Fiscal Slope: Time to Go to Conference on Taxes?

By: Saturday December 1, 2012 11:27 am

The advantages of going to conference committee include the fact that the finished product returning becomes non-amendable (though it can still be filibustered in the Senate). You can fast-track the conference report onto the floor without going through the committee process. And most important to me, you can provide some transparency in these negotiations that has been lacking. Conference committees are often pro forma processes, with the real work going on behind the scenes, but members of the conference committee still have to vote on any changes, in public view.

A conference committee will at least create a forum for the debate in public rather than in cloistered back rooms.


The Fiscal Cliff Is Not a Cliff

By: Wednesday October 10, 2012 11:45 am

The word “cliff” does a lot of work here. If there is a drop-dead date, a point of no return where the unwinding of the damage would be too great, then the sense of urgency generated by the Gang of Eight would make more sense. But it actually doesn’t work that way. The economy won’t fall off a cliff, but amble down a slope, in a way that allows for much more deliberative conversation about the best practices for the economy today, not just in the future.

Tax Extenders Pass Senate Finance Committee

By: Sunday August 5, 2012 7:40 am

One man’s loophole is another constituent’s hard-won credit, and that person has someone in Washington lobbying on their behalf to keep that credit intact.

House Republican Tax Plan Would Enact Process to Radically Alter Tax Code

By: Sunday July 29, 2012 11:30 am

In the coming days, the House will pass a tax bill that would extend the Bush tax cuts entirely for one year. This stands in slight contrast to a Senate-passed bill that extends the same tax cuts for the first $250,000 of income. But what I didn’t realize is that the House bill will also set up a mandated process for tax reform that would weaken the rules of the Senate in an attempt to fast-track the effort.

The reason that the extension only lasts one year is because of this tax reform process, unveiled by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp.

Democrats Support Multiple Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

By: Friday July 27, 2012 11:36 am

One problem with talking about the “Bush tax cuts” is that they incorporate much more than just the individual income tax marginal rates. Among other things, you have the changes to the estate tax. And so today, House Democrats plan to introduce an estate tax measure that would freeze the tax at 2009 levels.

Senate Democrats Wrestle with Lame Duck Session Options

By: Monday June 11, 2012 8:45 am

Do Democrats have a plan for dealing with the fiscal “cliff”? Based on interviews I conducted at Netroots Nation with four members of the Senate Democratic caucus — Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Ben Cardin, Jeff Merkley and Sherrod Brown — it seems they have far more than one.

Administration Continues Election-Year Push on Buffett Rule

By: Tuesday April 10, 2012 8:45 am

As they search for a attractive agenda, the Obama campaign has latched on to the Buffett rule, the alternative minimum tax for millionaires, as a key campaign plank. The fact that they will face Mitt Romney in November, someone who pays less than a 15% effective tax rate, doesn’t hurt either.

Hidden Dangers Makes Fiscal Cliff More Treacherous

By: Friday April 6, 2012 3:00 pm

With a Jewish holiday coming up tonight thoughts turn to what I should be neurotic about. Matt Yglesias says I should freak out about Europe, and he’s right. But that’s been the case for two years. And the powers that be over there are religiously opposed to the proper steps to take to end the crisis. In short, seen it! So what’s next?

Senate Democrats Line Up Message Votes on Tax Fairness

By: Sunday January 29, 2012 5:00 pm

I don’t know if anything’s going to get done in Congress in 2012, but one thing is becoming clear – Senate Democrats will try to put Republicans up against the wall on taxes. They already have on the record multiple instances of Republicans voting almost in unison against millionaire’s surtaxes. Now we’ll see votes on fossil fuel subsidies and that alternative minimum corporate tax the President mentioned in the State of the Union and other tax fairness issues.

Look-Back on Administration Economic Policy Reveals More Missteps

By: Monday January 23, 2012 12:00 pm

We’ve seen several retrospectives of the Administration’s actions to deal with the economic crisis in 2009-2010, and Ryan Lizza has a new one in the New Yorker. His recounting of the memos and exchanges between Larry Summers and Obama add to the view of Summers inducing Obama to pull his punches for political reasons, ensuring the stimulus would be too small.

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