The House Ways and Means Committee is holding hearings on tax reform in advance of major restructuring next year should a Republican win the White House.
Today, Rep. Roger Williams presents his plan to the committee. The congressman’s Jumpstart America legislation is a good plan, but I would make it better in these ways:
Large spending cuts should be on the agenda when the next president enters office in 2017. Spending cuts would spur economic growth by shifting resources from lower-valued government activities to higher-valued private ones.
On the presidential campaign trail, the candidates seem far apart on tax policy. The Democrats favor tax hikes on high earners, and the Republicans favor tax cuts all around. But with voters currently struggling with tax-return filing, all the candidates should be addressing the tax code’s appalling complexity.
California and New York have approved bills to increase their state minimum wages over time to $15 an hour. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders favor raising the federal minimum wage. But such mandated increases do more harm than good, and they hurt the exact groups of people that policymakers say that they want to help.
On Tuesday President Obama denounced corporations that cut their taxes by moving their headquarters abroad.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released projections showing that we may have doctor shortages in coming years. The demand for doctor services is rising in our aging society, but various factors in the health care industry are hampering supply.
The next president will confront a range of fiscal crises that the current president has ignored. One of them is the ongoing implosion of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). With the rise of email, the volume of snail mail has plunged, and the USPS has lost more than $50 billion since 2007. The red ink will continue to gush as more bill paying, advertising, invitations, and other communications go online.
The federal government spends about $30 billion a year on the war on drugs. Much of the spending is wasteful and counterproductive. This week, for example, an auditor’s report revealed how the drug bureaucracy flushed $86 million down the drain on an anti-drug aircraft that was never used.
Watching Pete Townshend wailing on his Fender Stratocaster last night at the Verizon Center reminded of what I’d read about Fender’s history. Part of the Fender story regards how the firm got hammered by Japanese competition in the 1970s, but then bounced back by refocusing on quality. So while I was listening to “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” I’m embarrassed to say I was pondering Donald Trump’s misguided statements favoring protectionism.
At this stage, it’s quite likely that Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee. Conventional wisdom suggests that this means Democrats will win in November. On the other hand, conventional wisdom also told us that Trump would never get this far. So it’s unclear what will happen in the general election, particularly given the ethical cloud surrounding the presumptive Democratic nominee.
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