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December 7, 2005 | Joel Havemann, Times Staff Writer
The tax-cut debate in Congress resumes today as a contest between the merely rich and the super-rich. Congressional leaders are working on a way to make winners out of both. The Senate has passed a bill that, in the most costly of its many provisions, would include one more year of relief from the alternative minimum tax, which was added to the tax code in 1969 to prevent the wealthy from sheltering most of their income.
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BUSINESS
October 4, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
It happens every time: Republicans and Democrats get into a standoff over the federal budget, and their best plan for wriggling out of it is to nickel-and-dime people on Social Security and Medicare. The worst zombie in this package, a terrible idea that simply won't die, is the "chained CPI. " This is a version of the consumer price index that purportedly yields a more "accurate" reading of inflation, which is supposed to be virtuous because Social Security recipients get a cost-of-living increase every year based on inflation.
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NEWS
October 3, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro
Mitt Romney made two claims about his tax plan that deserve scrutiny: That it would not lower the tax burden on upper-income households and would not add $5 trillion to the debt over the decade. Romney's proposed tax changes would work like this: He would cut income tax rates by 20% across the tax brackets and eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividends for those earning less than $200,000; but to avoid lost revenue - keeping the plan "revenue neutral" - he calls for closing tax loopholes and deductions enjoyed by upper-income households.
BUSINESS
October 3, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Mickey Kaus, the neoliberal (whatever that is) blogger from L.A.'s Westside, writes in the Daily Caller that he has just discovered he had no taxed income last year. "I am the 47%," he declares, referring to Mitt Romney's celebrated rant about non-tax-paying Obama voters. On this shallow foundation he erects a towering thought-edifice about whether and why Americans who pay no taxes are pro-government, as dictated by Republican "makers vs. takers" dogma.  When your adjusted gross income falls, "suddenly all sorts of deductions and breaks seem to open up to virtually guarantee that you pay no tax," Kaus observes.
BUSINESS
September 18, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
WASHINGTON -- Many of the people criticized by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for not paying income taxes actually do pay taxes -- specifically the federal payroll tax, the independent Tax Policy Center said. And nearly half of those who do not pay federal income taxes are elderly, the group found in an analysis last year. About 46.4% of households paid no income tax in 2011, according to a breakdown by the center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.
NEWS
December 13, 2011 | By Kim Geiger
Newt Gingrich's proposed tax plan would cut federal revenue by nearly $1.3 trillion, or 35%, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Much like Texas Gov. Rick Perry's plan, Gingrich proposes to let taxpayers choose if they want to calculate their tax using the current code, or a flat 15% rate. (Perry's plan gave the option of a 20% flat rate.) Because the plan allows taxpayers to choose how they want to calculate what they owe, nobody would be worse off. But, as was the case with Perry's plan, the idea that taxpayers would have to calculate their liability twice might turn some people off. The plan would do away with the Alternative Minimum Tax and most deductions and credits, but would keep deductions for mortgage interest and charitable gifts and the earned income, child and foreign tax credits.
BUSINESS
January 2, 2013 | By Alana Semuels
Americans may be breathing a deep sigh of relief that Congress resolved the so-called fiscal cliff crisis for the time being - until they see their next pay stubs. That's because payroll taxes will increase on most workers after Congress decided not to reverse an expiration of a payroll tax cut - a development that was largely expected. Payroll taxes rose to 6.2% under the deal, from 4.2% last year. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that 77% of Americans will see higher taxes because of the elimination of the payroll tax cut, meaning $115 billion less in disposable income.
BUSINESS
September 12, 2012 | By Walter Hamilton and Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Help wealthy people dodge taxes. Go to prison. And cap it off by getting $104 million for ratting out your former clients to the IRS. In one of the largest whistle-blower cases in U.S. history, the federal government is paying that amount to a globe-trotting banker who once smuggled a client's diamonds in a toothpaste tube to avoid detection by tax authorities. The financier, Bradley Birkenfeld, later confessed his transgressions and helped the Internal Revenue Service nab thousands of Americans who had stashed money overseas to avoid paying taxes.
OPINION
March 22, 2013 | By Aspen Gorry and Sita Nataraj Slavov
In proclaiming March as Women's History Month, President Obama stated that "too many women feel the weight of discrimination on their shoulders. " Liberals often make this claim, citing the fact that women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, and call for stronger protection against gender-based discrimination by employers. Conservatives typically respond by pointing out that men and women tend to make different choices about occupation, working hours and whether to take time off from the labor force.
OPINION
August 2, 2012
Politicians on both sides of the partisan divide want to simplify the federal tax code by pruning the thicket of loopholes, exemptions and credits. In fact, President Obama and his presumptive Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have both promised to seek tax simplification if elected in November. A new study by three fiscal policy experts, however, shows that if simplification is coupled with a deep cut in rates, as Romney has proposed, lower- and middle-income Americans would have to pay more in taxes just to keep the same amount of revenue flowing into the Treasury.
OPINION
March 22, 2013 | By Aspen Gorry and Sita Nataraj Slavov
In proclaiming March as Women's History Month, President Obama stated that "too many women feel the weight of discrimination on their shoulders. " Liberals often make this claim, citing the fact that women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, and call for stronger protection against gender-based discrimination by employers. Conservatives typically respond by pointing out that men and women tend to make different choices about occupation, working hours and whether to take time off from the labor force.
NEWS
March 15, 2013 | By Jon Healey
The House and Senate budget committees presented their fiscal 2014 budget proposals this week with sharply different story lines. For House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the point of the exercise was to chart a path to a balanced budget that could be sustained for decades. For Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), it was all about reviving the economy and spurring middle-class growth to bring the deficit under control. Strip away the rhetoric, though, and you'll find that both plans have the same basic elements -- you might even say they both lay the groundwork for the long-elusive grand bargain.
BUSINESS
January 3, 2013 | By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times
Robert Briones weathered the downturn in the economy well, working more than he needed, going on a vacation to Norway with his family and eating out at lunch from time to time. But even the 48-year-old psychologist can't escape the latest blow to consumers' finances: a tax increase that will affect an estimated 160 million workers. As part of the deal on the so-called fiscal cliff, Congress extended tax breaks for middle-income families but did not extend a payroll tax cut that was set to expire this year.
BUSINESS
January 2, 2013 | By Alana Semuels
Americans may be breathing a deep sigh of relief that Congress resolved the so-called fiscal cliff crisis for the time being - until they see their next pay stubs. That's because payroll taxes will increase on most workers after Congress decided not to reverse an expiration of a payroll tax cut - a development that was largely expected. Payroll taxes rose to 6.2% under the deal, from 4.2% last year. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that 77% of Americans will see higher taxes because of the elimination of the payroll tax cut, meaning $115 billion less in disposable income.
NEWS
December 6, 2012 | By Michael Muskal
Republicans and Democrats are wrestling with a variety of riddles that have come to be known as the fiscal cliff, a double whammy of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled for the start of the new year. Here is a primer on unraveling the knotty political and economic threads. What exactly is the fiscal cliff? The term refers to a combination of forced cuts and tax increases worth more than $500 billion. The best-known parts are the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and the automatic across-the-board cuts to federal spending.
BUSINESS
November 21, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - A potential casualty of the "fiscal cliff" standoff is the ability of Congress to adjust an outdated tax code provision that could significantly boost what millions of middle-income households owe to the government. The provision, called the alternative minimum tax, or AMT, was enacted in 1969 to make sure that the very wealthy paid some income tax. But the threshold for the usually higher tax was not indexed for inflation, and it threatens each year to ensnare millions of people it was never intended to catch - prompting the annual congressional fix. Quiz: How much do you know about the 'fiscal cliff'?
NEWS
October 11, 2012 | By Christi Parsons
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- President Obama cast the “new, latest version of Mitt Romney” as a salesman simply softening his image in an effort to close the deal with voters. After running in a Republican primary in which Romney called himself “severely conservative,” Obama said Thursday, “he's trying to convince you that he was severely kidding.” “He's trying to go through an extreme makeover,” Obama told a crowd in the basketball stadium at the University of Miami. As for analyses that estimate Romney's plans to cut taxes would cost close to $5 trillion, Obama said, the Republican nominee for president “just pretends it doesn't exist.” “'What $5-trillion tax cut?
NEWS
September 18, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- When Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney complained that 47% of Americans don't pay income taxes, he tapped into an increasingly common GOP criticism of the nation's current tax code. Congressional Republicans have long complained that nearly half the country does not pay income taxes -- a group they are targeting as lawmakers consider an overhaul of the tax code next year. GOP leaders have repeatedly said that all Americans should pay their fair share - “have some skin in the game,” as Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, has said , even if it's just $1. “More Than Half of U.S. Households Did Not Pay Any Income Tax in 2009,” read the news release headline from Sen. Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, as he testified at a tax hearing earlier this Congress.
NEWS
October 18, 2012 | By David Lauter and Lisa Mascaro, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
In this week's presidential debate, Mitt Romney fleshed out an idea he had previously mentioned briefly as a way to pay for his proposed tax cuts - setting a cap on itemized deductions. “I'm going to bring rates down across the board for everybody, but I'm going to limit deductions and exemptions and credits, particularly for people at the high end,” the Republican presidential nominee said. “One way of doing that would be to say everybody gets - I'll pick a number - $25,000 of deductions and credits.
NEWS
October 11, 2012 | By Christi Parsons
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- President Obama cast the “new, latest version of Mitt Romney” as a salesman simply softening his image in an effort to close the deal with voters. After running in a Republican primary in which Romney called himself “severely conservative,” Obama said Thursday, “he's trying to convince you that he was severely kidding.” “He's trying to go through an extreme makeover,” Obama told a crowd in the basketball stadium at the University of Miami. As for analyses that estimate Romney's plans to cut taxes would cost close to $5 trillion, Obama said, the Republican nominee for president “just pretends it doesn't exist.” “'What $5-trillion tax cut?
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