Focus on Tax Policy

Focus on Tax Policy

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On March 9, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on spending through the tax code.

On March 8, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on tax reform. Testifying were Alan Auerbach of the University of California, Berkeley; R. Glenn Hubbard of Columbia University; James K. Galbraith of the University of Texas, Austin; and Michael Graetz of Columbia Law School.

In a March 8 commentary, John Tamny of the Cato Institute advocated a gross receipts tax in lieu of the corporate income tax. Note: This idea has been consistently rejected by economists because businesses with large sales and low profit margins such as grocery stores would be very heavily taxed, while those with low sales but high profit margins such as jewelry stores would pay very little. A 2007 Tax Foundation report found “no sensible case” for such a tax.

On March 7, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report on the increasingly sophisticated methods businesses are using to evade cigarette taxes.

In a March 4 commentary, Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center said that the biggest barrier to corporate tax reform may be that most businesses are not organized as corporations and therefore would have nothing to gain.

Also on March 4, the Internal Revenue Service posted the latest edition of its periodic report on frivolous legal arguments for not paying income taxes.

On March 3, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the impact of tax reform on small businesses.

A March 2 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 81 percent of people would support a surtax on millionaires to help reduce the budget deficit, and 68 percent would support eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000.

On March 1, the Joint Committee on Taxation published a report on the concept and history of tax expenditures.

On February 24, the Tax Policy Center posted new data on the distributional effects of repealing the mortgage interest deduction.

I last posted items on this topic on March 3.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Imposter: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.