off the charts

You are here

Just the Basics: Where Our Federal Tax Dollars Go

April 7, 2014

As Tax Day approaches, we’ve updated several backgrounders that explain how the federal government and states collect and spend our tax dollars.  As policymakers and citizens weigh key decisions on how best to shape our future federal government, it’s helpful to examine where the dollars that comprise the budget come from and where they go.


Want to Help Kids Using Tax Code? Don’t Exclude Working Poor Families

April 3, 2014

The New York Times’ latest “Room for Debate” feature asks whether people without children should subsidize tax breaks for the costs that parents bear.

In my...

Camp Tax Reform Plan Likely Means Bigger Deficits After First Decade

February 26, 2014

House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp is touting Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates showing that his new tax reform plan is revenue neutral over ten years and would boost economic growth.  But, the Camp plan uses timing shifts, phase-ins of tax-rate cuts, and other maneuvers to achieve revenue neutrality in the initial decade.  It quite likely would lose revenue in later...

Striking New Studies Show EITC Boosts College Enrollment

February 21, 2014

We’ve previously highlighted research showing that the Earned Income tax Credit (EITC) encourages work — particularly among single mothers — and that children whose families get more income from the credit tend to do better in school.  Now, two new working papers strengthen the case that the EITC helps children from low- and moderate-...

State of the Union Tax Roundup

January 29, 2014

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama mentioned a number of tax policies we’ve written about.  Here are some key facts and resources about four topics he discussed.

Corporate tax reform
The President highlighted that the current tax code creates incentives for companies to keep profits offshore, and he reiterated his previous calls for corporate tax...

The Basics of Tax Breaks, Explained

December 4, 2013

Federal policymakers are considering options for reforming the tax code, including scaling back or eliminating credits, deductions, and exemptions.  We explain the basics of these subsidies, known as tax expenditures, in a new...

Watch Out for Individual Tax Reform Timing Gimmicks

October 31, 2013

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has said he will unveil tax reform legislation by the end of this year that he aims to be “revenue-neutral.”  But, a revenue-neutral package would be inadequate because tax reform should generate...

GOP Senators Revive Fake Offset for Medical Device Tax

October 11, 2013

Republican Senators Collins, Murkowski, and Ayotte are reportedly pushing to repeal health reform’s medical device tax — which helps pay for extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans — as part of the price for reopening the government.  As we explained...

Proposed Offset for Medical Device Tax Can’t Offset Anything — It’s a Timing Gimmick

October 3, 2013

Update, October 11:  We’ve updated this post.

House Republicans have demanded, as part of their price for allowing the government to reopen, that policymakers repeal health reform’s...

The Trickle-Down Economics of Tax Cuts for Multinationals’ Foreign Profits

June 19, 2013

Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) asked a witness at a Ways and Means hearing last week how the United States would benefit if policymakers cut taxes on U.S. multinational corporations’ overseas profits to encourage them to bring the profits to the U.S.

The witness — Paul Oosterhuis, an international...