There’s an internal contradiction in the way that Keynesian-oriented economists and policymakers address the federal budget situation. I’ve noticed it over and over. A passage in a Washington Post op-ed today by Mohamed El-Erian of Pimco captures it perfectly:
The Sunday New York Times described Apple’s successful efforts to reduce its U.S. and California corporate tax burdens. The article hints that the situation is a moral outrage, and it includes sob stories of governments that are supposedly hurting because they don’t raise enough tax revenues from businesses.
Andrew Sullivan cited an op-ed of mine last week regarding the complexity of the tax code.
I happened to hear some of the comments by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Washington today. The comments regarded the Secretary General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative.
The Tax Foundation reported that Tuesday was Tax Freedom Day (TFD), which is the day that Americans stop “working for the government” through their tax payments and start working for themselves.
In recent weeks President Obama has been on a quixotic search-and-destroy mission for the few remaining millionaires who aren’t already paying a huge pile of taxes. Meanwhile, the rest of us face the real-world struggles of filing our IRS returns and dealing with the hugely complex tax system that the president has done nothing to fix.
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.