Bush tax cuts Feed

Earlier today you read the thoughts of two of my Twitter pals, Frank Woodman and Yoenis Cespedes, on whether the name "Bush tax cuts" was still accurate or appropriate when referring to the tax rates and breaks that are set to finally expire (maybe) on Dec. 31, 2012. Now it's my turn to have the last word on the Bush tax cuts title! Bush tax cuts: slur, boast or both? Words are important. I know this from personal experience. How I put them together has been paying my bills for most of my adult life. And despite that rhyme we... Read more →

Ownership of tax rates or tax cuts

Welcome to the continuation of a weekend Twitter conversation about the name "Bush tax cuts." On Saturday, some of us tax and word nerds exchanged semantics and policy views on what to call the tax rates and breaks that are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012. I soon realized that this topic just couldn't be addressed properly in 140 character bursts. So I offered to provide a platform for further discussion here on the ol' blog. Two of my Twitter pals took me up on that. Below is an analysis by Yoenis Cespedes. Presidential ownership of tax rates or... Read more →

What's Bush about today's tax cuts?

Over the weekend, some of us tax folks were talking via Twitter about the Bush tax cuts. Not the specifics, but the name "Bush tax cuts." Yes, we're word nerds as well as tax nerds and do we know how to spend our days off or what? As we exchanged semantics views on what to call the tax rates and breaks that are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012, I realized that this topic just couldn't be addressed properly in 140 character bursts. So I offered to provide a platform for further discussion here on the ol' blog. Two... Read more →

Taxmageddon. There, I said (and typed) it. Yeah, it's a silly sounding word, but so is taxopocalypse and the idea of all of America lined up at the edge of a fiscal cliff. Wait, let's just picture that last hypothetical scenario for a minute, with Representatives and Senators periously close to land's end. OK, I'm back from that little fantasy. But what all these words and images try to illustrate is how serious our financial situation could become on Jan. 1, 2013. Unless federal lawmakers act, on that day a raft of expiring laws could mean higher tax rates on... Read more →

Got a tax plan? Present it! It's got as much chance of becoming law this year as the one the Senate passed on Wednesday. That's right, the U.S. Senate actually moved a piece of legislation. This is the same body that for months has fallen victim to its procedural rule that allows one side to stymie a bill's consideration because it can't muster the 60 votes required to allow for a straight yes or no vote on a specific issue. But amazingly, yesterday the Republicans didn't fight the vote on the Democrats' tax proposal. Wider tax vote implications: Don't plan... Read more →

Ah, politicians. Talking is one of the key parts of their jobs, both getting into office and staying there. But sometimes a simple word can be so troubling. Too many of us greatly misunderestimated Dubya's ability with malapropisms. Then there was the infamous attempt by Bill Clinton, usually a master of communication, to tell us what "is" is. And Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney each took stabs at whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act insurance purchase mandate is a penalty, fee or tax. Turns out it can be all three depending... Read more →

Jobs, taxes and political campaigns

Jobs and taxes are naturally linked. We pay, after all, an income tax. The connection was underscored today when Obama reiterated his commitment to raising the tax rates on higher earners; that would be individuals making $200,000 a year and families earning $250,000 annually. For everyone else making less than that, the current lower tax rates would remain. And it's no surprise that the prez's tax announcement came on the heels of flat jobs numbers. June unemployment was 8.2 percent, the same as May. In June, only 80,000 new jobs were added. It's realistic, not cynical, to note that any... Read more →

Stop me if you've heard this before. Obama is calling for tax rate hikes on America's higher earners. Oh wait. Please don't stop me. That would wipe out two-thirds of the ol' blog because Washington has been arguing over tax rates for, well, forever. In about half an hour, Obama will make his case yet again to keep the current individual income tax rates in place for most taxpayers. But the prez wants to hike the top two rates for the country's highest earners. This is not new nor is it necessarily news. Obama wants the current 10 percent, 15... Read more →

It's no secret that the very rich make up a very small percentage of America. It's also no secret that potentially bigger tax bills for the wealthy is the sticking point in the current national battle over what's to become of U.S. individual rates in 2013. Two tax policy research groups now have weighed in on the debate with calculations showing that only 1.9 percent of Americans would lose any part the current income tax cuts in 2013 under Obama's tax proposal. And that percentage is this week's By the Numbers figure. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP)... Read more →

A change in property tax payment methods and what changes are ahead for federal income taxes were the subjects of posts last week at my other tax blog. Homeowners in an Indianapolis neighborhood were hit with higher property taxes to cover a new sewer system. They got to choose whether to pay the real estate tax in full or pay it off over 30 years. A small group paid the total tax. So when the city changed the payment system and forgave the unpaid tax still owed by the installment paying homeowners, the early payers sued, seeking a refund of... Read more →

Current tax rates' continuing costs

There's no question that when tax rates are lowered, the U.S. Treasury collects less money. And everyone agrees that when taxes are cut in one place, they need to be raised somewhere, on on someone, else or spending cuts must be made. Coming up with a way to do exactly that is the issue before Congress, the White House, every candidate running for every federal office this year and all of us taxpayers. The counter below gives us an alarmingly graphic idea of how much money the current tax rates, enacted in 2001 under the Bush 43 Administration and extended... Read more →

Summer is almost here and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is getting in the spirit of the season. The nonpartisan agency of Congress that produces economic analysis and estimates of the cost of legislation just released a tax and spending cut evaluation worthy of the big-budget summer blockbusters coming soon to a movie theater near you. Although the setting is still more than half a year away, the CBO study has a title that disaster film director Michael Bay would envy: "Falling Off A Fiscal Cliff." That's how the CBO characterizes what could happen if the Bush tax cuts were... Read more →

Bush tax cuts: Would a tax break by any other name be less contentious?

Recent tax policy debate has focused on two proposals: Let the Bush tax cuts, or at least the top two rates, expire as scheduled (again) on Dec. 31 and Implement the Buffett Rule to make millionaires pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent. Although these two tax proposals are about different areas of taxation, they share one interesting component. Both are named for a person. Obama was on the road Tuesday (April 10) touting the Buffett Rule, which gets its moniker from financier Warren Buffett. The uber rich Oracle of Omaha ratcheted up the debate over how the... Read more →

The Buffett Rule is a great replacement for the alternative minimum tax

By now you've seen the highlights of Obama's fiscal 2013 budget. Depending on your fiscal and/or political leanings, it's a solid financial hybrid of stimulus and deficit reduction efforts or simply a document filled with monetary gimmicks. There is, however, one thing everyone can agree on: There's not much new in this budget. Senate Budget Committee staff member Kathleen Llewellyn (R) hands out a copy of the FY2013 Budget as it is delivered to the Senate Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on February 13, 2012. UPI/Kevin Dietsch The president has put forth most of his FY13 tax... Read more →

The president is planning to release his fiscal year 2013 budget on Monday, Feb. 13, and two tax proposals expected to be part of the plan already are under intense scrutiny. Obama's budget for the government's new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 will likely include: Continuation through calendar 2012 of the payroll tax cut set to expire on Feb. 29, and Ending the Bush tax cuts for households making more than $250,000 a year. The prez has been facing push-back from Republicans on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail for both of these. The political opposition is no surprise, especially... Read more →

It seems that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction doesn't want to wait to make Thanksgiving plans. The super committee reportedly has reconciled itself to failure and is expected to announce, possibly tomorrow, that it can't reach a debt deal. I totally understand the thinking. No need to wait until the Nov. 23 deadline if a deficit deal can't be reached. These turkeys should just go ahead and get a head start on the Turkey Day holiday. "I'm going to be waiting all day," Washington Sen. Patty Murray, Democratic co-chair of the committee said during an appearance on CNN's... Read more →

No, not that rich Seattle guy with his ginormous philanthropic foundation. This time it's Rick Steves. Steves, founder of the Edmonds, Wash.-based Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door travel conglomerate, has donated $1 million to his community's arts center. Steves was able to share his wealth thanks to the success of his travel writings, tours, radio show and speaking engagements. But he says the thing that's really allowed him to amass so much disposable wherewithal is the lower tax rates created by the Bush-era tax cuts. Steves on the air with his radio show, Travel with Rick Steves. (Photo... Read more →

It's no secret that folks in D.C. -- or at least on Capitol Hill -- have a different perspective about just about everything. And they definitely use a different dictionary when it comes to defining things. That sometimes skewed point of view and questionable lexicography is very evident when it comes to taxes. Take our current individual income tax rates, which start at 10 percent and top out at 35 percent. They're commonly called the Bush era tax cuts since they were put into the tax code when George W. Bush was in the Oval Office. However, since Obama made... Read more →

No, that headline question is not a spin-off of the popular television game show. It's the question being asked as federal lawmakers struggle to come up with a fiscal agreement that will lead to another increase in the U.S. debt ceiling. Back in March, an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found 81 percent of those surveyed favored a surtax on millionaires to help cut the deficit. Perhaps that was part of the reason that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent, introduced a bill to impose a surtax on millionaires. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took the millionaires' tax a step further,... Read more →

Last week at my other tax blog: Tax cuts turn 10; Employer payroll tax break?

Did you throw a tax party last week? What? You missed the 10th anniversary of the Bush tax cuts? No worries. They're in place through 2012 so you have more chances to celebrate. But should you? The ramifications of the tax cuts enacted on June 7, 2001, were discussed last week in my Bankrate Taxes Blog post Tax cuts turn 10. It's been a mixed bag and one that, thanks to (or blamed on, depending on your political and economic perspective) the continuation last December of the tax breaks, we'll be dealing with until Dec. 31, 2012. Also last week... Read more →