Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Bartlett’

Tax Roundup, 12/5/2012: Happy Repeal Day! Too bad it’s not the tax code.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

Happy National Repeal Day!


Either we cut spending or everyone will pay more taxes.  This post by Veronique de Rugy puts together in one handy package some points I have been trying to drive home about budget and tax policy.  It’s all worth reading, but some key items include:

 In my opinion, the problem with the fiscal-cliff debate has been that no one is acknowledging the fact that there is no way out of raising taxes on everyone eventually unless Congress gets serious about addressing our long-term fiscal problem, by restraining spending.

“The Rich” simply don’t have enough income to foot the bill.  But borrowing temporarily hides the problem:

This, by the way, is why I thought the Bush years were so toxic. Cutting taxes while increasing spending dramatically — Bush increased real spending by 60 percent, as opposed to Clinton’s increase of 12.5 percent — is a recipe for large deficits leading more taxes later or certainly intense pressure to raise taxes.

What will taxes look like when the bill comes due?

This weekend, Mark Steyn gave us an idea of what that tax bill would look like. He writes:

A couple of years back, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute calculated that, if Washington were to increase every single tax by 30 percent, it would be enough to balance the books — in 25 years. If you were to raise taxes by 50 percent, it would be enough to fund our entitlement liabilities — just our current ones, not our future liabilities, which would require further increases.

Finland shows how high taxes have to be to adequately fund a lavish welfare state, as I have noted:

Finland has an extensive welfare state and most years pays for it without budget deficits.  It does so with income taxes that reach a 2012 top rate of 29.75% at €70,301, which is about $57,021 at current exchange rates.  For a US taxpayer filing single, the 28% rate doesn’t start until taxable income reaches $85,651, and not up to $142,701 on joint returns.  On top of that, Finns pay a 23% Value-added tax on most purchases — a tax that is not tied to income.  But there’s more!  There is a mandatory 4.7% payroll tax on employee gross wages, plus another 18.3% “paid” by the employer — but that necessarily reduces what they can pay the employee after-tax.

I’m not sure all that would go over well here, but that’s what we’re headed for.  Anybody who says rich people can pay for all of the free government stuff is either clueless or lying.  The rich guy isn’t buying.


Megan McArdle,  Who Gets More Damaged If We Go Over the Fiscal Cliff?  At least there’s a drink at the bottom.

At least the weather’s nice.  Oh, maybe not…  Top Federal Marginal Tax Rate Will Exceed 50% in California, New York, and Hawaii in 2013 (TaxProf)

Amy Feldman,  Getting ready for the Medicare tax on investment income   (Reuters)

Don’t think he actually plans to pay the higher taxes he supports.  Warren Buffett Makes Money On Tax Breaks He Discredits (Steve Stanek, IBD)

Joseph Thorndike, Moral Abdication Dressed Up Like Hard-Nosed Realism (


But think of the intangible benefits of the Iowa film tax credit program! Film financier sues state over unpaid film credits (AP)  The producer of one of the films involved in the suit pleaded guilty to felony chargesarising from tax credits for the film.

Joseph Henchman,New York Times Tells the Tale of Michigan’s Bankrupt State-Backed Film Studio (Tax Policy Blog Oh, and Happy 75th Birthday to the Tax Foundation! 


Kay Bell, Tax Carnival #109: Tax Stocking Stuffers

TaxGrrrl,  12 Days of Charitable Giving 2012: Be An Elf

Russ Fox,Nominations Due for 2012 Tax Offender of the Year.  ‘Tis the Season!

Must be a Cubs fan. Hapless Mr. Williams Loses Again (Jack Townsend)

Nor do I.  No, I Don’t Plan to Take the RTRP Exam (Jason Dinesen). 

Jim Maule, The Hidden Government Spending Game.  Spending doesn’t become something else just because you run it through a tax return.

Trish McIntire, Do You Have a Spare $2,350?  You do?  Good, you may need to send it to the IRS in April if Congress doesn’t “patch” the Alternative Minimum Tax for this year.

Peter Reilly, Hobby Losses – Need To Convince Tax Court You Love Money More Than The Game

Robert D. Flach has his Wednesday Buzz roundup of tax posts up!



Holistic auto healing?  Cadillac chiropractor sent to prison for tax fraud  (

The Critical Question:  Bartlett: The Fiscal Cliff and the Debt Limit — What Would Lincoln Do? (TaxProf)

Judge Holmes Quote of the day. 

Allison T. O’Neil, the ex-wife of Michael J. O’Neil, does not want to pay a penny of their joint 2005 federal tax liability because, she says, it [*2] would be inequitable to make her do so.

2 Michael recalls providing Allison with $6,000 to $10,000 per month. Allison recalls getting only $6,000 per month.

Cite: O’Neil, T.C. Memo 2012-339


They’re not shooting rich jaywalkers

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

Bruce Bartlett, the Denethor of small government fans, says that the spike in expatriations isn’t due to rich folks fleeing the country. (via the TaxProf)  That’s certainly true.  Why are they leaving?  His take:

The reality is that taxes are just one factor among many that determine where people choose to live. Factors including climate, proximity to those in similar businesses and the availability of amenities like the arts and cuisine play a much larger role.

He hasn’t been paying attention.  Tax Update readers and followers of the excellent work of Jack Townsend and Phil Hodgen know that the problem is not high tax rates.  It’s the IRS enforcement approach of shooting jaywalkers.  It’s the severe financial penalties for trivial paperwork violations and the high cost of complying with the ever more severe offshore reporting requirements for citizens abroad.  If you have permanently moved abroad, or if you are an “accidental” citizen — say, a Canadian born in the U.S. while your parents were attending school here — you tire of being treated like a criminal for failing to file paperwork that you had never heard of.

More from Peter Pappas.


The rich guy still won’t be picking up the tab, revisited

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 by Joe Kristan

Bruce Bartlett, the Denethor of the Right, has concluded that against the power that has arisen in the Welfare State, there is no victory — so the rich should pay more taxes.
William McBride explains why “the rich” won’t be picking up the tab at the Tax Policy Blog:

As the following graph shows, in 2007 those households in the highest income quintile (the top 20 percent) had an effective tax rate of a little less than 15 percent. This has changed very little since 1986 or anytime in the 1980s.
Contrast that with the lower income quintiles, which all pay dramatically less tax now than they did in the 1980s. The trend is most pronounced among those in lowest income quintile, which had an effective rate of about zero up until that magical year 1986, and thereafter a more and more negative rate. In 2007, those in the lowest income quintile not only paid no tax, they got paid at the rate of 6.8 percent of their income! Starting in 2002, the effective rate for the second lowest income quintile goes negative as well. This means that the bottom 40 percent of households are now getting paid through the income tax code.

Click image to enlarge
Note where the 0% line is.
As Mr. McBride points out, the U.S. income tax system is more progressive than in the rest of the developed world. They realize that clobbering “the rich” hurts more than it helps. The welfare states of Europe rely on broad-based taxes, like Value-added Taxes, to pay their welfare bills. If the U.S. goes Euro-style, expect a VAT, or at least a return of a more broad-based income tax.


If it’s not a tax, why does the IRS make me pay it?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 by Joe Kristan

Lapsed conservative Bruce Bartlett opposes a payroll tax cut to stimulate the economy. One of his arguments is that the payroll tax isn’t a tax. The Tax Policy Blog makes the obvious reply: Payroll Taxes Are Taxes.

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Your taxes aren’t going up, so stop complaining and pay your higher taxes.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 by Joe Kristan

Back in April, lapsed conservative Bruce Bartlett said the “Tea Party” protesters were just a bunch of partisan whiners with nothing really to complain about:

… it is hard to find evidence that taxes are rising or unusually high… I believe this was largely a partisan exercise designed to improve the fortunes of the Republican Party, not an expression of genuine concern about taxes or our nation’s fiscal future.

But now, in his piece touting the “Value Added Tax,” he says that higher taxes are inevitable:
Obviously, the recent explosion of stimulus spending has made the fiscal problem worse. We are already seeing countries like Great Britain having trouble selling bonds and being warned of downgrades by credit-rating agencies. The U.S. is not immune from such problems, which could cause interest rates to skyrocket, at which point a large tax increase will be politically inevitable. The only question will be how taxes will be raised.

So those Tea Party Yay-hoos with nothing to worry about should just get behind a great big honking value added tax. But remember, they have no real complaints.
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An ideal taxer’s conservative

Monday, June 8th, 2009 by Joe Kristan

Lapsed conservative Bruce Bartlett now advocates a value-added tax as “an ideal tax from a conservative point of view.”
This may be the first in a series from Mr. Bartlett, including:
– Ideal cigars from the point of view of someone with emphysema;
– Ideal pollens for allergy victims
– Ideal Twinkies for fat people
– Ideal whiskeys for alcoholics.
Related: Bruce Bartlett: shut up and pay up, you whiny little people
Via the TaxProf

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