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New Analysis Confirms High-Income Taxpayers Benefit from “Middle Class” Tax Cuts

July 13, 2012

The debate over President Bush’s income tax cuts has again revealed a common misunderstanding about how the income tax works.  As Kevin Drum of Mother Jones and...

Tax Policy Center Analysis Shows Tax Reform Trap May Lie Ahead

July 11, 2012

How hard is it to cut tax preferences, like the mortgage interest deduction and the exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance, to pay for lower tax rates?  Very hard, an excellent new analysis from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) shows.

For example, we’d have to...

Avoiding the Tax Reform Trap

June 8, 2012

Tax reform, an issue that’s receiving growing attention in Washington, holds promise.  But as we explain in a new paper we released today, reform may also bring serious risks:

Policymakers are increasingly discussing the need for tax reform, with a number of them calling for large cuts in tax...

Beware the Tax Reform Trap

May 24, 2012

Howard Gleckman of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center has a mostly positive take on former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin’s proposed four-step path to tax reform.  Those steps (as Gleckman describes them) are, in order:

  1. Recognize that the U.S. will have a
  2. ...

If Jobs are the Goal, It’s an Easy Choice for the Senate

May 11, 2012

The Senate is soon expected to consider competing proposals to cut taxes on small businesses, with the goal of creating jobs.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has made it easy for the Senate to choose the option that’s most likely to do so. Late last year, CBO estimated how a...

An Easy Call on How to Pay for Student Loan Plan

April 30, 2012

Policymakers across the political aisle agree that we should avoid the sharp increase in interest rates on student loans scheduled for July 1, but that consensus falls apart when it comes to how to pay for the proposal.

It shouldn’t.  This should be an easy call.


Top Ten Federal Tax Charts

April 17, 2012

In recognition of Tax Day, we’ve collected our top ten charts related to federal taxes.  Together, they provide useful context for the coming debates about how to reduce soaring budget deficits and reform the tax code.

Our first chart, below, reminds us what taxes pay for:  three-fifths of federal spending goes for national defense, Social Security, and major health...

Thinking About Tax Policy, Part 5: Three Good First Steps

April 16, 2012

After decades of sharp increases in income inequality and dramatic tax cuts at the top, the case for reversing course and raising taxes at the top is overwhelming.  That’s especially true given the sacrifices that policymakers will likely ask of Americans of modest means to help reduce long-term deficits.  Below are three good first steps:

  1. Sunset the high-end
  2. ...

Thinking About Tax Policy, Part 4: Ryan Plan a Costly Step in the Wrong Direction

April 13, 2012

This series has explained why we need to raise more revenue and why it makes sense to start at the top of the income scale.  The budget from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan goes in exactly the opposite direction — it would cut taxes deeply at the top and raise even less revenue than...

Ryan Budget Would Raise Some Taxes; Guess Who Gets Hit?

April 12, 2012

You’ve undoubtedly heard lots about how House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan would give millionaires an average $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on top of the $129,000 apiece they would get from Ryan’s call to extend President Bush’s tax cuts. Have you also heard, however, that he wants to raise taxes for some other Americans?  Want to guess who would bear the brunt of his...