Politics Feed

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) during a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing. (Screenshot from Wyden's YouTube channel) Most of the tax the rich action has been coming from Democrats who want to move into the White House in 2021. Now a top Senate tax committee member has joined the call to collect more from wealthier Americans. And he has specific plans for the new revenue. Sen. Ron Wyden's proposal would tax ordinary income and capital gains at the same rates. Currently, capital gains generally are taxed at lower rates, ranging from zero for some lower-income investors to 15 percent for... Read more →


via GIPHY If you've been following the pack of politicians seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, you know that ways to tax the wealthy is a common thread. But there are as many proposals to do that as there are White House wannabes, although Elizabeth Warren is leading in suggested changes to get more tax money from the rich. There's the general wealth tax, corporate book profits tax, new Social Security wage tax, new Social Security net investment income tax (NIIT), new estate tax and every Democrats' favorite, repealing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) lower rates for higher... Read more →


Click image to watch Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's touting of Tax Reform 2.0 in 2020 via The Hill. There's not much hope that a divided Congress will get much done on taxes in the remaining months of 2019, but at least one Trump Administration official is more optimistic about 2020. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that the White House would consider proposing a new package of tax cuts next year. Will Tax Reform 2.0 actually happen in 2020? Is this just a political ploy leading into what could be a difficult re-election campaign? Will tax cuts become the new... Read more →


Congress is back. But will Representatives and Senators get any more done these last few months of 2019 than they did earlier? Probably not. While this 116th Congress hasn't been a total bust — 56 bills have passed this year — it's not been a particularly productive one. None of these bills was major legislation. In fact, the enacted laws are 16 fewer than the lowest number passed in a single calendar year over the last 30 years. Plus, most of them have been commemorative measures or extensions of prior laws, not bills that change Americans' lives in any substantive... Read more →


As I was making my usual trip between my mother's and home, I noticed a wide range of prices at gas stations along the way. Heck, I noticed some wide differentials in fueling stops less than a mile apart in my area of Austin. The one consistent factor was that they all were down from earlier this summer. That's not a surprise. Now that the long Labor Day weekend is over, the summer vacation season where most folks still load the family in a car and hit the road is done, too. So what exactly affects the price of gasoline?... Read more →


Russia's Tsar Peter I, popularly known as Peer the Great, was a believer in using tax policy to shape people's behavior. He tried to do that with a beard tax. (Image via Wikimedia Commons) Every time we're hit with a new tax, we immediately decry how damaging it will be to us personally. But it's highly unlikely that any of today's Internal Revenue Code assessments will ever hit as close to home as a Russian tax enacted on this day (or thereabouts) 321 years ago. Sept. 5, 1678, is the day according to most accounts that Tsar Peter I, better... Read more →


Andrew Luck announces his retirement from the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. The main reason the young quarterback quit the game was injuries. A bonus to his departure: no more jock tax calculations. The National Football League's 2019 season kicks off tomorrow night, but Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck won't be on the field. The 29-year-old stunned the sports world on Aug. 24 when he confirmed rumors that he was retiring from the sport. Colts owner Jim Irsay estimated that Luck could be giving up as much as $450 million in future salary. Luck, however, obviously thinks he has made enough money... Read more →


The Trump Administration's latest round of tariffs that took effect today, Sept. 1. The additional 15 percent tariff on around $300 billion worth of Chinese goods as varied as batteries, cereal bowls, coals, pajamas and human hair. Kai Ryssdal, host of APM's Marketplace (which I listen to on my local NPR station KUT-FM), took a look some of the industries affected. Actually, since it's radio, the show enlisted Marketplace's foreign editor John Buckley and his sonorous British-accented voice to read some of the items that now cost more. The full list is 122 pages long so, as Ryssdal notes, the... Read more →


It's Friday. The last Friday of the month. A Friday heading into a three-day weekend. So I'm being lazy. I'm shifting Shout Out Saturday to Friday, or as I call it on these special days Focus Friday. The focus this Friday leading into the Labor Day weekend is tax laws. Lee Reems II, a Twitter tax pal and CEO of ClientWhys, CountingWorks.com and TaxBuzz.com obviously is a busy guy. But he still had the time this week to pull together a good overview of tax law changes still in the works in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs... Read more →


Emmanuel Macron, left, and Donald J. Trump at the beginning of the just-completed G7 session in France. As the international gathering closed, the pair announced a deal had been reached to ease U.S. concerns over France's digital tax and French worries about possible U.S. tariffs on Gallic wines. Good news for French wine fans. Donald J. Trump and Emmanuel Macron apparently arrived at a rapprochement at the G7 meeting in France this weekend. The threatened tariffs on French wines won't be imposed. That means the only taxes we wine drinkers will face are the long-standing U.S. federal and state-levied excise... Read more →


When California last year joined the literal growing ranks of states that have legalized marijuana, initial projections were that the state soon would be raking in $1 billion annually from weed-related taxes. That apparently was a pipe dream. The report on Golden State cannabis excise taxes collected between April and June was just $74 million. That disappointing revenue amount is this week's By the Numbers figure. Even more discouraging, California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office sharply scaled back projected tax dollars from the state's legal weed market. That's been the case in other states, too. In pushing through legal marijuana, both... Read more →


Elizabeth Warren is a leader among Democratic presidential nominees in calling for a variety of new and increased taxes on the wealthy. (Photo courtesy Warren's Facebook page) Many of the folks trying to become the Democrat to challenge Donald J. Trump in 2020 support raising taxes on the wealthy. It's a popular U.S. campaign rallying cry, but globally, such taxes on net worth are vanishing. All for taking from the rich: The Democratic Party is bucking the global dying wealth tax trend. One of its top goals remains raising the top ordinary income tax rate, which the Tax Cuts and... Read more →


Colorful houses, like these in Sisimiut, Greenland's second largest city that sits on Kangerluarsunnguaq Bay below Palasip Qaqqaa mountain, are found all across Greenland. (Photo by Algkalv via Wikipedia Commons) Sorry, United States, but Greenland doesn't want to become part of us. Yes, the U.S. buying the world's biggest island is, or rather, was a thing. Donald J. Trump, true to his real estate development roots, has broached the possibility of Greenland, according to The Wall Street Journal. People familiar with the discussion, reports the newspaper, said Trump has, "with varying degrees of seriousness, repeatedly expressed interest in buying the... Read more →


Click screenshot to watch Sen. Rick Scott's full discussion on CNBC of the U.S.-China trade war and his tariff tax break suggestion. Everyone except trade warrior Donald J. Trump views tariffs as taxes on consumers. To offset tariffs' added costs to U.S. buyers, one Republican lawmaker is calling for a corresponding tax cut. "Anything we raise in tariffs we ought to give back to the public in tax reductions so that it doesn't impact American families," Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said Monday (Aug. 12) during an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box. The Sunshine State's junior U.S. Senator didn't provide... Read more →


This February 2016 photo on Twitter of Donald J. Trump signing a tax return is one of the few, and unrevealing, looks we've gotten of his federal filings. The focus of Donald J. Trump and his White House change quickly. Issues that were boiling over just days ago quickly get pushed to a back burner by something else that's hotter. But some of those old topics are still simmering. And one of them, Trump's tax returns, saw the heat turned up a bit recently. It was, however, a former college student, not Trump, who was put on the hot spot.... Read more →


UPDATE Aug. 21, 2019: In a stark reversal of yesterday's further tax cut considerations, Donald J. Trump today said he is no longer considering any such proposals. UPDATE Aug. 20, 2019: This proposal has bubbled back to the top of simmering economic stimulus ideas. As reports, predictions and fears of an impending recession increased, today Donald J. Trump again said he was considering indexing capital gains, which would give investors a big tax cut and primarily benefit the rich, and that he believed he could do it without approval from Congress. Members of the Upper Chamber of Congress are relying... Read more →


It's been a summer of change for my neighborhood. Several of our neighbors have moved, including our next-door neighbors that I really liked. My former suburban Austinites are heading off to new jobs, other subdivisions they've discovered or to be closer to families across the state or country. A few also decided it was time to cash in on the rising property values of our neighborhood. I must admit, that's crossed my mind, but then I think moving and … Summer is prime moving time regardless of the reasons. Things tend to slow down at workplaces, giving you more time... Read more →


Image courtesy U.S. Coast Guard via Twitter Today is the birthday of one of America's earliest tax collectors, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). That's right. The force that we know as the coastal defense and maritime law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces had its beginnings as Revenue Marine. It was created by Alexander Hamilton on this day 229 years ago. Its job was to collect taxes at U.S. seaports. Lin-Manuel Miranda did drop a few tax references into his smash Broadway musical, but unfortunately for us tax and seafaring geeks, he didn't elaborate on our first Treasury... Read more →


The legendary outlaw Robin Hood, memorialized in this statue in Nottingham, England, took from the rich and gave to the poor. Nowadays, politicians offer Robin Hood style tax plans that increase levies on the wealthy to fund programs for lower income citizens. (Photo by sculptor James Woodford via Wikipedia Commons) If you've been following the cadre of campaigners for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, you know that several White House wannabes have offered tax plans calling for various tax hikes on richer Americans. The latest is from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose catch-all plan basically would, in... Read more →


Poland has many historical sites, such as Wawel Castle in Kraków. But young Poles are more interested in their futures than the past. They have been leaving the country in droves to find work. Polish officials hope a dramatic new tax law will change that emigration pattern. (Photo by Zespol Wzgórza Wawelskiego via Wikipedia Commons) Donald J. Trump and many of his supporters have been worrying for years about people wanting to come into the United States. Many European countries also have been pulling up their welcome mats when immigrants approach their borders. One nation, however, is concerned about the... Read more →