All articles from Howard Gleckman

  • Tax VOX Taxes: the big weapon in the war on poverty

    Over the years, tax policy has been a key tool in keeping the safety net that protects the nation's poor intact.

  • Tax VOX Pay to extend unemployment benefits? Why not tax breaks, too?

    One Republican talking points over long-term unemployment is: Sure, we’ll consider an extension, but it must be paid for. That’s a fine idea. Here’s another: In exactly the same way, Congress should offset the cost of restoring dozens of temporary tax breaks that expired on Dec. 31.

  • Tax VOX Bitcoin: How should it be taxed?

    Is bitcoin really money? Or is it a capital asset? How about a commodity? ? The IRS says it is studying the matter but has yet to issue any guidance. Until it does, it is anyone’s guess how bitcoin should be taxed. 

  • Tax VOX Time to park the commuter tax subsidy

    Under new legislation, tax subsidies for mass transit commuters is cut in half for 2014, while drivers got a boost to their tax breaks. This makes no sense. 

  • Tax VOX Tax reform: How Ron Wyden will shape taxes

    Sen. Ron Wyden (D) of Oregon is poised to become the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Mr. Wyden is the sponsor of a major tax reform plan that would reduce both individual and corporate tax rates without adding to the deficit or changing the current distribution of taxes among income groups very much, Gleckman writes.

  • Tax VOX 10 worst tax policies of 2013

    If 2013 is remembered for anything, it may be for all that didn’t happen when it comes to tax policy and fiscal policy, Gleckman writes. Here’s hoping 2014 is more productive.

  • Tax VOX Who benefits from the biggest tax expenditures?

    For the 10 biggest tax expenditures, there's a great variation among the benefits. The rich get an outsized share of the subsidy from some, while low-income households enjoy most of the benefits of others

  • Tax VOX Supreme Court opens the door for online sales tax

    The Supreme Court ruled that states have broad authority to require Internet sellers to collect sales taxes, just as their Main Street competitors must. And, in a delicious bit of online irony, the justices did it on Cyber Monday.

  • Tax VOX Baucus proposed international tax reform but future action remains uncertain

    In an effort to jumpstart international tax reform, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is suggesting major changes in the way U.S.-based multinational corporations are taxed on their overseas income. Though the plan is advancing tax reform discussions, it leaves many controversial issues unresolved, Gleckman explains. 

  • Tax VOX Why the debt limit won't expire in February

    Last month, Congress and President Obama agreed to reopen the government they had closed and suspend the debt limit until February 7. But, in your nation’s capital, February really means March. Or May. Or possibly June.

  • Tax VOX Why not use tax preparers as a portal to health exchanges?

    As issues with the website continue to arise, people need a better way to buy insurance. Health insurance purchases should be part of filing tax returns, Gleckman explains. 

  • Tax VOX In budget talks, new revenue remains a sticking point

    The issue of new revenues has already raised its head in negotiations over the budget. Here are some of the gimmicks lawmakers are using to try to raise new tax revenue without actually increasing taxes.

  • Tax VOX Who benefits from muni bonds? It's more complicated than you think

    Who benefits from tax subsidies for municipal bonds? It's not as obvious as you think. High-income investors benefit, yes, but depending on what state and local government do with the subsidies, there may also be benefits for low-tax brackets. 

  • Tax VOX The illogic of the McConnell debt limit rule

    Some commentators have proposed that the 'McConnell rule', which would allow the President to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally, become law. Gleckman argues these proposals illogical and instead argues that Congress ought to be mandated to finance all spending decisions that they approve.

  • Tax VOX Congress shouldn't forget tax entitlements in its search for deficit reduction

    When it comes to deficit reduction, cuts to familiar social programs such as Medicare, Social Security and college loans are often regarded as "untouchable." Gleckman reminds us that there is an additional $1 trillion-plus in tax subsidies that are also often seen as entitlements and are thus dismissed from discussions surrounding spending cuts. Gleckman argues these tax subsidies inefficient and claims that a restructuring of these subsidies could greatly reduce our deficit. 

  • Tax VOX How to forge a no-drama budget deal in Washington

    Many argue that the short-term deal to reopen the government and reauthorize Treasury borrowing buys time but does nothing to change Washington’s toxic culture. But Congress and President Obama could reach a mini-bargain that would at least take the edge off the current ugliness, Gleckman writes.

  • Tax VOX The government shutdown was about...a meeting

    If the agreement reached yesterday sticks, Congress has just shuttered much of the federal government for more than two weeks and risked a market-shattering federal default in order to convene a meeting of budget negotiators.

  • Tax VOX Latest debt limit plan merely kicks can down the road

    House Republicans have tentatively agreed on a plan to extend the debt limit for about six weeks while keeping the government partially shuttered. But the deal would only briefly put off what has become an ugly and dangerous confrontation over the nation’s ability to pay its bills, Gleckman writes.

  • Tax VOX It is never good when the U.S. Treasury gets compared to Brazil

    The dollar is the world's reserve currency because the U.S. has the world's biggest economy, yes, but also because investors need not worry about political risk. But with the deadline to raise the debt-limit fast approaching and no compromise in sight, is the U.S. losing its reputation as a safe investment? 

  • Tax VOX Why this debt ceiling showdown is even sillier than the last

    The debt limit 'debate' is not about limiting the size of government, entitlement reforms, or tax reform. Instead, Republicans in Congress are yet again debating whether Congress should authorize the government to pay for spending—wait for it—that Congress has already authorized the government to undertake.

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