Tag Archives: Congressional clowns

Will Congress — new or old — do anything about expiring tax breaks?

The election is over, the people in their infinite wisdom have spoken…but here we are in mid-November and we still don’t know for sure what the tax laws are going to be for this year.

The problem is that a bunch of tax breaks and benefits have not been extended to 2014. These include:
–The $4,000 deduction for higher education tuition & fees.
–Deductions for state and local sales taxes.
–The ability to donate up to $100,000 from your IRA to a charity instead of taking a taxable required minimum distribution.
–The $250 deduction for classroom expenses for teachers in grades K-12.
–Credits of up to $500 for energy-efficient home improvements.
–The ability of businesses to write off more than $25,000 in new asset purchases.


The Wall Street Journal summarized
tax breaks it thought Congress should address. A lame-duck session might do something about all of this. Or it might do nothing. But either way, until we know for sure what the tax laws are for 2014, the IRS can’t finish programming its computers, which means that this is likely to be another tax season in which taxpayers will be unable to file their returns in early or even late January.

Watch this space for an update.

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

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

World’s teeniest tax bracket

With the new tax bill passed by Congress in January 2013, there are now seven marginal tax brackets–10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%. OK, no big problem there. Here’s the stupid thing: The only single filers who fall into the 35% marginal bracket will be those with taxable income of $398,350 to $400,000.…Continue Reading

Congress’s “2% Solution” creates another mess for taxpayers

After some pathetic grandstanding by House Republicans, Congress passed an extension of the current Social Security tax break in December. Sounds good, right? Get into the details and see how Congress can make the tax rules more complicated than ever — even when doing something as simple as this. First off, the extension — reducing…Continue Reading

Lies, damned lies, and unemployment statistics

     The latest word from the federal number-crunchers says the November unemployment rate dropped to 8.6% from 9% the previous month.  So why doesn’t it feel like the job market is getting better?      Simple reason:  The government does not include people whose unemployment benefits have run out in the official unemployment figures.  So while…Continue Reading

Rep. Paul Ryan: The millionaire’s friend

Rep. Paul Ryan–the author of the Republican plan to end Social Security and Medicare as you know it–on Sunday called President Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on people who have more than $1 million in earnings, “class warfare.” Take a moment to absorb that. Here’s a leading speaker for the Republican Party, the chair of…Continue Reading

Three ways the budget deal is an underhanded scam

The so-called ‘compromise’ on raising the federal debt ceiling debt ceiling is fine if you’re not worried about being able to keep your job, don’t think you’ll need Medicare benefits someday, and live in a state that can raise all of the revenue it needs. For the rest of us, here are three ways the…Continue Reading

It’s your stupid Medicare idea, Stupid!

It’s just a special election in a conservative Congressional district in western New York, but Tuesday’s victory by Democrat Kathy Hochul is going to give a lot of politicians who support “privatizing” Medicare pause. Apparently some people are paying attention to Republican proposals that would finance tax cuts for the wealthiest among us with savage…Continue Reading