In a Project Syndicate piece, former Chairman of President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors Martin Feldstein reminds us about another idea to raise revenue from tax expenditures. Instead of going through each preference and figuring out the best course of action, it might be effective--and potentially politically easier--to cap the overall benefits taxpayers receive from tax expenditures.
When we talk about tax reform which lowers the rate and broadens the base, the base-broadening portion of the equation usally focuses on tax expenditures. These deductions, exclusions, credits, and special rates are considered a departure from the normal tax code, and so a number of proposals have focused on reducing or eliminating them.
Two new Third Way papers by David Brown, Gabe Horwitz, David Kendall together present an arguement that we have been making for a while now—that the only way to fix our deficit is with a plan that looks at both revenue increases and spending cuts. Third Way explores both relying on a revenue-only approach (specifically taxing the rich), and then a spending only approach, with the results being not so good.
Today, the third forum of the "Strengthening of America—Our Children's Future" series was held in New York City on "The Challenges of Pro-Growth Tax Reform." Commenting on taxes as well as our unsustainable debt path were two panels; the first featuring notable economists Martin Feldstein and Lawrence Summers, while the second made up of business leaders—Honeywell CEO and Fiscal Commission member David Cote, CEO of SEI and Chairma
Efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions have fallen out of favor since the attempted passage of a cap-and-trade program in 2009 and 2010. Still, the idea of a carbon tax or cap-and-trade remains out there as a way to both curb GHGs and raise revenue. A new Congressional Research Service (CRS) report discusses the pros and cons of a carbon tax and how it would impact households, the economy, and the debt.
In our newest paper, "Reforming the Corporate Tax Code," CRFB makes the case for why the U.S. needs to reform the corporate tax code, discussing its high marginal rates, its incredible complexity, and its relative inefficiency. Using data from the OECD highlighted in our paper, we can see how the U.S. stacks up with other countries.
If you've ever wanted to design your own corporate tax reform, now you can with our new Interactive Tax Reform Calculator.
There is no question that the U.S. corporate tax system is badly in need of reform, and leaders in both parties have been pursuing this goal.
Last week, we featured a piece by CRFB Senior Policy Director Marc Goldwein discussing one option to reduce tax rates while maintaining progressitivity and raising $1 trillion in revenue: eliminating the special rates for capital gains along with other deductions. In theory, a lower tax on capital gains might be preferred in order to incentivize savings.
POLITICO reported earlier in the week that the estate tax debate is re-emerging as the expiration of the 2001/2003/2010 tax cuts looms. The estate tax is only one small part of the extension of the 2010 tax cut, yet it appears to be one where the debate is the most jumbled. The two-year extension of the expiring tax cuts back in 2010 set the estate tax exemption at $5 million for 2011, indexed it for inflation (in 2012, it is $5.12 million), and set the top tax rate at 35 percent.
Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee and te Senate Finance Committee held a joint hearing on tax reform and the tax treatment of capital gains. Base broadening tax reform with the payoff of lower rates is one of the key components of both the Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin plans. But in order to get the lower rates in a fiscally responsible way, everything must be on the table, and that includes capital gains.