Tax Rascal

The Other Big Election 2008 News

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Although most people were paying closer attention to the Presidential election, some local votes might have a bigger impact in the long run:


Should There be a Tax Credit for Voting?

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Many people (the Tax Rascal included) have gotten up painfully early today to cast votes in this historic election. It’s a common argument that the voting process is flawed because voting happens on a day when most people would be working — so Democrats argue that it punishes students and blue-collar workers, while Republicans claim that it helps out welfare recipients. Both sides also argue that civic participation has value, regardless of who wins. So should we have a tax credit for voting?

The opposite idea has already been tried, and thoroughly discredited. One popular technique in the segregated South was to require a poll tax. This flat fee charged to every voter discouraged the poor — and was designed … Read more...

Joe the Plumber: Taxes and Swing Votes

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Joe Wurzelbacher might think twice about getting involved in politics again. A week ago, Joe the Plumber was just another plumber. Now he is the Joe the Plumber, a more important political topic than the War in Iraq, and a more sensitive debate subject than abortion or gay marriage.

How did Joe the Plumber find his way into the spotlight? First, he happened to be named ‘Joe’: every candidate wants a less insulting, more family-friendly replacement for “Joe Sixpack,” and Joe the Plumber is definitely it. But more importantly, he touched on a crucial issue: what are the long-term effects of the Obama and McCain tax plans?

In the video that made him famous, Joe sounds like his mind … Read more...

Race Car Champs, Prostitutes, Biden, Palin, and Other Tax Miscreants

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Today’s taxosphere is still busy digesting the new bailout, but there’s plenty of other business to discuss. A pair of high-profile tax evasion cases have gotten some attention, the credit crisis is considered in more detail, and the Biden/Palin vice-presidential debate features some gaffes on both sides.


The Candidates, Compared: Health Care Taxes

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As part of their Presidential campaigns, Barack Obama and John McCain have both proposed serious revisions to health care taxes. Since health care is a large and growing expense, and one subject to fairly Byzantine tax treatment, it’s interesting to consider how each candidate’s proposals will affect the average taxpayer.

Obama’s proposal calls for grafting some new systems onto our existing health care system: in addition to employer-provided plans, he would offer extra guarantees for children. He’d also create a Federal insurance program offering a minimal level of coverage, and require that all health plans meet the same minimum criteria as the national option. This proposal would also require insurers to either provide insurance for their employees or pay into … Read more...


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