The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the fifth edition of its “Rich States, Poor States” report yesterday. For fiscal wonks the report is a fun read, as it is chock full of tax and economic comparisons between the 50 states.
When House Budget chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his tax reform plan recently, liberals pounced on it as an unfair giveaway to the rich. In The Washington Post, E.J. Dionne claimed that Ryan’s tax plan would increase the deficit and “expand benefits for the wealthy,” while Dana Milbank said that the plan would “disproportionately help the rich.” A New York Times editorial said that under the Ryan plan, “the rich pay less in taxes than the unfairly low rates they pay now.”
House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has introduced his annual budget blueprint. The plan will likely pass the House but won’t become law this year. However, the plan signals the direction that House Republicans want to go in budget battles with the Democrats this year, and it also shows the likely thrust of policy under a possible Republican president next year.
At Downsizing Government, we have published an essay on the Army Corps of Engineers.
President Obama and most members of Congress agree that the U.S. corporate tax rate should be cut. Thankfully, it is finally sinking in that having a 40 percent corporate tax rate when the world average is just 23 percent is suicide in a globalized economy.
The Washington Post reports that a doctor in Texas bilked Medicare and Medicaid out of $375 million. That’s a lot of money, but improper payments represent somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of total spending on these two health programs. Thus, more than $100 billion of taxpayer funds could be going down the drain each year.
Federal employee Jason Ullner portrays federal workers as victims in today’s Washington Post.
As part of the payroll tax bill on Friday, Congress voted to tweak federal worker benefits. New federal hires will be required to make an additional contribution to their pension plans. While just a small change, federal worker unions railed against the bill as if were armageddon.
The Washington Post did a great job last week comparing spending earmarks by members of Congress with the locations of property they own in their states. Some members are apparently using our tax dollars to expand infrastructure near their homes and businesses, thus gaining a personal benefit from federal spending.
The new federal budget includes a range of accounting maneuvers to cast the administration’s 10-year projections in the best possible light. Senate Republicans point out some of President Obama’s funky accounting here. But note that the George W. Bush administration also used tricks to make deficit forecasts look more optimistic.