James Pethokoukis

Where healthcare reform is heading

August 28, 2009

Karen Tumulty of Time opines:

The bill most likely would attempt to cover children who have not received coverage under other federal programs, and possibly their parents. It might also expand the Medicaid program to low-income people who do not currently qualify.  … If the Senate decides to pass the bill under parliamentary rules that prevent a filibuster, it may also have to get rid of other provisions that do not directly affect federal spending, such as those that attempt to encourage wellness programs and more preventive care.

The New York Times, the super-rich, income inequality and taxes

August 21, 2009

Some thoughts on today’s NY Times story about the falling fortunes of the once super-rich:

Another look at the VAT

August 20, 2009

Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute notices that several New Europe countries are raising their VATs to deal with huge budget deficits and concludes thusly:

Taxes? Through the roof, America!

August 17, 2009

There was a Saturday Night Live skit after the 1988 election called “Dukakis after Dark.” In it, failed veep candidate Lloyd Bentsen asks failed presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, “You were going to raise taxes, weren’t you?” Dukakis, wearing a Hugh Hefneresque smoking jacket, shiftily replies: “Through the roof.”

Tax the rich. Good luck with that

August 6, 2009

Government revenue estimates of future tax hikes on the wealthy always overestimate how much dough they will bring in.  This is certainly the case with the 1993 Clinton tax hikes. Now why is that? First up is my Reuters compadre, the so-smart-he’s-scary Christopher Swann:

Double taxes on the rich and you still wouldn’t balance the U.S. federal budget

August 5, 2009

Here is some fun tax information: The top five percent of tax filers in terms of adjusted gross income earned $3.3 trillion and paid $676 billion in taxes in 2007.  (That accounted for 61 percent of taxes, by the way.) So if we doubled their average tax rates, America would still be running a budget deficit for years to come. And that assumes no economic impact from the higher tax rates.

5 reasons why Obama will hike middle-class taxes

August 4, 2009

JamesPethokoukiscrop.jpgC’mon, how about some Walter Mondalesque candor from the Obama White House on taxes? Yes, yes, it was 25 years ago this summer that the Democratic presidential candidate self-immolated on the issue at his party’s convention in San Francisco. But surely Americans have become more urbane and sophisticated since then as to what makes for sound economic policy, oui?

Why Team Obama thinks your taxes are going up

August 3, 2009

The White House can try and walk back from the comments yesterday by Geithner and Summers, but don’t buy it. Pretty much — like 99.9 percent — of center-left economists think Americans don’t pay enough in taxes to support the modestly-large welfare state/military superpower that they seem to prefer. And by not enough, I mean $500 billion to $1 trillion a year too little.

America’s top 1 percent pay 40 percent of all taxes

July 30, 2009

The Tax Foundation review of new IRS data (through 2007) finds some remarkable things about America’s progressive tax system:

China’s tax-cut success story

July 27, 2009

Chinese and American officials meet today in the latest edition of the “strategic dialogue” between the two nations. Here is an interesting 1998 take from Alvin Rabushka of the Hoover Institution about the role of tax policy in China’s economic ascent.