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Why Revenue-Neutral Tax Reform Would Be a Big Mistake

January 8, 2013

With the “fiscal cliff” budget deal behind us, congressional Republicans leaders say they’re done raising revenues.  They likely will push this year for “revenue-neutral” tax reform, meaning it would raise the same amount of revenue as the current tax...

Disparate Treatment: Permanent, Million-Dollar Estate-Tax Breaks for Wealthy Heirs Vs. Temporary Tax Credit Improvements for Low-Income Working Families

January 4, 2013

One of the most disappointing parts of this week’s budget deal is its disparate treatment of a lavish estate tax break for the nation’s wealthiest heirs as compared to several tax credit improvements for low-income working families.

On one hand, the new law makes permanent most of a large tax cut from 2010 for the estates of the wealthiest Americans.  Republican negotiators initially...

Budget Deal Gives New Tax Cut to Wealthy – And Pretends It’s a Tax Increase

January 2, 2013

The new budget deal delays the across-the-board spending cuts (or “sequestration”) for two months — and covers half of the resulting $24 billion cost through spending cuts and half through tax increases.  This 50-50 balance between spending cuts and revenue increases marks an important principle that policymakers should follow in producing the additional long-term deficit reduction that the...

The Next Act: Further Deficit Reduction Must Include a Mix of Revenues and Spending Cuts

January 2, 2013

The revenue increases in the new budget deal (the American Taxpayers Relief Act, or ATRA), coupled with the large cuts in discretionary spending that policymakers enacted in 2011, will achieve more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years.  That’s a substantial amount, but it’s not enough to stabilize the country’s debt as a share of the economy over the decade ahead.  To...

A Bonanza for Scrooge, But a Lump of Coal for Tiny Tim

December 20, 2012

Taken together, the tax and budget bills that the House will vote on tonight are extraordinary in their reach and their potential impact — providing massive new tax cuts to people with incomes over $1 million and the heirs of the wealthiest Americans, and cutting deeply into basic assistance and services for millions of our poorest and most vulnerable people.  That the House is debating these...

The Chained CPI: A Response to Robert Kuttner

December 19, 2012

The President’s decision to include, in his latest “fiscal cliff” offer to House Speaker John Boehner, a proposal to use the “chained Consumer Price Index” in calculating both annual cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and other benefits and annual inflation adjustments to various features of the tax code (such as the incomes at which tax brackets begin and end) is...

The Misinformed Attack on Medicaid Provider Taxes

December 10, 2012

With the “fiscal cliff” approaching and policy decisions pending on a wide array of budgetary fronts, the risk is growing that policymakers could adopt changes that affect millions of people based on limited understanding, or even misunderstanding, of the proposals’ impacts — especially on people at the bottom of the economic scale or otherwise vulnerable or frail.

One example involves...

New Toomey Plan Not a Useful Step Toward a Compromise Deficit Agreement

July 26, 2012

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) this week outlined what he described as a compromise deficit-reduction proposal that includes significant revenues.  The reality is very nearly the opposite.
The Toomey proposal includes only modest revenues, and it then...

Don’t Blame the Safety Net

May 10, 2012

Federal spending on low-income programs has gone up considerably in recent years, a development discussed at a recent House Budget Committee hearing.  A new CBPP analysis examines why and explains that low-income programs outside of health care are not a factor in our serious long-term budget problems.  Here’s the opening:...

Senator Toomey’s Tax Plan Can’t Do Everything That He Says It Does

February 16, 2012

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) pounced on CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this week when she raised findings from an analysis that CBPP issued last fall of the tax plan that the Senator proposed to the congressional “Supercommittee.”  Senator Toomey asserted that a finding that O’Brien cited — that his tax plan would raise taxes on people making less than $200,000 — was “factually wrong and ridiculous.”...