Dude is also nephew of a former President. So I guess that's why it's news. Any tax professional who celebrates this day because it means they can finally go home at a reasonable hour should take this as a personal insult. THIS IS YOUR DAY AND NO ONE ELSE'S.
To Whom It May Going Concern is a feature of some of the more, shall we say, interesting messages that come across the wire. If you get the urge to tell us exactly what you think about this here website, email firstname.lastname@example.org with "To Whom It May Going Concern" in the subject line. Just a reminder […]
"I wanted to scream out, Obama, say, 'keep your accountant, they're allowing you to pay only 13 percent in taxes,' " Booker said. "The rest of us should have accountants like that." But, Booker conceded, the "right advice" for Obama was to "stay presidential." [The Hill]
Yesterday we attempted to make some sense of President Obama's statement about ending "tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas." His was attempting to discuss corporate tax reform, although Mitt Romney had never heard of any such thing and wondered aloud if he needed to gleefully fire his accountant. Anyhoo, in the first […]
One other major point of contention (that relates to taxes) in last night's debate was President Obama mention of "tax breaks [given] to companies that are shipping jobs overseas." It's not entirely clear what he was talking about, so let's do our best to sort this out. From the transcript of the debate, here's what […]
One of my many ultra liberal friends was yammering on about presidential campaign contributions last night and I, being the skeptical libertarian I am, decided to dig a little deeper into the numbers to prove that be it Republican or Democrat, you're still getting pretty much the same thing. It's sort of like picking a […]
Politics is a dirty sport and while name-calling is certainly standard operating procedure, it seems extra petty when we're discussing about tax policy: Mitt Romney on Tuesday defended his tax plan after President Obama said it amounted to “Romney-hood” by taking from the poor and giving to the rich, labeling the charge “Obamaloney.” Since politics […]
Surely most people wouldn't mind if the 1% were paying a little bit more in taxes but when compared to other issues, Gallup found that it's a pretty low priority: Creating good jobs, reducing corruption in the federal government, and reducing the federal budget deficit score highest when Americans rate 12 issues as priorities for […]
…and Howard Gleckman asks that you imagine they're a couple of bros in their 20s: Listening to Barack Obama and John Boehner over the past few days put me in mind of two testosterone-addled 22-year olds preparing for a bar fight, rather than the President of the United States and the Speaker of the House […]
It's obviously a slow day when a number of media outlets are concerned with what Kevin Smith and Jon Lovitz think about taxes. This audio is NSFW, so use headphones unless someone yelling "fucking asshole," amongst other things at your workplace is considered kosher. [via TaxProf]
“You might have heard of this,” Obama said in his remarks, before a crowd of faculty and students at Florida Atlantic University. “But Warren Buffett is paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.” [The Hill, Earlier]
RELATED: I'm starting to think that ol' Grover is purposely spelling the Oracle's surname incorrectly. [@GroverNorquist, Earlier, Earlier]
Speaker of the House John Boehner and President Obama spoke on the phone earlier today and both men seem pretty eager to get something accomplished re: the payroll tax cut. The Hill reports that Boehner reportedly told Obama, "Let’s get this done today,” while White House spokesman Jay Carney later said, "The ball is in the […]
Granddaddy of tax gazetteers, David Cay Johnston, is poking at Grover Norquist again, this time over the quagmire that the Republicans find themselves in over President Obama’s payroll tax cut proposal. The very proposal that could make Obama the biggest Grinch of 2011. Ruined holidays aside, DCJ points out that if the Republicans shoot this down, they do so at the behest of what seems to be a very popular idea:
[N]umerous opinion polls show overwhelming public support for continuing tax cuts for workers and for raising taxes on millionaires. That has left Republican leaders no choice but to silently cry uncle and agree to the president’s request to extend and possibly expand the payroll tax cut.
The reason that Republicans aren’t so hot on the payroll tax cut is that it’s “temporary.” They’d rather see “permanent” tax cuts enacted, although those “permanent” tax cuts are never “permanent.” The “permanent” Bush tax cuts, for example, had to be “extended” last year because they were about to “expire” which basically makes them “temporary.” The payroll tax cut was originally enacted last year with the Bush tax cuts but as Paul Ryan says, it’s supposed to be like a holiday, which is to say, “We lived through it and we’ll just move on with our lives and never to speak of it again.” DCJ writes that this means Obama has beat the Republicans at their own game:
Having outsmarted Norquist, Obama gets to run for a second term as the champion of at least a $100 billion tax cut. Obama can even say that if Republicans had had their way, working people’s taxes would have gone up while taxes on billionaires would have gone down. And he gets to tell small business owners that, but for Republicans, their taxes would have gone down too.
This is a marketing fiasco for Republicans to rival the Ford Edsel and New Coke. Already more than 40 congressional Republicans have taken steps to distance themselves from Norquist, who scowls at the mere mention of what could have been his, but is now Obama’s, very popular tax cut.
In other words: Whose shorties are snagged now?
Republicans paint themselves into a tax-cut corner [DCJ/Reuters]
You may have heard that there’s a bit of a campaign going on for the world’s worst job. For whatever reason, the process of electing the leader of our country’s government drags on like Titantic. Right around, erm, now you’re probably ready to gouge your eyes out with a rusty spoon every time you see an ad for a candidate or debate. Unfortunately we’re powerless to stop it, thanks t ycle.
ANYWAY, one of the more useful things we learn during this process is where the money comes from and who it goes to. Now, you may be screaming, “Koch Brothers!” or “George Soros!” and while they can afford to throw around some cash, these stories are old hat and are best left to political bomb throwers with jostling jowls.
For our purposes of informing you, dear GC readers, we’ll give you the lowdown on what kind of cash people from the largest accounting firms are throwing around and who they’re throwing it to. Accounting Today has a full report out today based on data available from the Federal Election Commission and here are the highlights:
• Ernst & Young – E&Y donated the most cash, with personnel contributing more than $89,000. 18% went to President Obama, Mitt Romney received 39% and Rick Perry 37%. Personally, I feel like this money would be better spent throwing it at people in Albany.
• Deloitte – Total of $57,490 in donations. Mittens received 41%; Obama 37%.
• PwC – $36,520 total donations. Romney received 51%; Obama 48%.
• KPMG – The one Obama stronghold. The President received 47% of the total $15,000 in donations. Romney received 32%; Perry 17%.
• Grant Thornton – Obama doesn’t win. GT peeps gave $23,050 and 97% went to Mitt Romney.
What about the other candidates? Well, Newt Gingrich received a grand total of zero dollars from anyone at these accounting firms. Ron Paul received less money than Jon Huntsman. Yes, I know you’ve never heard of him. It’s this guy. Google Rick Santorum just for fun. And check out Michelle Bachmann’s manicures. That’s about all you need to know.
So who gets your imaginary contributions? I imagine most of you out there in Internetland have no plans to fork over any of your meager bonuses to a Presidential candidate but IF YOU DID, who would it be? And feel free to discuss your firm’s generosity or political leanings as you see fit.
By now, you’re probably heard about President Obama’s new plan for reducing our nation’s deficit. It involves raising taxes on the wealthiest of citizens including this new thing called the “Buffett Rule” which would force anyone making $1 million a year to pay a tax rate that is at least as high as the one paid by middle-income taxpayers. Predictably, Republicans have not warmed to the idea and are reacting on cue. Congressman Paul Ryan (WI) got feisty, saying the Buffett Rule was an example of “class warfare.”
The President, not always thrilled with criticism, sees it as slightly more complicated than that:
“This is not class warfare — it’s math,” Mr. Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, addressing GOP critiques of his plan head on.
Yeah Paul Ryan, Mr. Chairman of the House Budget Committee. If you’re not willing to get all nerdy about it, the President doesn’t want to hear it. Come back when you’ve got a blackboard filled with equations.
Accounting Today released its Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting (free registration required) late yesterday and it seems to be a tad more interesting than in years past. Sure, there are plenty of predictable names and faces in the list but any list that has Dave Albrecht, Paul Caron, and Grover Norquist is okay by me.
That said, it’s still in alphabetical order which may not appropriately present who the influenciest influencers are. I mean does sticking a man with a last name that starts with “N” and ends in “quist” somewhere in the middle of the pack (only a few spots in front of the POTUS) truly show how influential he is? It’s just a question.
ANYWAY, here are some notables that you’ll probably recognize:
Dave Albrecht – Associate Professor at Concordia College, The Summa
C.E. Andrews – President, RSM McGladrey
Paul Caron – TaxProf Blog
Stephen Chipman – CEO, Grant Thornton
James Doty – Chairman, PCAOB
Joe Echevarria – CEO, Deloitte
Michelle Golden – President, Golden Practices
Tom Hood – CEO, Executive Director Maryland Association of CPAs
Hans Hoogervorst – Chairman, IASB
Robert Moritz – Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC
Caleb Newquist – Founding Editor, Going Concern
Grover Norquist – President and Founder, Americans for Tax Reform
Barack Obama – President of the United States
Barry Salzberg – CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Mary Schapiro – Chair, SEC
Doug Shulman – IRS Commissioner
Jim Turley – Global Chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young
John Veihmeyer – Chairman and CEO, KPMG
Jack Weisbaum – CEO, BDO
I cherry-picked this list obviously because it’s a bit of a pain to re-type all of them, so don’t hold that against me. Still how two Swedes and two Barrys got mashed together is kind of odd. And on a more personal note, I’d really feel awful if I was the one who took Dennis Nally’s spot. Go check out the full list and discuss at your leisure.
Yesterday we learned how President Obama would pay for his jobs bill. If you make more $200k ($250k for marrieds), have carried interest income, have a corporate jet or are an oil & gas company, you probably won’t be too happy with the ideas put forth.
Considering all that, Christopher Bergin at Tax.com is perplexed:
What I can’t figure out is why the Obama administration keeps trying the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
President Obama’s Tax Plan: ‘No Games, No Politics, No Delays’ — No Chance [Christopher Bergin]
If you’re in the $200k+ club, a hedge fund manager or corporate jet owner, you won’t be pleased. From Reuters:
— A limit on itemized deductions and certain exemptions on individuals who earn over $200,000 and families who earn over $250,000, which would raise roughly $400 billion over 10 years.
— A proposal to treat carried interest earned by investment fund managers as ordinary income rather than taxing it at capital gains rates, which would raise $18 billion.
— Eliminating certain oil and gas industry tax breaks that would raise $40 billion.
— A change in corporate jet depreciation rules that would raise $3 billion.
Right. Can’t forget the oil companies.
To mark tomorrow night’s “Jobs Speech” by President Obama, the Ronald Reagan-possessed imps over at Americans for Tax Reform are providing some entertainment to get you through what will be, in all likelihood, a message that will be big on rhetoric with virtually no chance of anyone (Joe Biden included) breaking into song. And because most of the people that will be watching the speech will be either journalist/blabby pundit-types and people who are physically unable to remove themselves from the couch, they went with the simplest (yet oddly enjoyable) game possible. BINGO.
As you can see, ATR has studiously selected the words and phrases they think will be spoken most often by the President and have created five different cards so that you can play with your fellow lovers of liberty. They even took the trouble to define many of these terms in case you can’t keep everything straight. Based on ATR’s interpretation, you are more or less going to be listening to the President utter “tax hikes” on a loop. Of course if BINGO isn’t your thing, you simply could just turn this into a drinking game, although it’s conceivable this could result in several cases of alcohol poisoning.
The added (surely unintentional) bonus is that you can use this card as a template for tonight’s Republican Presidential candidate debate where many of these terms will applicable. You’ll have to throw in “God,” “Tax cuts,” “Small Businesses,” “Ronald Reagan,” and perhaps a few others I’m forgetting but this more or less will cover the bases.
“People who use public facilities for private purposes pay an appropriate rental fee so that taxpayers are not subsidizing a private event. The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian museums regularly rent out space for private functions. Perhaps they could suggest to the President and his campaign a reasonable price for use of the U.S. Capitol and the House chamber as a backdrop for his upcoming political rally.” [ATR]
Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
Obama has often cited Buffett’s call for higher tax rates on the rich, and he seized on the Monday op-ed in the Times and the coverage it’s gotten on the web and on cable news to do so again.
“He said we’ve got to stop coddling billionaires like me,” Obama said. “That’s what Warren Buffett said.”
“He pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than anybody in his office, including the secretary,” the president added. “He figured out that his tax bill, he paid about 17 percent. And the reason is because most of his wealth comes from capital gains.”
Not to be confused with Grover Norquist’s opinion on the matter.
Obama: Warren Buffett is right on the money [Politico]
I’m intentionally avoiding the news – partially due to the fact that Lawrence O’Donnell looks like a melting wax statue in HD and also that it got old a long time ago.
The Guardian catches everyone up by declaring the battle between Obama and the Republicans over the national debt has reached a new level and claimed that both sides were kind of pushing each other out of the spotlight.
At least that’s how the media played it yesterday. Chris Matthews called it a “slingshot operation by Republicans” on Lawrence O’Donnell (don’t ask why I watch MSNBC), more specifically implying that it was staged by Boehner & Co. to look like a knock off of Obama’s Prime Time address. Matthews also got pissed at Obama for going on national TV to do this; as if an address to the American people had anything to do with the American people.
What I took away from Obama’s speech was that he wanted our current and future creditors to know that he would get a debt ceiling increase, just let me pretend I’m going to cut some spending so we can get more money. It had very little to do with Americans or our perception of what debt means to our day-to-day lives, except for the part where he declared we’d have higher interest rates, more trouble securing loans and huge unemployment numbers.
Obama also got really dirty and quoted Ronald Reagan.
Apparently, at the end of this America banded together and crashed a bunch of Congressional websites. Not quite sure what that was supposed to accomplish but I guess it’s cute to see us working together for a change to accomplish something.
Just what I thought I saw.
Mr. McConnell said he concluded after the latest negotiations that the administration had “expressed a fundamental unwillingness” to agree to significant spending cuts.
“But after years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable,” Mr. McConnell said in a Senate floor speech. [WSJ]
From the press conference that is still going, “I don’t think it’s real radical” to ask corporate jet owners and millionaires to pay higher taxes, Obama said. “No-one wants to see the U.S default.”
You can’t reduce debt levels without… increasing revenue in some way,” Obama said. “That revenue is coming out of folks who are doing extraordinarily well, and enjoying the lowest tax rates since before I was born. If you are a wealthy CEO or hedge fund manager in America right now, your taxes are lower than they have ever been.”
Obama should focus on winning the electoral votes of Texas. He could highlight his ongoing efforts to destroy the oil and gas industry through taxation and regulation. Also his hostility to the Second Amendment. And spending binges and tax hikes. The small-minded will not see the opportunity for Obama in Texas, but with enough money spent in the state and not frittered away in Virginia and Florida good things can happen for America.
Or a punch of sass.
Today, I was pleased to take another step to relieve unnecessary burdens on small businesses by signing H.R. 4 into law. Small business owners are the engine of our economy and because Democrats and Republicans worked together, we can ensure they spend their time and resources creating jobs and growing their business, not filling out more paperwork. I look forward to continuing to work with Congress to improve the tax credit policy in this legislation and I am eager to work with anyone with ideas about how we can make health care better or more affordable. [WH]
Mr. Ryan sat in a front-row seat in the George Washington University auditorium Wednesday while Mr. Obama unveiled his plan to constrain growing levels of federal debt. Mr. Ryan grew visibly annoyed during the speech, shaking his head in disgust. He feverishly took notes, and when Mr. Obama finished he stood up and bolted from the auditorium. The only person apparently running faster towards the exit tugged on Mr. Ryan’s sleeve near the doorway and reached out to shake his hand. “Hi, Mr. Chairman, Gene Sperling,” Mr. Obama’s director of the National Economic Council said to Mr. Ryan in what appeared to be a conciliatory gesture. “Oh, I thought you were a reporter,” Mr. Ryan said, explaining why he didn’t immediately turn around when his name was called. [WSJ]
[K]ey Republicans have not responded positively to signals that President Obama will push for some tax increases in his deficit-reduction plan to be laid out this week. David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser, indicated Sunday that the president would reiterate his call to raise taxes on households making $250,000 and above and also signal a desire to look at other provisions in the tax code that wealthier taxpayers use to their advantage. In his fiscal 2012 budget, released in February, the president called for allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for income above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples at the end of next year. That statement came roughly two months after a compromise with congressional Republicans had extended current tax rates for the richest taxpayers for two years. [The Hill]
President Obama presented his nearly $4 trillion budget, proposing to cut more than $1 trillion from Federal programs over the next ten years, with $200 billion in cuts to occur over the next two years. Although these cuts may appear, at first glance, significant to the average American, in light of the recently enacted tax cuts of $858 billion over the next two years, that $200 billion of proposed spending cuts leaves $658 billion of tho ted for.
In balancing our national budget, Obama and Congress are focusing on the wrong side of the financial equation. The projected deficit in 2011 is $1.65 trillion; however, the whole non-defense discretionary spending budget in 2010 was $477 billion. Even if all non-defense discretionary spending were eliminated, there would still remain a deficit of over $1.1 trillion. The math is clear that Congress cannot eliminate deficit spending by budget cuts. Taxes will need to be raised.
Some of the cuts that President Obama is proposing in his budget include $300 million for community block grants, $2.35 billion for low income home energy assistance program, and $400 billion from a five-year domestic spending freeze, as well as reductions in pell grants, graduate school loans, community access, etc. But all of these cuts do not come close to offsetting the lost revenues from the extension of the tax cuts to the rich.
A pattern has emerged in Obama’s dealings with the Republicans. Obama agreed with the Republican argument to give tax cuts to the rich to help the economy. Now he is proposing to cut programs for the middle class and the poor to balance the budget. In doing such, Obama is moving the political fulcrum to the right. His approach of pre-emptively offering something—whether it be tax cuts for the rich or budget cuts affecting the poor and middle class—instead of negotiating a quid pro quo, is effectively pushing the Republicans further to the right, seeing the prospect of gaining even more ground.
Although compromise is demanded in politics, leadership cannot be defined by compromise alone. There are principles worth fighting for; and leaders must be willing to mobilize public opinion in support of those principles. Since our political system is rigged because of campaign finance and lobbying, a leader professing change and reform needs to present a different narrative to the populace. Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt recognized the value of the bully pulpit. Despite his rhetorical skills, Obama has failed to do so. His posture of appeasement will in all likelihood allow the Republicans to balance the budget on the backs of the working class and low income Americans to the benefit of Wall Streeters and Multinational Corporations, who offshore jobs, brought about the financial crisis, and robbed trillions from the American people. Since Obama is seeking re-election in 2012, and is charting his own course, he will not lead the American people to the Promised Land.
America needs major tax reform. The extension of tax cuts to people who need them the least was the last thing Congress needed to do. Some Democrats want to cut $40 billion in subsidies to the oil companies for five years; however, Republicans refuse to cut these subsidies to the oil companies, preferring to cut programs for the poor and middle class. Moreover, in spite of two wars costing $120 billion per year and an inflation adjusted military budget larger than those in the Bush years and the Cold War, neither party desires to cut military spending, which constitutes 58% of the discretionary spending budget.
Reform will never come from Congress nor a President like Obama. It will require people outside of Washington working with allies inside Congress in order to stop this disconnect between what is transpiring in Washington and what this country needs. It will require people coming together as they did in Egypt in a pro-democracy movement. The question is, can and will the people of America come together before it is too late.
Running late as usual. At least they aren’t using whiteboard markers. Since it’s Friday and we’ve got nothing better to do, we’ll be live-blogging below.
4:02: Starting in two minutes? You’re already 12 late Mr President. We realize you’re the President but some of us have holiday cheer to spread, get with it.
4:05: Filing in. Finally. Biden in the Hizzous. Cracks about a “big deal,” without the F-bomb, this time. Shout out to half-man, half-tortoise, Mitch McConnell. Bipartisanship lives!
4:08: The big guy is up. Applause. Biden is semi-beaming. BHO gives a shout out to the Veep. Biden grins like only Biden can. Love for McConnell and Dave Camp. Shot of Larry Summers is less than flattering. Did his mother teach him anything about sitting up straight? Yeesh. Bipartisanship, bipartisanship, bipartisanship. We get it. You managed to play nice, what do you want, reelection?
4:13: Al Sharpton? Golf clapping? Can someone explain why the Rev is at this thing?
More name-dropping. Nancy, T Geith, Boehner. Sigh.
4:17: John Hancock time. Hugs, handshakes, back slapping. OUT!
“So in my opinion, this is a good bill. And I hope that my fellow Democrats will support it.”
~ Former President Bill Clinton, at press conference today with President Obama (who bailed early), on the tax cut compromise. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, at the time of publication, is still going strong.