9:09 AM, Jan 28, 2015 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Bernie Becker of the The Hill writes that:
President Obama is scrapping his proposal to tax withdrawals from a popular savings account for college expenses, after facing sharp criticism from both Republicans and outside groups, a White House official said Tuesday.
And a few Democrats, it should be said. To include Nancy Pelosi who:
... pressed the case aboard Air Force One as she was flying with the president from India to Saudi Arabia, according to a person familiar with the conversation. On the other side of the Capitol, Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) also pushed Obama to back away from the idea.
This makes it pretty clear that the president – and his party – lack the stomach for a big fight over raising taxes to appease the government’s lust for money.
“Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision so that they can instead focus on delivering a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support, as well as the president’s broader package of tax relief for childcare and working families, paid for by eliminating the trust fund loophole and making sure the wealthy pay their fair share,” a White House official said Tuesday.
But if you have only two years left to make your moves, then why not go long.
If the point is to raise money and take it from the rich then why not:
* Go after the mortgage interest deduction above a threshold of, say, $300,000.
* Eliminate the state and local tax deduction, hitting big blue states like New York.
* Do something on carried interest.
These would be big, bold moves that would raise the stakes dramatically and would hit the wealthy, especially in blue states. But if the opposition from people like Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer is enough to intimidate the White House on the taxing of college savings accounts, then these things have no chance.
And the president will continue to play small ball while he talks Super Bowl.
Has there ever been a president so contemptuous of his own supporters?10:48 AM, Jan 23, 2015 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
In spite of his own mostly impressive educational pedigree, President Obama has always harbored an anti-intellectual (or, to be generous, anti-academic) streak. Whether insulting art history in a failed appeal to "Real 'Muricans," or developing a philistine "College Scorecard," which reduces the entire value of education to future earnings, it's become apparent that in the president's estimation, American higher education should basically be a network of pretty good trade schools. You know, the kind of place where the “folks” drop their G’s when engaging in conversation.
2:50 PM, Jan 21, 2015 • By IKE BRANNON
Republicans have been tripping over one another to slag President Obama’s tax proposal, made in his State of the Union address, to repeal the step-up in basis on inherited wealth and use the revenue it would generate to increase the child tax credit and pay for free community college. While it’s almost Pavlovian for Republicans to attack any Obama tax proposal, this one actually contains the seeds for a radical tax reform that would be much more conducive to economic growth than anything currently on Paul Ryan’s desk.
Congress’s GSE reform plan has relatively little reward for the taxpayer without absolving them of all risk.1:10 PM, Sep 30, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON
Few people are happy with the limbo in which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac currently dwell. The Treasury placed the two government-sponsored entities that buy and guarantee the bulk of all mortgages issued in the United States into a conservatorship in 2008 after the collapse of the housing market, which decimated the value of the loans they held and rendered the two insolvent.
Obama’s ‘economic patriotism.’Aug 11, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 45 • By FRED BARNES
When he’s in trouble, President Obama changes the subject to the economy. And in speech after speech, he utters some version of this line: “We know from our history, our economy does not grow from the top down, it grows from the middle up.”
1:16 PM, Jul 30, 2014 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Casual dining establishment TGI Fridays, you may have heard, is advertising what it bills as “endless” appetizers for a mere $10. Yet if you dine at Fridays here in the District of Columbia, you can expect to spend $11, not $10, on the “endless apps,” once DC’s 10 percent dining tax is included.
11:18 AM, Jul 23, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON
A wizened soul who worked in the bowels of the United States Treasury in the Eisenhower administration once explained to me all that is wrong with the U.S. tax code.
11:45 AM, Jul 15, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There was a time when stock car racing was an outlaw sport. Some of the greatest of the early drivers learned their skills hauling moonshine. Most conspicuously, Junior Johnson who did a stretch in the federal crossbar hotel. But the days of Junior, Richard, Dale, and the rest of them are long past. NASCAR went corporate and like all “mature industries,” it learned how to play cozy with Washington.
5:42 PM, Jul 14, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Representative Peter Welch (Democrat, Vermont and, by the way, my representative) has announced that he is in favor of raising the tax on gasoline. He has a safe seat and, anyway, in Vermont it isn’t politically dangerous to propose a tax increase, especially if it can be somehow made into a positive for jobs and infrastructure and a negative for automobiles and oil companies. Vermont is eagerly anticipating the arrival of cars that are powered by wind.
Get them where they drive.9:24 AM, Jul 7, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Washington needs more money and if it doesn’t get it, your morning commute will become:
a) more expensive
12:00 AM, Jun 28, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
To meteorologists, an inversion is a deviation from the normal change of an atmospheric property. It can lead to pollution and adverse health effects. To Wall Street dealmakers, and now to most boards of directors, an inversion is a cross-border merger that allows the buyer to reincorporate in a more tax-friendly jurisdiction.
12:18 PM, Jun 3, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON
The 620,000 residents of Washington, D.C., are not exactly partisans of supply-side capitalism: In most elections the nominees of the various green/workers/socialist parties usually come close to the vote totals of whatever Republican sacrificial lamb the local party convinced to run.
Rock-star economist Thomas Piketty— tough on inequality, soft on elitism May 26, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 35 • By CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL
The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has written that Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty’s new book on inequality and wealth, “will change both the way we think about society and the way we do economics.” Clive Crook describes the raptures with which intellectuals have greeted the book as almost “erotic.” President Obama’s advisers have been buttonholed about Piketty at speaking appearances from here to Dublin. Capital has reached number one on Amazon.com.