The Fiscal Cliff: As a CPA, People Expect You to Know this Crap
You spent five (or more) years studying to be an accountant, passed the hardest professional licensure exam that exists, and people expect you to know some shit about taxes. They don't care that you're "an auditor" because they don't know what that means. Now when you go to parties, somebody will be like, "Hey, Mark, […]
John Boehner Is the Most Reasonable, Responsible Person in Washington, Says John Boehner
The other day, Speaker of the Hizzous John Boehner got a lot of people got lot of people hot and bothered when he said that Republicans were "willing to accept new revenue, under the right conditions.” For some odd reason, these people – including Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) – thought that meant […]
Chuck Schumer Is Willing to Give John Boehner a Few Days to Warm Up to Higher Taxes
“You can’t expect the Speaker to turn on a dime in 24 hours and embrace everything, higher taxes, higher taxes on the wealthy, but I think privately that he’s seen the handwriting on the wall and it makes me very hopeful that we can do something big in the next month and a half. It’s […]
Hold the Phone, John Boehner Didn’t Say Anything About Taxes Going Up
Admittedly, The Speaker sounds like he's ready to deal but you'd be a damn fool to think that he's going to roll over: With President Obama reelected and Republicans returned to a slightly smaller majority in the House, Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday’s election amounted to a plea from voters for the parties to lay down […]
Memo to Anyone Under the Impression That There Is Some Secret Backdoor Escape Hatch in the Taxpayer Protection Pledge That Says a Hike in the Capital Gains Tax Is Allowed: There Isn’t One
Because a whole slew of people out there seem to have severe memory loss and there are rumors that the not-so-Supercommittee is kicking around a hike in the capital gains tax, Americans for Tax Reform will go over this ONE. MORE. TIME.
The Congressional “Super Committee” is now in its final week of deliberations. Rumors are constantly swirling around Washington about what they are talking about. One rumor we have heard is that the Super Committee might consider hiking the capital gains tax rate paid by a wide range of investment partnerships, including partners and employees at private equity, venture capital and real estate firms. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge commits signers to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses.” This clearly precludes any hike in the capital gains tax rate.
Does Grover Norquist have to slap you people?
President Obama Would Like Those Critical of His Deficit Reduction Plan To Get a Nerdier Argument
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.
GOP Congressman: All Tax Cuts Are Good But Some Are Gooder Than Others
The Associated Press is reporting that some Republican Members of Congress are fighting their natural inclination to extend all tax cuts to infinity. The tax cut at risk of expiration is employees’ share of the social security tax of 6.2%. Last year the rate was cut to 4.2% for one year. President Obama would like to extend this cut, while some aren’t so keen on it.
But wait a minute! Doesn’t this go against every fiber of Republican orthodoxy? Won’t Ronald Reagan be spinning in is his grave? Did Grover Norquist’s marching orders get lost in the mail?
Republicans say no, as this position is “consistent with their goal of long-term tax policies that will spur employment and lend greater certainty to the economy.”
Okie dokie, then. But if that’s the case, it’s a little strange to discover that House Speaker John Boehner hasn’t made up his mind on whether to extend this tax cut (or put another way “raise taxes”). Perhaps, that’s because he’s already said that tax hikes are off the table. So what gives?
Fortunately, we have Texas Representative Jeb Hensarling to explain it to us:
“It’s always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn,” says Rep. Jeb Hensarling, “but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again.”
So wait…not all tax cuts are effective at “getting the economy moving”? Is that what he’s saying? Or is this simply an Animal Farm approach to tax policy? Grover needs to get involved ASAP so everyone can get on the same page. The troops seem confused.
GOP may OK tax increase that Obama hopes to block [AP via BI]
Letting the Bush Tax Cuts Expire May Not Be a Violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge But Grover Norquist Would Still Advise You Against That Course of Action
As you well know, signing Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge is the equivalent to having your name written in the Fiscal-Conservative-Starve-the-Beast Book of Life. If you break t servative credentials will go up in a poof of red, white and blue smoke, you’ll be bludgeoned to death with a rolled up copy of the U.S. Constitution and hopefully Ronald Reagan will have mercy on your soul.
Lately though, partly due to this little debt ceiling debate, the Pledge has come under increased scrutiny and after the Senate approved a repeal of ethanol tax credits without a corresponding reduction in tax rates, some suggested that it is meaningless. Since this is obviously nonsense, Grover has gone on a PR offensive, in order to spell it for the RUBES out there so they can understand what constitutes a violation and what does not. Everything seemed to be back on the up and up until today, the Washington Post ran an editorial that may further muddy the waters:
Would allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire as scheduled in 2012 violate this vow? We posed this question to Grover Norquist, its author and enforcer, and his answer was both surprising and encouraging: No.
In other words, according to Mr. Norquist’s interpretation of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, lawmakers have the technical leeway to bring in as much as $4 trillion in new tax revenue — the cost of extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for another decade — without being accused of breaking their promise. “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase,” Mr. Norquist told us. So it doesn’t violate the pledge? “We wouldn’t hold it that way,” he said.
Naturally, some DOPES out there got all worked up as The Hill reports, “Democrats had jumped on that quote, suggesting it was a sign that Norquist was willing to be more reasonable on taxes than many congressional Republicans.”
As you can see, the words “Norquist,” “reasonable,” and “taxes” are in extremely close proximity which indicates that these “Democrats” are what I’d like to call “COMPLETE IDIOTS.” Problem is, whomever grabs the loudest megaphone first in DC usually gets dibs on what the dish is so Americans for Tax Reform has AGAIN clarified how this Pledge thing works:
ATR opposes all tax increases on the American people. Any failure to extend or make permanent the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, in whole or in part, would clearly increase taxes on the American people. In addition, the failure to extend the AMT patch would increase taxes. The outlines of the plans are deliberately hazy, but it appears that both Obama’s Simpson-Bowles commission proposal and the Gang-of-Six proposal dramatically increase taxes on the American people.
It is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to trade temporary tax reductions for permanent tax hikes.
In other words, if you let the “Bush Tax Cuts” expire that’s fine but you just be sure replace them with “Obama Tax Cuts” to ensure there’s no trouble.
Out from under the anti-tax pledge [WaPo]
Grover Norquist tries to clarify Bush tax cut remarks [The Hill]
ATR Statement on Washington Post Editorial [ATR]
How Does Americans for Tax Reform Feel About Tom Coburn’s “Back in Black” Deficit Reduction Plan?
It’s no secret that Grover Norquist’s patience with Tom Coburn ran out long ago. This hasn’t stopped Coburn from throwing out his own deficit reduction plan – entitled “Back in Black” – in order to save us all from fighting over scraps in the street. Predictably, Americans for Tax Reform has responded in due course, only they’re calling it “A Trillion Dollar Tax Hike Plan.” Maybe that’s not as bad as it sounds? Let’s take a look at some highlights:
Okay, is this really a trillion dollar tax hike? Reports say that it will save $9 trillion.
There is no rate reduction whatsoever in this plan. It’s a set of tax hikes, plain and simple.
But clearly, taxes and tax reform are complicated. Any chance we can address that?
There is no tax reform in this plan. The plan would undermine prospects for long-term tax reform.
A 600-page proposal clearly doesn’t happen without some planning. Tom Coburn must have had a plan. What was it?
It’s now clear Senator Coburn’s plan all along was a trillion dollar tax hike. Senator Coburn pretended to care about ethanol (until he was forced to admit he supported the ethanol mandate, the cause of 98% of government-induced ethanol production). In reality, he wanted to lay the groundwork for GOP support of this trillion dollar tax hike plan.
Tom Coburn has a reputation for being a staunch conservative. Does he live up to that reputation?
The Coburn trillion dollar tax hike is far outside the mainstream of the conservative movement, as well as where Congressional Republicans are.
Is there anything good about Coburn’s proposal?
ATR has long called for a “tax me more” checkoff for limousine liberals who complain that their taxes aren’t high enough. Rather than hiking taxes on everyone, these rich liberals should be able to pay more voluntarily to assuage their left-wing guilt. The Coburn plan does have this, providing a silver lining to an otherwise cloudy forecast for taxpayers.
And you probably thought ATR couldn’t say anything nice about the plan.
Senator Tom Coburn Proposes Trillion Dollar Tax Hike Plan [ATR]
Eric Cantor Describes Debt Ceiling Debate Using the Most Unimaginative Expression Possible
“We don’t believe that we ought to be raising taxes right now on people in this recession and in this economy, and they do,” the majority leader added.
“That is just an irreconcilable difference, and if the president wants the debt ceiling, we’re not going to go along with that if they want to raise taxes, and it just is what it is.”“That is just an irreconcilable difference, and if the president wants the debt ceiling, we’re not going to go along with that if they want to raise taxes, and it just is what it is.” [The Hill]
After Today’s Job Report, Eric Cantor Can’t Imagine Why Anyone Would Think Raising Taxes Is Good Idea
” ‘Disappointing’ is an understatement,” Cantor said on the floor in a colloquy with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Cantor was citing the jobs report for June that said only 18,000 private-sector jobs were created in that month, and that the unemployment rate increased to 9.2 percent.
“Just look at the jobs report today,” Cantor added. “I cannot fathom how anybody, how anyone thinks right now is a good time to raise taxes. Who thinks that raising taxes on individuals and small businesses can help create jobs?” [The Hill]
Don’t Try Using Your Fancy Tax Code Words on Orrin Hatch
President Obama and his liberal allies are calling for a ‘balanced approach’ and a revenue piece to deficit reduction. We hear this from the press all the time: ‘New revenues need to be a part of any deal to reduce the deficit.’ These are simply code words for a tax hike.
It is clear that the professional left is insisting that President Obama include tax increases in any negotiated agreement to raise the debt ceiling. [ATR]
Mitch McConnell Suggests That Anyone in Favor of Tax Hikes Is Committing Political Suicide
Hours before a meeting with President Obama at the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that any debt-ceiling deals that included tax hikes would be “politically impossible” in the current Congress because most Republicans and many Democrats oppose them.
“Those who are calling for tax hikes as a part of these debt discussions either have amnesia about the fate of similar votes just six months ago — when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress as well as the White House — or they’re acting in bad faith, since we all know that including massive, job-killing tax hikes would be a poison pill,” said McConnell on Monday from the Senate floor. [The Hill]
Memo to Congress: Cutting Funding for NPR Should Be NBD
The NPR funding debate is a litmus test of how serious Congress in general and Republicans in particular are about spending cuts. If Congress can’t even cut NPR it is a sign that deficits are here to stay and . . .dare I say it . . .tax hikes will be necessary. Or perhaps you don’t care that your children will be paying big chunks of their diminished incomes to the Chinese. [Martin Sullivan/Tax.com]