Internal Revenue Service
Should we promote public health by providing extra funds for HIV prevention, cancer screening, flu vaccination, and the like? Or should we zero out these funds in order to repeal a small health reform provision that clamps down on rampant tax evasion? That’s the choice Congress is likely to face next week.
[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] One of the least suspenseful decisions in Washington became official today when President Obama named Austan Goolsbee to be the chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers. Goolsbee, who’s on leave from the University of Chicago, is a longtime Obama adviser currently serving as a member of the three-person Council.
Last week was an active one for America’s stealth anti-poverty policy--the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)--though you’d be forgiven for not noticing. A couple of decisions, made with little fanfare, should have big implications for how low-income taxpayers receive the credit in the future. The first development was a little disappointing. After a more than 30-year run, Congress seems poised to do away with the Advance EITC, to help offset a new round of federal aid to states. The Advance EITC is a little-used mechanism by which workers can get a portion of their expected EITC through their p
Note: Here is my latest column for Kaiser Health News. The effort to repeal health care reform, all in one fell swoop, seems to be stalling. Instead, the opponents of reform are trying to dismantle it piece by piece. The latest effort came last week, when a group of Republicans in the Senate proposed abolishing the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Last week, USA Today published a story about all the "ordinary folks" who might get hit with the estate tax. A $1 million exemption would affect a lot of families that are well out of Steinbrenner's league. "You take a home, an IRA or 401(k) retirement account, some other savings and you get to $1 million pretty easily," says Richard Behrendt, senior estate planner for Robert W. Baird and a former IRS attorney. Families who live in areas with high property values are particularly vulnerable, says Clint Stretch, tax principal for Deloitte Tax who lives outside Washington, D.C.
Washington–Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid? Start with taxes. In every other serious democracy, conservative political parties feel at least some obligation to match their tax policies with their spending plans. David Cameron, the new Conservative prime minister in Britain, is a leading example. He recently offered a rather brutal budget that includes severe cutbacks.
Click here to read Margo Howard’s assessment of the opening statements in the Blagojevich trial and here to read about the craziness that occurred during the first round of closing statements. Click here for her first, second, third, and fourth dispatches from the actual trial. Oh, thank goodness Sam Adam, Jr. has returned to deliver the defense’s closing, even after Judge Zagel impugned his legal masculinity at the end of the last session.
Is "one-world government," whereby the United States would cede all sovereignty to a manipulative international force, a real threat to the country? Republican leaders in many states seem to think so: The platforms they've written this year explicitly ban it. This is just one example of the kind of language that's working its way into state Republican platforms this election cycle, perhaps thanks to the growing influence of Tea Party conservatives. TNR searched for some of the most outrageous planks out there.
Items worth reading from around the web: Comings and goings: Forbes magazine has a nifty online tool that shows county migration patterns based on IRS data. The numbers are from 2008, however, and don’t take into full account the migration stagnation that has occurred since the onset of the recession. One thing that probably remains true is the status of Texas as a migration magnet--click on Harris (Houston), Travis (Austin), and Dallas counties--due to its relatively decent economic performance over the last year.
It's not very often you see a political party shoot itself in the foot by nominating an obviously terrible candidate when better alternatives are available. One exception is the Illinois Democrats, who turned what should be a safe seat into a competitive one by nominating Alex Giannoulias, whose family bank went under, for Senate. (Giannoulias hilariously said he would answer questions about the bank only after the primary, and Democratic voters even more hilariously decided to nominate him anyway.) But the nomination of Republican Sharron Angle for Senate in Nevada stands on its own.