Tax Rascal

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Categories: Featured, Politics, Tax News, Tax Policy

The gay marriage debate extends all the way to the tax code

President Barack Obama’s surprise announcement last week of his support for gay marriage has the whole country talking about either the equality or sanctity of marriage, depending on your political perspective.

Though the President’s announcement has no practical effect on government policy, it has exposed the shifting fault lines in America’s culture wars. Since 1996, when Congress and President Clinton passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage exclusively as the legal union of one man and one woman, public opinion has changed across the political spectrum. As Slate observes,

Democrats, who initially opposed gay marriage and then were evenly divided, are gradually uniting in favor


Tax Return Transparency Blues

Categories: Featured, Politics

Mitt Romney may have released his tax returns, but there’s more than one lesson he can learn from the legacy of George Romney

Just before his South Carolina shellacking by a thrice-resurrected Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney fielded a question during a debate about whether he would release his tax returns. Romney hemmed and hawed around an actual answer:

“At the very beginning, I indicated that I didn’t have any plans to release my tax returns and then it became clear that that was of great interest to everyone… There was such an interest in tax returns, I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.’ Hadn’t planned on doing it, but there’s interest, so I said I will release the tax returns


Rick Santorum: Oh So Clever and Classless and Free

Categories: Featured, Politics

The rise of Rick Santorum forces Republicans to confront some uncomfortable truths

Put aside Rick Santorum’s opposition to contraception, which he has described as “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

Put aside the not-so-subtle racism of his declaration, “I don’t want to make black peoples’ lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”

Put aside his assertion that the right to privacy “doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution,” blaming it for the evils of the sexual revolution, contraception, abortion, and now gay marriage.

Put aside his opposition to the Supreme Court decision that overturned state sodomy laws, claiming it … Read more...

Circus Republicanus

Categories: Featured, Politics, Tax Policy

The Republican contest staggers towards its first showdown in Iowa

Imagine if you will a latter day Rip Van Winkle awaking from a three month slumber only to be coarsely thrust in the front row at the latest of these endlessly recurring Republican debates.

Having shaken the cobwebs from his befogged head and readied it for the battering, he would surely be astonished to find that during his absence the former speaker of House, the dishonorable Newt Gingrich, had, if only for a short spell, managed to float well above his competitors in polls nationwide.

True, our Rip would have been spared the far-fetched, frankly bizarre drama of the intervening months. He will have thankfully avoided the grim spectacle of Read more...

Newt Doth Bestride the Narrow World Like a Colossus

Categories: Featured, Politics

One World-Historical Figure’s 2012 Campaign to Transform America, Fundamentally

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Newt Gingrich, “advocate of civilization,” “arouser of those who form civilization,” and “leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces,” (his words, not mine) is on a mission to fundamentally and profoundly transform America.

Newt has never been shy about his grand ambitions. “I want to shift the entire planet,” he declared to the Washington Post way back in 1985, “And I’m doing it.” Newt sees himself as “a transformational figure,” … Read more...

In Wake of Super Committee Collapse, is a Sea Change in store for the GOP?

Categories: Economy, Featured, Politics, Tax Policy

Former Senator Judd Gregg articulates an evolving Republican position on debt and taxes

As Tax Rascal predicted, the super committee’s negotiations failed. After months of dramatic, closed-door democracy, the panel of twelve congressmen came up empty handed.

No one was surprised.

Still, it may not have been all in vain. Of notable significance, not to say a foreshadowing of a potential sea change in Republican fiscal policy, was republican senators Toomey and Hensarling’s willingness to “raise revenue” – aka raise taxes…

And alarm bells of change are now sounding from other corners too.

Judd Gregg, a former Republican governor and senator who served as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee from 2005 to 2007, has been articulating an evolving Read more...

Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan is Flat but Not in the Way You’d Think

Categories: Economy, Featured, Politics, Tax Policy

Mitt Romney is betting on a boring tax plan to keep him ahead of the pack in 2012

There was a time when tax policy actually had the starring role in the 2012 Republican Presidential race.

That was before Sharon Bialek dolled up for the hungry cameras, while her attention-grubbing attorney punned lamely about “stimulus packages”, and related the tale of citizen Cain slipping a hand up her skirt and pulling her head toward his crotch.

That was also before Rick Perry fumbled the presidential pigskin once again as he let the Department of Energy slip from his addled brain with an epically infantile “Oops”.

All anyone could talk about then were Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan and Perry’s optional Read more...

Super Committee Kicks Debate over U.S. Debt from Frying Pan into Fire

Categories: Economy, Featured, Politics

The super committee deadline draws near. Congress looks no closer to a compromise

The drama on Capital Hill ratchets up this week as the super committee nears the November 23 deadline by which time it must come up with $1.2 trillion in savings.

The latest development comes as Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican on the super committee, offers up a GOP plan to raise $290 billion in taxes over the next ten years. That’s not a typo: a Republican senator proposes to raise taxes.

His plan cuts deductions for mortgage interest, charitable donations, and state and local taxes, targeting those who itemize deductions for a tax hike. Hardest hit will be taxpayers in the top two income brackets, those Read more...

Obama’s New Plan: Bring Our Money Home?

Categories: Uncategorized

Barack Obama has an exciting new plan to raise revenue: make companies pay taxes on the money they earn. Okay, so it’s not new, and it’s not that exciting. But it is a little more complicated than that.

Basically, the current plan is designed to tax income earned overseas, whether or not it’s returned to the US. Right now, if Apple sells an iPod in Italy, they pay Italian taxes on their Italian income. As long as they keep the money in Italy, they don’t have to pay US income taxes on it.

  • The case for the plan is that it closes a giant loophole in the current tax scheme. And it’s not as if companies will just stop

Why a Tobacco Tax is Great News for Smokers

Categories: Uncategorized

Nobody feels more strongly about high taxes than smokers do, and with good reason: it’s incredibly easy for politicians to raise taxes on smoking, and the average non-smoker doesn’t have a lot of sympathy. So it’s no surprise that the news is full of stories about planned cigarette tax hikes.

But why is it so easy to raise taxes on smokers? Why not bottled-water drinkers, car owners, or life insurance buyers? The reason is simple: cigarettes have the combination of addictive power and brand loyalty. Very few smokers give up if the cost of their smokes goes up 10% — in fact, basically no other product has the long-term resistance to price changes.

It’s also popular among people who don’t …


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