Tax Break

Essential reading: Tax talks raise bar for richest Americans, and more

November 20, 2012

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.

* Tax talks raise bar for richest Americans. David Kocieniewski – The New York Times. For all the broad brush rhetoric of political debate, the tax rate increases and limits on deductions now being discussed by the president and Congressional Republicans are calibrated to take the biggest bite out of the highest earners. Link

* For tax pledge and its author, a test of time. Jeremy Peters – The New York Times. Next to the oath of office, it has been perhaps the most important commitment that Republicans in Congress can make. But the anti-tax pledge and its creator, Grover Norquist, a 56-year-old conservative lobbyist, have never before faced a test as they do now. Link

* Investors show optimism that cliff will be avoided. Jonathan Cheng – The Wall Street Journal. Hopes that lawmakers in Washington will reach an agreement on taxes and spending gave investors new confidence and drove stock indexes to their best day in two months. Link

* Why Obama pushes for higher rates vs. deduction limit. David Wessel – The Wall Street Journal. Republicans have basically thrown in the towel on changing the tax code to bring in more revenue, but resist raising rates and, instead, want to curtail deductions, credits, exclusions and loopholes to get Americans to pay more to the Treasury to avoid what they see as the growth-retarding effects of higher tax rates. Link

* The new Republican tax policy. Bruce Bartlett – The New York Times opinion. Although it is commonly believed that the Laffer curve – the idea that tax cuts pay for themselves – is the core Republican idea about tax policy, this is wrong. Link

* To tax now or to tax later? Ezra Klein – The Washington Post opinion. This is going to be the central sticking point of the next month: President Barack Obama wants to tax now. House Speaker John Boehner wants to promise to tax later. Link

* Grover Norquist’s rear-guard action on taxes. Dana Milbank – The Washington Post opinion. Listening to his confident assertions, the simple conclusion would be that Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, had been on a long trip in a remote location. More likely, the answer involves the substantial amount of trauma inflicted on Norquist’s worldview in the election. Link

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