A Washington Post article late last week detailed a number of current Republican members of Congress or Congressional candidates who are foregoing the "no new taxes" pledge circulated by Americans for Tax Reform. Signs that the seemingly ubiquitous pledge is fading in popularity are good for the purpose of getting a deal on deficit reduction that tackles all parts of the budget. Here's one example of a House candidate eschewing the pledge:
The Hill has an article today detailing infighting within the Democrats over what to do with the 2001/2003 tax cuts. The position expressed by President Obama and many Democrats for years has been to extend the tax cuts only for people making less than $250,000, but a growing contingent seems to favor upping that threshold to $1 million, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
When discussing new types of revenue or tax structures for the federal government to consider the other month, we touched on financial sector taxes as one of those options. The idea has caught on in Europe, with many countries and the European Commission proposing taxes of these sorts, although UK Prime Minister David Cameron has opposed it over concerns about its effect on growth.
Via the Washington Post, it seems that the House majority is looking at creating a fast track procedure for passing tax reform in 2013. This will enable a tax reform bill to be passed by an up-or-down vote with no amendments once it is formulated.
Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) weighs in on the impact of "taxmaggedon" in The Hill today. While the tax increases would likely lead to more revenue, he said, the sudden rise of the payroll tax, expiration of the 2001/2003 tax cuts, and other tax increases could have a devastating impact on a still weak economy. Gregg explains:
Over at Wonkblog, Sarah Kliff points out that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may contain a new "doc fix" -- only this time in Medicaid. The current "doc fix" in Medicare cancels out huge scheduled physician payment cuts as required under law by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Since it is very expensive to override the SGR permanently (about $300 billion over ten years), Congress usually just enacts temporary extensions.
Update: The House has passed the reconciliation and replacement bills by a 218-199 vote.
As the topic of tax reform will be heating up this year, five analysts from the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project have released a paper called "A Dozen Economic Facts About Tax Reform." It is certainly a useful primer on how the tax system has changed over time and the promise and difficulties involved in changing it.
Those dozen facts are: