raise them on the top 5% of "working Americans".First of all that’s simply not true. Why? Well, because one of things Obama wants badly to do is raise the capital gains tax. Does that effect only the top 5%? Nope. No one ever seems to read the ingredients on the label of
Small Business? They’re the engine of the economy
Barack Obama mockingly asked, the other day, if anyone knew any plumbers making 250K. Well, yes, actually - those that own small businesses in which plumbing is the focus. Asking a question like that again shows you how unfamiliar Barack Obama (and apparently his advisers) is with the economy and the world the rest of us live in. 
Tax Policy à la MichaelW
OK, so during the debate tonight I mentioned that I had a tax policy idea. This is something that I came up with on the spur-of-the-moment a few nights ago, while discussing the general ideas espoused by the candidates with a friend. In a nutshell, I would turn America into a true stakeholder society by (A) having cumulative voting, and (B) providing that everyone who is eligible to vote, has the same number of votes as the pe
When a tax plan isn’t a tax plan
Speaking of Karl Marx, he’s not doing so badly here either: The fracas over Obama’s tax plan broke out Sunday outside Toledo when Joe Wurzelbacher approached the candidate.Wurzelbacher said he planned to become the owner of a small plum
Plenty of nails. Where’s the McCain "hammer"?
As I mentioned below, this ridiculous tax program of Obama’s is a nail McCain needs to be hammering incessantly. There a plenty of avenues of attack.And he’s got some expertise backing him up if he’ ll just use it: We are equally concerned with his proposals to increase tax rates on labor income and investment. His dividend and capital gains tax increases would reduce investment and cut into the savings of millions of Amer
Smoke, Mirrors and Socialism
The Wall Street Journal puts an ingredients label on the snake oil Obama is selling as tax cut for 95% of Americans:For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or e
Why Obama’s tax cut plan is a crock
His claim is he’s going to cut taxes for 95% of American families. Yet he is proposing more than $343 billion in annual spending according to the National Taxpayers Union.Where is the money for this new spending going to come from?Obviously the top 5% aren’t going to be able to foot the bill for that amount of spending. It’s not even close. IBD lays it out:
Obama’s smoke and mirror tax and spending plan
Do you happen to notice anything interesting about this statement by Barack Obama?Democrat Barack Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush’s tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy.An admission that his taxes on the "wealthy"
Substantive Criticism of Palin
Not from the left, of course, but from the Cato Institute regarding Palin’s record on taxes:Palin supported and signed into law a $1.5 billion tax increase on oil companies in the form of higher severance taxes. One rule of thumb is that higher taxes cause less investment. Sure enough, State Tax Notes reported (January 7): “After ACES was passed, ConocoPhillips, Alaska’s most active oil
California Insanity
California has always been known, in modern times, as a refuge of various cranks and whackjobs. Now, we’ll get a chane to see exactly how crazy Californians really are. An accountant in Santa Monica has managed to qualify a ballot initiative for petition signature gathering. If he can obtain the requisite 694,354 signatures by January 2nd, 2009, The voters of California will be given a chance to vote on this
Lone accountant takes on IRS and wins
And millions of us may benefit.The dispute arose when more than 30 mutual life insurance companies became publicly traded corporations in the late 1990s and earlier this decade, in a process known as "demutualization."Mutual companies are owned by their policyholders, so the companies provided stock and cash to compensate them for the loss of their ownership interests when
About those tax cuts ...
Alex Brill and Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute offer the following analysis of Obama’s tax plan and how it will impact Americans at all income levels:As the chart shows, Obama’s give-and-take tax policy results in marginal tax
Got taxes?
Government indulges in spending in areas it really has no business being in, further indulges in collections to hopefully modify behavior (another thing it has no business doing) and taxes - their only means for paying for any of this stuff - must go up.In California it is rising to new levels, threatening to make it the highest taxed state among the 57 50.
This is just painful to watch (update)
If you’ve never seen an idiot try to spin something so hard smoke starts coming out of his ears, watch this.
Taxes: About "fair shares" and the like
As the "tax the rich" and "the rich aren’t paying their ’fair share’" mantra heats up among the class-warfare Democrats (that, btw, would be most of them), a simple graphic tells the real tale.The obvious point, obvious to all those who get beyond the "
Gas not high enough for you? Let Congress help ...
Yes, fellow citizens, that well-regarded institution, Congress, is trying to see if they can further add to your woes while trying to do a little "revenue raising":[Rep. James] Oberstar, D-Minn., said his committee [House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee] is working on the next long-term highway bill. He estimated it will take between $450 billion and $500 billion ove
A taxing situation
The Heritage Foundation takes a look at what Obama promises for taxes should he be elected and what that means:Obama’s tax plan has two major components. First, he promises to end the Bush tax cuts, allowing the top two tax rates to return to 36% and 39.6%. Second, he promises to end the Social Security payroll tax cap for incomes above $250,000. Individuals ma
Taxing our way into fuel independence
As I read it, that’s precisely what Bill Marsh of the NY Times is implying with this latest article. He begins by attempting to sell us on the claim that no matter how high our prices are at the gas pump now, we’ve "got it good" compared to others. In fact, his article is entitled "Savoring Bargains at the American Pump"No, r
Money grubbing tax grabbers
States starving for tax revenues may watch this particular gambit by New York state very carefully:Living up to its distinction as one of the most heavily taxed states in the nation, the Empire State has found a new way to subject its citizens to even more taxes. New York tax officials are looking to fill budget shortfalls by looking beyond state borders. As part of i
The Progressive Poison Pill
Paul Krugman just penned an article accusing the Republicans of using tax cuts as a "poison pill," constraining any attempt by the next administration to change the course of American policy. Here’s how it works: Bush cuts taxes, so the fisc runs a deficit, so if the next administration wants to ramp u
Taxing time if Obama wins
CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo lays out the Obama plan for your money if he’s elected president:"He’s going to take the capital gains tax at 15 percent right now all the way up to 25 to 28 percent. . . . Sell anything, like a home or stocks, and make a profit . . . [almost] 30 percent of the profit will go to the government instead of 15. Right
Talk about spending your grandchildren’s inheritance ...
How much will the presidential candidates cost you if elected?Well obviously, it depends on whether they can get all of their programs passed as they promise, but according the the National Taxpayer’s Union, each of them promises to raise spending if elected - some much more than others:NTUF’s third round of "costing out" the candidates’ p
Let’s tax fast food, shall we?
Ah, New Jersey:The sputtering economy has caused an increase in prices of many staples including gasoline, rice, ice cream, even beer. Now some lawmakers in New Jersey are considering taking food taxes a step further and install a proverbial "sin" tax on fast food.Of course it is all for your own good (or is it "for the children"?). Be that as it may, residents of
McCain - a sane proposal
Why didn’t the Democrats think of it?To help people weather the downturn immediately, McCain was calling for Congress to institute a “gas-tax holiday” by suspending the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day. He also renewed his call for the United States to stop adding to the Strategi
A majority of Americans think their Fed taxes are too high
A recent Gallup poll tells us:It’s tax time, and 52% of Americans complain that they pay too much in federal income taxes, but 42% say they pay the right amount, and a curious 2% say they pay too little.I assume that’s the half that actually pays income tax [/snark].In fact, I assume it is actually a poll of
Drink Up, California!
Ronald Reagan once famously said the for Democrats, the operating policy was, "if it moves, tax it." A California legislator seems determined to live up to that stereotype.Joe Six-pack will have to pay a lot more to get his buzz on if Assemblyman Jim Beall has his way.The San Jose Democrat on Thursday proposed raising the beer tax by $1.80 per six-pack, or 30 cents
Read my lips - Cut spending!
In the midst of the Iraq report and all the coverage it is getting, John F. Cogan and R. Glenn Hubbard put some numbers to the taxes which will assault American’s pocketbooks if the tax cuts are left to lapse:By historical standards, federal revenues relative to GDP, at 18.8% last year, are high. In the past 25 years, this level was only exceeded during the five years
Tax increase? A rose by any other name ....
Call it whatever you want, but the price of government is going up by over half a trillion dollars in the next 5 years if Democrats get their way:The Senate on Thursday rejected the idea of renewing many of President Bush’s tax cuts as all three major presidential candidates interrupted their campaigns to vote. The House approved a budget blueprint that
Big Government is Back
Robert Kuttner sounds the warning: Big Government liberalism is back, baby... Unfortunately, Progressives only ever seem to make progress in one direction: towards Washington, DC.Can the Democrats Think Big? [...][The] Democrats’ task is to place the responsibility squarely where it belongs—on market-fundamentalist ideology
Taxation: No child left inside? (update)
As I’ve pointed out previously, taxes should fund legitimate government functions, nothing more. We can all argue what those legitimate functions are (such as those functions found in a "night watchman’ form of government vs. the "nanny state" model), but one of my pet peeves is when government attempts to use taxation to control behavior.Tom Scott sends along a link t
Taxes - for revenue or behavior control?
Look, I’m not a fan of taxation at all. And my acceptance of some taxation is conditional based on the realization that some level of government functions (legitimate government functions as outlined in the Constitution). I have no tolerance for taxation to fund illegitimate usurpations of power nor do I have any for this sort of nonsense:In 2002, Ireland passed
The "fiscal stimulus" arguments
The irony, of course, is both sides of the political spectrum agree that the way to stimulate the economy is to0 do what one side has been pushing for ages - put more money in the hands of the citizens. Both sides agree that this "stimulus" is going to be short term because it is a one time payment which will be quickly spent.So if the argument is we can stimulate the economy by putting more money in the hands of citizens (and consumers) and that is the
Where is today’s Calvin Coolidge?
Republican tax cuts - where are the spending cuts?
The Wall Street Journal has a compendium today of all the tax cuts Republican candidates are proposing. Then, while talking about McCain’s tax cut proposals, the WSJ says:The Arizona Senator is still insisting that any tax cuts be "paid for" with spending reductions, which sounds good but could let Democrats block his tax cuts merely by refusing to
Schwarzenegger - "I think taxes, er fees, are good"
Amazing what a little fiscal crisis can do to change the "Republican principles" of a certain governator:Days after port authorities approved a $35 environmental fee on containers shipped through Southern California’s harbors, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that he would support a similar fee at the s
Rent-Seekers Vote
Jonah Goldberg hits on one of my biggest concerns - a tax system and politicians that increasingly turn voters into rent-seekers:What does it do to a democracy when people see government as something only other people should pay for? [...] I don’t know what the best tax rates are, for rich or poor. But I’m pretty sure that it’s unhealthy for a
Taxation, the future and fair shares
Walter Williams takes a look at the reality of our tax policy as it exists and what ramifications it brings. First the numbers:In 2005, the top 5 percent of income earners — those with an adjusted gross income of $145,000 and higher — paid 60 percent of all federal taxes; in 1999, it was 55 percent. The top 10 percent, earning income more t
The Social Security Problem
A lot of Democrats are peddling the claim that there is no Social Security problem that needs to be fixed - and, insofar as they mean the program isn’t going to simply go bankrupt or fail to pay promised benefits, they’re generally correct. However, that is misdirection. Megan McArdle cuts through that nonsense.This  
Huckabee: No New Taxes?
Don’t count on that if "Republican" Mike Huckabee gets anywhere near the White House. Watch this video:The e
Democrats, taxes and framing the argument (update)
Per Robert Reich - Problem:New data from the Internal Revenue Service show that income inequality continues to widen. The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans earn more than 21 percent of all income. That’s a postwar record. The bottom 50 percent of all Americans, when all their wages are combined, earn just 12.8 percent of the nation’s income.
Captured by Supply Side Mythology
This represents one of the biggest current problems with the Right...A conservative publication, which I will not name, just spiked a book review because I said that the Laffer Curve didn’t apply at American levels of taxation, even while otherwise expressing my vast displeasure with the (liberal) economic notions of the book I was reviewing. This isn’t me looking for an
NY Times disappointed about no tax increase for rich
In an editorial today, the New York Times laments the fact that the rich will get a bye for at least another year’s tax break. Someday, Americans who earn millions upon millions of dollars each year will no longer pay taxes at a lower rate than the middle class and the merely affluent. Someday. But not this year, and wi
Prepare to be taxed for your internet service
And you can thank the Democratic Congress for it:Democrats in the U.S. Congress failed on Thursday to protect Internet users from higher taxes.The Senate Commerce committee, chaired by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), mysteriously killed a vote on an Internet tax bill that was supposed to take place at 2:30 p.m. ET. With a laugh but n
The Cigarette Police (update)
You’ve got to love this twist on an old theme:Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.Why?Tennessee’s cigarette tax went from 20
A Tax Question for Democrats
Greg Mankiw asks an interesting question of Democrats. Okay, you want to raise taxes on the rich. I get that. But what do you want to do with the money?At different times, it seems, you want to Fund universal health care.Give a tax cut to the middle class.Reduce the long-term fiscal gap. Which is it?
Taxes are just the Symptom
Megan McArdle responds - brilliantly, I think - to Jonathan Chait’s new book, The Big Con. Chait takes on the "ridiculous claims" that "cutting tax rates increases tax revenue", about which McArdle points out "tax cuts, at least in the narrow range of marginal rates in which American tax policy seems to be stuck, do not "pay for themselves" by increasing the revenue that the go
Tax Breaks and Public Choice
I favor tax cuts, but - unlike Milton Friedman - I don’t favor "any tax cut, under any circumstances, in any way, in any form, whatsoever". There are a variety of reasons why I don’t, among them the fact that many tax breaks are subject to the problems outlined by Public Choice Theory - i.e., they incentivize corruption, bribery and the misallocation (deadweight loss) of resources, as politicians
Tax cuts: Good and Bad arguments
There’s been a great deal of discussion about taxation lately, so it’s time for a reminder for those who support tax cuts: don’t make stupid arguments.This would seem to be an obvious point, but some people’s fervor for tax cuts - any tax cut, any time — seems to make them willing to peddle very, very stupid arguments. Case in point, this almost criminally-ignorant
Raise taxes - slow the economy
One of the bigger lessons to be learned by politicians everywhere is that taxation can inhibit economic growth. Actually, what politicians need to learn about taxation is its function is to provide the funds necessary to run the government, and nothing more. But for some reason it appears that lesson was long ago lost. It’s almost as if they feel a collective right to revenue at whatever level they choose if it will fund their pet projects, taxpayers
Tax rates and the super-rich
This (found at Instapundit and Waldo Jaquith) is very tiresome...Speaking to several hundred supporters of the U.S. Senator from New York, Buffett revealed his puzzlement that he was taxed at a lower rate than many of the lesser-paid individuals working for his company. Buffett said he makes $46 million a year in in
Is Atlas Shrugging?
Probably not, but it is instructive to note that the so-called ’equity society’ of European welfare states that so many here hope to emulate is having a pretty rough time and, it appears, those paying the freight are getting a bit tired of it:The great unsung success story of the EU over the decades has been its social democratic exercise in redistributing wealth
The "tax the rich" mantra
The Skeptical Optimist does a little digging into a paper by the Tax Foundation and charts the info. He suggests everyone read it as it is the first and only place he has found that categorizes the total federal tax burden by quintile. To whet your appetite, three very interestin
The Democratic Tax increase in terms you can readily understand
As you remember, I posted about the Democrat’s "largest tax increase in history" and used Sen. John Thune’s (R-SD) speech on the floor of the Senate to highlight that cost.Sen Thune went through a whole presentation using a form 1040 and showed us where taxes were being raised and what that meant in terms of dollars. He ended his presentation by saying they had run the nu
Tax Day Self-Congratulations
Since today is Tax Day, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at this Matt Stoller post from a few days ago.I just paid my taxes, and I have to say, I always take pride when I do so. I don’t like having less money to spend, of course, and the complexity of the process is really upsetting. But I am proud to pay for democracy, and I feel when I do send money to the
Putting numbers to the "largest tax increase in history"
We’re seeing a lot of talk about "the largest tax increase in history" from Republicans. They’re talking about the Democrat budget and the impact of their refusal, in some cases, of extending tax cuts and, in others, their changes to the tax code.Below is a video in which Sen. John Thune (R-SD) lays out the impact in dollars and cents. I encourage you to watch it. It’s about 6+ minutes. If you don’t have the time, let me hit the
"The largest tax increase in history"
The current Republican talking point on the Democrats’ budget plan is that the Democrats will be looking to impose "the largest tax increase in history". But, as our liberal friend Brendan Nyhan points out, this tax increase was programmed into law by the Republicans, by passing the tax cuts on a temporary basis, setting out, by law, that the tax curts would expire by
Tax and spend Democrats are back
Robert Novak, speaking of the Democrat sponsored tax bill due to be voted on:The bill set to reach the House floor today (resembling the Senate version) would raise taxes an average of $1,795 on 115 million taxpayers in 2011. Some 26 million small-business owners would pay an average of $3,960 more. The decreased number of Americans
Unfunded liabilties
Both of which would be deemed mandatory spending. Social ("It’s not broken, it’s not even in trouble") Security:In the 2003 Trustees Report, the present value of the difference between the system’s revenues and expenditures over the next 75 years is projected to be $4.9 trillion. Including the $1.4 trillion trust fund as an offsetting asset, or dedicated funding source, lo
Tax cuts and fair shares
One of the most persistent narratives of the Democrats and the left in general has been that the Bush tax cuts have only benefited the rich (and thus, in the name of "tax equity" should be repealed). But the Tax Foundation disagrees:Before 2001, almost every tax return with zero liability had adjusted gross income (AGI) under $50,000. Most were under $40,000. Since 20
Food taxes
Being a libertarian, I’m not a fan of any taxes, but I’m especially put off by taxes on food. I cannot, for the life of me, think of a worse way to hurt the poor in this country than taxation on food. Now I recognize that taxes on food are usually state and local taxes. But given that Democrats ar
The first tax increase by the Democrats
This didn’t take long at all:The House of Representatives is poised Thursday to play Robin Hood with energy policy.It aims to cut $14 billion in federal oil and gas tax breaks and other benefits over the next 10 years and give them instead to renewable-energy programs.Such a change would represent a noticeable trim in government su
"For the Children" is back with a vengence
The "for the children" meme is back in good form after a 6 year hiatus and as usual, the children are the excuse to raise taxes:House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are not ruling out raising taxes for the wealthiest people to help pay for tax cuts for middle-income families.Asked in a CBS News interview if Americans making over half-a-million
Higher Social Security taxes on the horizon?
Robert Novak seems to think so. Indicator one:Henry M. Paulson Jr. is a shark on Wall Street but a rookie on Pennsylvania Avenue. As Bush’s third secretary of the Treasury, he has engaged in secret bipartisan talks discussing an increase in the current $97,500 limit on personal income subject to the Social Security payroll tax. That wou
The Federal Tax System is still Progressive
Progressive taxation and the progressivity of our tax system. It’s a very important subject to liberals. Larry Summers recently proposed "restoring the progressivity of the tax system". Wes Clark pledged to "restore progressivity to the tax code". Warren Buffett complained to Ben Stein that, due to tax benefits, " 
Taxation without Discrimination
Ben Stein writes a widely linked New York Times piece on tax policy, along the way making some good points (tax cuts themselves have not resulted in increased revenue, a point that has been acknowledged by the
Treasury Report on tax cuts
A recent Treasury Department study (now with dynamic analysis!) of the stimulative effects of the tax cuts has some potentially important results...but it’s hard to decipher just what those are. Forbes cuts to the chase. The good news is, keeping the tax cuts will increase growth by .7%! The economy would get a boost if President Bush’s first-term tax
"Social Progressives" and the Death Tax
Sebatstian Mallaby, in an article entitled "Reward for the Hereditary Elite ..." begins:It doesn’t matter if you are liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. There is no possible excuse for doing what Congress is poised to do this week: Abolish the estate tax.Well is certainly does if you’re a libertarian or have
Tax Cuts: yes, Virginia, there is a left side of the Laffer Curve
Sebastian Mallaby has made another bid to upset the supply-side cult...Nobody serious believes that tax cuts pay for themselves, as I noted last week. But most senior Republicans flunk this test of seriousness.Mallaby
The Stroke the Beast Hypothesis
Writing in Atlantic Monthly — also available here for free — Jonathan Rauch discusses a 2003 report (pdf) by Cato Institute Chairman William Niskanen on theoretical problems with the Starve the Beas
Equality Tax: the Flat Tax for everything
We’ve discussed previously and at great length the reasons why, with one caveat, the Fair Tax (i.e., National Sales Tax) is a thoroughly wonderful idea. Unfortunatel
Gas Tax: cost internalizing
Want to lessen our dependency on oil? That would be but one of the benefits of a gas tax...Suppose a politician promised to reveal the details of a simple proposal that would, if adopted, produce hundreds of billions of dollars in savings for American consumers, significant reductions in traffic congestion, major improvements in urban air quality, large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,
In Praise of Regressivity
A QandO reader, Logan Boettcher, drops the following on me via email:I consider the pure consumption tax to be a proportional tax on the tax side of the equation. Rich people save more and it would seem to be a regressive tax as the poor would spend the full 23% of their income on taxes and the rich would pay less. But the purpose of saving is for future consumption, so eventually every last dollar of the rich person’s would be spent and would be
Flat Tax, Easy Tax
I’ve previously discussed me idea for three steps to a more limited government. Of those, the second plank is a Price Mechanism. A price mechanism would bring home the costs of government largesse and inefficiency to taxpayers by making taxation correspond to spending in a way that would affect every voter and prevent special interests from soaking everybody else unawares. This could be accomplished via