Outrage of the Day: Tax Cuts without Revenue Estimates

Any tax action that Congress takes requires a revenue estimate — except for treaties.  That’s a budget rule, adopted by Congress.  The revenue cost of treaties is isn’t being analyzed — but there is a cost, because treaties only cut taxes.  Treaties can’t raise taxes, because revenue raisers must begin in the House of Representatives — and only the Senate gets in on treaties.  Occasionally, the beneficiaries of tax treaties are wealthy individuals, but usually they are multinational corporations — entitled to free speech under Citizens United.  Here’s an explanation and more, from my former colleague Pat Driessen from Joint Tax:  Tax Notes, Vol. 135, No. 6, 2012http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2069356.

Shocking: The “Tax” Label Is a Plus

“Tax” is no longer at the bottom of the label barrel.  Proponents of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, http://octa2012.org/oregon-cannabis-tax-act-legislation/, just approved for the November 2012 ballot, deliberately put “Tax” in the title – but not in the Act.  The Act provides for a state monopoly to sell marijuana (and a state monopsony to buy it) – but no taxes.  Oregon doesn’t even have a sales tax.

Maybe it’s just that Tax sounds better than Legalization.  But maybe anti-tax hysteria is peaking.  Conservative Republican Senator Tom Coburn says that anti-tax advocate of drowning the Federal Government in a bathtub Grover “Norquist is increasingly isolated politically.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/opinion/a-greater-american-pledge.html


Tax Notes Humor section: “Repatriation to the Tune of Revolution”

A legible reprint of my poem (a euphemism) is at Repatriation to the Tune of “Revolution”  Here is part of the ending:  “Now if in your fantasy our Uncle Sam should drown, you don’t give a damn if your schemes bring the country down.  We ought to make you pay your tax.”

Thanks to the folks at Tax Analysts for printing this in Tax Notes of July 2, 2012, page 123-24.  A friend who read a draft told me to forget submitting it to the Kenyon Review.

Repatriation to the Tune of Revolution, suitable for singing

Without footnotes, and with added language:

Revolution was written in 1968 by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.  “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao/You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow” provides the meter for the last couplet in each stanza. The Beatles’ “Well, you know” lines are omitted.  Youtube.com lets people listen to the tune, as if that complied with copyright laws.

You say you want repatriation:
(That’s what you say)
A tax-free corp’rate holiday.
You talk about the job creation
(You talk a lot)
That you’ll produce once you can pay
Big dividends out of the cash that you’ve stashed offshore;
But that didn’t work when we tried in Two thousand four.
Why don’t you go and pay
That tax?
Continue reading “Repatriation to the Tune of Revolution, suitable for singing”

Getting into the weeds – or the capillaries

“Getting into the weeds” is a confusing metaphor.  I think of a search for something lost, like a golf ball.

But folks use the phrase to mean looking at details.  http://www.word-detective.com/2011/05/getting-into-the-weeds/.  If so, “getting into the capillaries” (an old metaphor used by tax policy folks thinking through details) would be clearer.  Weeds are all bad; capillaries require careful, detailed, individual attention.  Some capillaries are working well, some need fixing, and some are beyond fixing — like different parts of a statutory draft.  Maybe capillaries is too big a word these days.  See http://www.languagemonitor.com/about/news/obamas-acceptance-speech-at-9th-grade-level/