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    Spam and Taxes

    ... On the surface, taxing [Internet] spam is a wonderful idea. Spam clogs the Internet, wastes our time just deleting it and continues because it makes money since you only need a few people so gullible or addled that they believe some Nigerian wants...

    Tim Johnson, Kristi Noem, and the Importance of Moderates to Tax Reform

    by Jeremy Scott Another Senate Democrat is retiring. South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson will not seek a fourth term in 2014, leaving an open seat that Republicans will be heavily favored to pick up. Johnson's retirement brings the total number of Democrats...

    'Legal Enemies of the State'!

    How does that old Wall Street saying go? Bulls make money; Bears make money; Pigs get slaughtered. Bulls in this context are easily defined, and so are Bears. Money can be measured. But it seems to me that piggy behavior is in the eyes of the beholder...

    Senate Democrats Abandon the Estate Tax

    by Jeremy Scott The most progressive tax in the United States is also one of the most unpopular. Thanks to Republican-led efforts to characterize it as a death tax, the estate tax is almost universally reviled in Congress and by voters. To emphasize...

    It's Not Too Late for a War Tax

    In case you needed another reason to support a special war tax, try this on for size: The United States is still paying veterans' benefits to the children of Civil War soldiers. According to the Associated Press , two survivors are each receiving...

    America May Be on the Wrong Track, But Is Paul Ryan's the Right One?

    ... [S]adly for today's GOP, they have more than a few [bad ideas]. Take Paul Ryan's budget plan , for instance. ... Ryan runs into serious problems when he starts suggesting ways to make the tax code simpler. In particular, his emphasis...

    Things to Read, Sites to Visit

    I decided to share some of my favorite tax resources on the web. The Minnesota Taxpayer's Association has changed its name (after 87 years!) to the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence . The MTA under the direction of Mark Haveman has been one of...

    A Moral Obligation to Aggressively Lobby

    In the United Kingdom a great debate is taking place about aggressive tax avoidance. On one side, David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister, says it is immoral . On the other side, most executives say they have a duty to their shareholders, and most...

    The True Meaning of Sequestration

    [Sequestration] is not about spending cuts; the White House doesn't want spending cuts. Sequester is about taxes, and, specifically, tax increases. President Obama wants rich people to pay more because they don't pay their fair share - whatever...

    Cap-and-Trade or Carbon Tax?

    If you saw the SOTU address earlier this month, you heard President Obama renew his plea for a 'market based' solution to our climate change crisis. That comment triggered a heated policy discussion among my environmentalist friends. What does...

    Taxing the Rich, Thenardier-Style

    by Jeremy Scott The popular musical Les Miserables is back. The film won three Oscars Sunday (including one for best supporting actress), and the show is now touring before it reopens in New York in 2014. But the influence of Les Miserables doesn't...

    A Century of Soaking the Rich

    ... Americans will celebrate - or mourn - the 100th birthday of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution . On February 25, 1913, Secretary of State Philander Knox formally certified ratification, establishing once and for all that Congress had the to power...

    The End of an Era -- And Your Taxes Are Going Up

    An era is coming to a close. Since the dawn of electronic commerce, the famous Quill case cast a pall over state public finance. We in the business know the story well. If a vendor did not have a physical presence in a state, that vendor could not be...

    Simpson-Bowles Try Again

    by Jeremy Scott ... [T]he details of the Simpson-Bowles plan, originally released in December 2010, have gradually become distorted - so much so that even reform efforts supposedly inspired by the commission's report aren't all that similar...

    ... A Menace to the State

    by Alvin D. Lurie * The full quotation, of which the above title is a segment, goes "Every law not based on wisdom is a menace to the State." It is graven in stone on a pillar outside the entrance to the storied courthouse of the New York...

    Guns and Tax Returns

    Earlier this month, a district court judge for the District of Columbia basically shut down the IRS's registered tax return preparer program . The purpose of the program was to better regulate hundreds of thousands of people who prepare tax returns...

    Corporate Tax: Why Disclosure Is the Key to Reform

    Two columns of interest emerged today [January 31, 2013] on the issue of corporate tax disclosure, plus another interesting public hearing in the UK, this time with the big four in the hot seat. Put all of this together and we can see very clearly the...

    Stifling Lefty - Political Correctness in the Tax Debates

    Phil Mickelson, the great golfer, caused quite a stir recently when he said (and this is really all he said) that the new higher taxes at the federal level and in his home state of California " doesn't work for me right now ." ... Mickelson...

    The Income Tax Is Inquisitorial - Get Over It

    Apparently, the Italians have found a way to make their unpopular income tax even more unpopular . In the face of rampant cheating, they've adopted a new enforcement technique. Now, instead of just pawing through paychecks, bank statements and the...

    Wipe-Out - What Surfing and Our Tax System Have in Common

    ... Tax Analysts and Pepperdine School of Law held a symposium on federal income taxes... titled "Tax Advice for the Second Obama Administration," (you can watch the video here) but it could have been called "What's Wrong with Our Tax...

    Permanent Insanity

    Things have been positively dizzy in Washington since the New Year - dizzy from all the spinning coming from Democrats and Republicans on how they saved us from the fiscal cliff. My personal favorite: we now have a permanent tax code. Even the great,...

    Fiscal Surrender

    As part of the discussion about the budget time bomb that Congress tied around itself, and the rest of us, is a debate on what to call it. Is it a fiscal cliff or more like a fiscal slope (and a slippery one at that)? Maybe it's gone to another stage...

    The Rich Will Pay for Our Sins

    More and more Republicans in Congress are distancing themselves from their promise never to raise taxes. In fact, it's been "Throw Grover Under the Bus Week" in Washington. I am no fan of the pledge never to raise taxes. It's not...

    Decoding the Fiscal Cliff

    By Alvin D. Lurie November 29, 2012 Decoding The Fiscal Cliff By Alvin D. Lurie November 29, 2012 Executive Summary The waning days of 2012 and of President Obama's final days of his first Administration provide him and the Democratic...

    Charity vs. Taxes and the Destruction of the State

    From the FT this week, a story on John Paulson's $100 million donation to the Central Park Conservancy. The article focuses on the idea that charitable organizations can step in for government to provide public goods, and why that idea is pernicious...