March 15, 2013 |
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.
October 1, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- Taking the country over the “fiscal cliff” would cost American households $3,500 in higher taxes next year, on average, if Congress and the White House fail to reach agreement to stop automatic rate changes, according to a report released Monday. Almost 90% of Americans would see their taxes rise through a combination of higher rates on incomes and investments, and the loss of certain tax breaks, including some enacted as part of President Obama's stimulus program that are set to expire.
November 21, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - A potential casualty of the "fiscal cliff" standoff is the ability of Congress to adjust an outdated tax code provision that could significantly boost what millions of middle-income households owe to the government.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'?
October 4, 2013 |
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.
September 12, 2012 |
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.
October 4, 2012 |
Was it the natural tendency of old campaigners to play it safe in the opening quarter? Or the tendency of longtime adversaries to score points off each other rather than illuminate their differences? Or was it that the issues on which the presidential campaign will turn are so complicated - the economy, taxation, healthcare - that it's a challenge for anyone to make them accessible for average listeners? Whatever the reason, Wednesday night's initial debate between President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, provided red meat for wonks, but perhaps not so much for voters.
November 20, 2009 |
Amid all of the uncertainties about how healthcare legislation would affect each American, one thing is clear: The more affluent would pay higher taxes. Embracing the progressive -- and sometimes politically risky -- principle that the cost of carrying out public policies should fall to the well-off more than the disadvantaged, both the House and Senate bills would place new taxes on the wealthy to help pay for expanded insurance coverage. But the bills differ on who counts as rich and how much they would pay. Under the House bill, couples with more than $1 million in income would pay an additional surtax of as much as 5.4%.
December 6, 2012 |
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.
November 2, 2008 |
As Americans head to the polls, they carry their deep fears about the economy coupled with the weight of dire warnings about the potential economic fallout of an Obama or McCain presidency. Democrat Barack Obama is accused of having a "socialist agenda," and Republican John McCain allegedly wants to further enrich "millionaires and billionaires." To listen to the campaigns, the risks for ordinary Americans are extraordinary. The heated rhetoric is tapping into more than politics as usual.
April 13, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - As President Obama mounts an aggressive campaign on what he calls tax fairness, his own tax burden has fallen to the lowest of his time in the White House, lower than many who make far less - including his secretary. The president and first lady reported a joint adjusted gross income of $789,674 last year and paid $162,074 in federal taxes, or about 20.5%, according to the tax return released Friday by the White House. That income keeps the Obamas in the top 1% of taxpayers.