Category Archives: Politics

Finally, China is importing something from the USA: Our tax system

The United States is one of the few countries that taxes citizens on all of their income, regardless of where in the world it is earned. But an additional billion-plus people might soon empathize with American taxpayers: The Chinese government is starting to enforce rules requiring that its citizens report income earned outside that country.

As The New York Times reports, the Chinese officially chose the same general definition of taxable income as used by the United States back in 1993, But only now is the Chinese government beginning to push its citizens to actually report worldwide income.

My favorite part of the NYT story describes how a group of Chinese tax officials first consulted with the U.S. more than 20 years ago on drafting a modern tax code:

“The team paid a long visit to the Internal Revenue Service and was given a two-volume bound copy of the United States tax code and a five-volume copy of I.R.S. regulations,” writes Hong Kong bureau chief Keith Bradsher.

Wow. If the Chinese liked getting that kind of help, they’ll love the United States Guide to Developing An Efficient And Popular Department of Motor Vehicles.

IRS abandons voters on campaign finance mess

Don’t look to the IRS for potential relief from a tsunami of political advertising during the 2014 off-year elections. The Service announced in late May that it is pulling back proposed regulations on tax-exempt groups. That means that everyone from the billionaire Koch brothers to tree-hugging lefties will be able to fund ad campaigns through…Continue Reading

Multinationals seek tax heavens, er, havens . . . oh, what’s the diff?

More and more U.S.-based corporations are growing wings and flying away from their U.S. tax obligations. Bloomberg puts it as simply as possible: “U.S. companies looking for lower tax bills are heading for the exits, and Congress is doing nothing to stop them.” The immediate impetus for the story was Pfizer’s proposed purchase of AstraZeneca,…Continue Reading

Washington Post’s maps paint a fascinating – and unexpected – picture of the USA

The Washington Post’s “GovBeat” feature is doing some great work, including this story and link to 25 maps and charts of the United States (your first 10 stories a month at are free; then the paywall rises up.) One, “Finding America’s Uninsured,” (#23) shows that the national problem of people not having health insurance…Continue Reading

For privileged corporations, paying state taxes is increasingly becoming a thing of the past

States regularly offer tax incentives (or, depending on your point of view, corporate welfare) to major corporations in exchange for promises of expansion, corporate relocation, retention of old jobs, creation of new jobs, and anything else with the word ‘jobs’ in the sentence. If you think about it, it’s an almost mindless rush to the…Continue Reading

Food stamp cut passes House; why should “the takers” eat?

The House of Representatives in September passed, on an almost party-line vote, a bill slashing $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, more commonly known as food stamps, Read about it in the New York Times. The vote may have marked a new high, or low, in mean-spirited political gamesmanship. If this bill survives…Continue Reading

The real IRS tax-exempt scandal is who they DIDN’T go after

The rolling sideshow of hearings and revelations about the IRS department responsible for reviewing organizations applying for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status might not ever get around to dealing with a larger question: Why were some little organizations steamrolled with questions and scrutiny, while major national operations apparently got a pass? As ProPublica pointed out in a…Continue Reading