Friday, March 11, 2011

Ways and Means Democrats: Let's Add New Debt

Leading Ways and Means Democrat Sander Levin (MI) has submitted H.R. 992, the Building America Jobs Act, to support bonds enabling $181 billion in infrastructure spending. The bonds would subsize spending at about 30% on hospitals, water and sewer systems, intracity buses and similar infrastructure assets and continue tax incentives for Recovery Bonds, municipal water and sewer bonds and low-income housing.

Apparently Mr. Levin did not get last November's memo on the present level of Federal spending and Federal debt. While many of the proposed items may have value in a vacuum, the present U. S. financial position hardly qualifies as a "vacuum" these days.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Tea Party Likes Tax Simplification

Accounting Today reports that reforming the Internal Revenue Code to make it simpler and easier to understand has gained support about Tea Party activists and a number of key conservative Republican lawmakers. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has proposed the "End Tax Uncertainty Act" which would eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and make the "Bush" tax cuts of the past decade permanent. This goes beyond the AMT proposals of heavy-hitters Mike Pence (R-IN) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) but Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Georgia Republicans Saxby Chambliss and Bob Woodall would go even farther and eliminate the present income tax system, probably replacing it with a national sales tax. Democrats have some proposals of their own, most of which either provide tax savings for schoolteachers or raise taxes on high-income taxpayers.

Tax simplification is certainly an attractive proposition given the present state of the IRC and associated regulations and court results. That said, it is only slightly cynical to say "I'll believe it when I see it."

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