The Week: Most Recent U.S. Economy:The Tax Battle recent posts.en-usTue, 04 Dec 2012 17:05:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent U.S. Economy:The Tax Battle from THE WEEKTue, 04 Dec 2012 17:05:00 -0500How the high corporate tax rate pushes U.S. companies to stash their cash overseas<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Amidst all the partisan rancor surrounding the fiscal cliff, there is <strong>one budgetary issue on which both Democrats and Republicans largely find themselves in agreement</strong>: The corporate tax rate is too damn high. At 35 percent, it is one of the highest corporate rates in the developed world, and President Obama has proposed reducing it to 28 percent as part of a larger overhaul of the tax code. Reform is widely considered necessary because the current set-up "presents the worst of all worlds," say Jia Lynn Yang and Suzy Khimm at <em>The Washington Post</em><em>.</em> "Rates that are relatively high and tax receipts...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryu-spaeth" ><span class="byline">Ryu Spaeth</span></a>Tue, 04 Dec 2012 17:05:00 -0500The 47 percent debate: Do tax credits encourage the poor to work?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Mitt Romney's campaign continues to reel from a secret video showing the candidate disparaging the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes. Romney says those Americans &mdash; the bulk of whom are elderly and poor &mdash; are "dependent on the government," echoing an increasingly popular conservative idea that low-income families are mooching off the state and aren't paying their "fair share" of taxes. However, some conservatives continue to&nbsp;defend&nbsp;low taxes for poorer families, saying the policy encourages work and helps lifts people out of poverty. At the center of this...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 19 Sep 2012 15:08:00 -0400Would the GOP raise taxes... on the middle class?<img src="" /></P><p>House Republicans, led by budget chief Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), say their budget will give big tax breaks to virtually every taxpayer, reducing the top income bracket to 25 percent, from 35 percent, and flattening the other brackets to 10 percent. But that would reduce federal revenue by $4.5 trillion over 10 years, and the only realistic way to make that up, according to a new analysis from Senate Democrats, is to effectively raise taxes on the middle class by eliminating "the biggest middle-class tax benefits &mdash; like the mortgage interest deduction, and the tax exclusion on employer health...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffThu, 21 Jun 2012 15:09:00 -0400Presidential tax refunds: By the numbers<img src="" /></P><p>After filing his taxes this year, President Obama scored a $25,000 federal tax&nbsp;refund&nbsp;&mdash; bigger than some workers' annual salary. It turns out, though, that "fatty tax checks for presidents aren't anything new," says Nicole Fabian-Weber at&nbsp;<em>The Stir</em>, and President Obama's 2011 haul is actually on the smallish side, historically speaking. Big refunds are often due to generous charitable giving, sizable annual incomes, and proportionally high taxes; though "if we were suspicious,"&nbsp;says Peter Grier at <em>The Christian Science Monitor</em>, "we'd say that presidential advisers tell...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 18 Apr 2012 09:50:00 -0400Should the government do your taxes for you?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">It's tax day, and as procrastinators across the nation scurry to file their returns, they might be forgiven for wondering, "Why isn't the government doing this for me?" In the more hopeful days of 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama promised to "dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes." Obama's proposal bore similarities to California's ReadyReturn program, in which the state sends residents their completed returns, listing the amount they owe or the amount they'll be refunded. All residents have to do is sign the return...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 17 Apr 2012 15:40:00 -0400The Buffett Rule is a drop in the ocean<img src="" /></P><p>On Monday night, the Senate voted on the Buffett Rule tax proposal, which would have added a surtax on earned income over $1 million. The result was a foregone conclusion; the proposal needed 60 votes to overcome the threat of a GOP filibuster, and the procedural motion failed with only 51 votes. In the end, one Republican and one Democrat crossed party lines, but it didn't make any difference, as the House would not have passed the bill or even brought it to a floor vote. This vote was purely symbolic.</p><p>Of course, symbolic votes are hardly new, especially in election years. Both parties will try...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/edward-morrissey" ><span class="byline">Edward Morrissey</span></a>Tue, 17 Apr 2012 11:45:00 -0400Is the Buffett Rule fair?<img src="" /></P><p>Republicans on Monday blocked the Buffett Rule bill, a Democratic measure to impose a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on Americans making over $1 million a year. President Obama, who has pushed the "Fair Share" legislation on the campaign trail, said the GOP had acted "once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class." Republicans dismissed the proposal as an election-year gimmick that would unfairly penalize investors and kill jobs in the process. In the fight to make the tax code more fair, is the Buffett Rule the best idea?<br /><br /><strong>The Buffett Rule is...</strong></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 17 Apr 2012 08:50:00 -0400Obama's Buffett Rule: Just a political gimmick?<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">President Obama has been making a lot of hay about the Buffett Rule. Named after billionaire Warren Buffett, who has famously said he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, the rule would set a baseline tax rate of 30 percent for yearly incomes over $1 million. The Obama administration says enacting this policy is a matter of economic fairness and common sense, and that it would be the first step toward closing our massive budget deficit. His opponents, however, see nothing more than a cynical campaign ploy. Is the Buffett Rule just smoke and mirrors?</p><p class="p1"><strong>It won't solve the country's fiscal problems...</strong></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 13 Apr 2012 16:33:00 -0400Would Obama's corporate tax cut speed the recovery?<img src="" /></P><p>On Wednesday, President Obama proposed cutting the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent. But the administration insists that this wouldn't deplete federal coffers. Instead, the plan would actually generate <em>more</em> revenue for the federal government, because Obama wants to eliminate loopholes and subsidies that allow many corporations to pay a lot less than 35 percent, and in some cases, zero. Obama is also proposing a minimum tax on foreign earnings. Is this sensible, overdue reform, or a recovery-killing tax hike in disguise?<br /><br /><strong>The proposal would doom the recovery:</strong> "This is a terrible...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 22 Feb 2012 18:01:00 -0500Would Jesus raise taxes on the rich?<img src="" /></P><p>President Obama used his speech at Thursday's annual National Prayer Breakfast to explain how his faith influences his policies. "When I talk about shared responsibility," he said, it's because I really believe asking people like myself who have "been extraordinarily blessed" to give up some tax breaks is good economic policy. "But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus' teaching that, 'To whom much is given, much shall be required.'" Is Obama saying, as <em>Politico</em> puts it, that "Jesus would tax the rich"? And, well, would He?</p><p><strong>Jesus wasn't a socialist:</strong> Maybe Obama would understand scripture...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 03 Feb 2012 11:57:00 -0500Tax dodgers on the federal payroll: By the numbers<img src="" /></P><p>As Congress and the White House cast about for ways to shrink the yawning U.S. budget deficit, they could do worse than starting with a few stern words for their own staffs. According to IRS data crunched by<em> The Washington Post</em>, almost 100,000 employees of Congress, the West Wing, and several other federal agencies were collectively about $1 billion short in paying their 2010 taxes. That's "totally unacceptable and disrespectful," says Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who's pushing a bill to make tax delinquency a firable offense for federal workers. "If you're on the federal payroll, the very least...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffTue, 24 Jan 2012 09:55:00 -0500Taxing the rich: A guide to the controversy<img src="" /></P><p><strong>Are millionaires paying lower tax rates than the middle class?</strong><br />Most of them aren't. The 238,000 American households with taxable incomes of $1 million or more will pay an average of 29.1 percent in federal income and payroll taxes in 2011, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. That's almost twice the average rate of 15 percent paid by middle-class households making between $50,000 and $75,000. But some millionaires do get off lightly; one out of 10 of them will pay less than 15 percent, and about 7,000 will pay no income taxes at all. Warren Buffett, whose August call for higher taxes...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 28 Oct 2011 11:34:00 -0400Do millionaires really pay lower taxes than their secretaries?<img src="" /></P><p>The political centerpiece of President Obama's new push to shrink future deficits is the "Buffett rule," which would amend the federal tax code so that anyone earning at least $1 million a year doesn't pay a lower tax rate than middle-income Americans. The rule is named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who says it's unfair that his 17.4 percent tax rate last year was lower than the rate "paid by any of the other 20 people in our office." Obama agreed, saying, "Warren Buffett's secretary shouldn't pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett." But the <em>Associated Press</em>, in a "fact check" article...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 21 Sep 2011 11:26:00 -0400Obama's 'Buffett Rule': Is hiking millionaires' taxes 'class warfare'?<img src="" /></P><p>On Monday, President Obama is unveiling his plan to reduce long-term deficits&nbsp;by about $3 trillion &mdash;&nbsp;a figure split roughly evenly between spending cuts and tax increases. Republicans have already lashed out at Obama's plan, especially the president's&nbsp;"Buffett rule" &mdash; inspired by billionaire Warren Buffett, who argues that it's unfair that he pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. (In addition to the many "deductions, credits, and loopholes" in the tax code, millionaires benefit when their income is derived from investments &mdash; which are subject to a 15 percent...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffMon, 19 Sep 2011 09:14:00 -0400The controversy over taxing corporations<img src="" /></P><p><strong>How much tax do corporations pay?</strong><br />In theory, their top tax rate is 35 percent &mdash; one of the highest in the world. In reality, most U.S. companies pay far less by exploiting tax breaks and loopholes. Of the 500 major companies in the S&amp;P 500 stock index, 115 paid a tax rate of less than 20 percent over the past five years. Nearly 40 paid less than 10 percent. Boeing, for example, paid 4.5 percent in taxes on its profits over the past five years, Southwest Airlines paid 6.3 percent, and Yahoo paid 7 percent, according to research firm Capital IQ. General Electric, one of America's largest...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 26 Aug 2011 14:35:00 -0400Are taxes actually too low?<img src="" /></P><p>Ever since the anti-tax Tea Party became a Republican kingmaker, the idea of raising taxes has been political poison in Washington. But when you look at the broadest measure of the U.S. tax rate &mdash; total federal revenues as a share of the nation's gross domestic product &mdash; "federal taxes are at their lowest level in more than 60 years," says former Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett in <em>The New York Times</em>. Republicans are still fighting hard to bring taxes down. Should we be talking about nudging them higher instead?<br /><br /><strong>Raising taxes wouldn't hurt:</strong> Taxes <em>are</em> low, says Mark Thoma at <em>Economist's...</em></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffWed, 01 Jun 2011 11:22:00 -0400