(1 comments) Friday, April 12, 2019 Two days in Tennessee in 1953: A racial memory
I was an innocent abroad when, as a 17-year-old in 1953, I made my first trip into the South. I probably learned more American history in those two days than I'd learned up to then. Trouble is, I didn't really feel smarter; I just felt a whole lot sadder.
(5 comments) Thursday, March 7, 2019 Wall Street mini-tax could raise maxi-revenue
Believe it or not, the tiniest of taxes could raise hundreds of billions for the Treasury: a financial-transactions tax, "FTT" for short. The Congressional Budget Office, using estimates worked up by the Joint Committee on Taxation, put the number at $777 billion for the decade 2019 - 2028. The United States had one before, and just maybe could have one again.
(26 comments) Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Our counterfeit Social Security crisis
Everybody (well, everybody on the Right) would have you believe that Social Security is doomed. Nonsense: it could on for the next 75 years, without a single change, and still pay three-quarters of scheduled worker benefits. All the same, America's changing demographics mean that it's once again time for an overhaul. The sooner we get to it, the fairer it'll be for everybody.
(4 comments) Sunday, December 2, 2018 America's rigged tax collection system
The vast majority of American workers have their taxes withheld and their incomes reported to the IRS by their employers. There's a whole other category though: self-reporters. They tell the IRS what they made, what their expenses were, etc., etc. The results have been a fiscal disaster for the federal government--and for all other taxpayers too, who ultimately have to make up what self-reporters don't pay.
(3 comments) Sunday, November 4, 2018 Tax reform: down with the 'stepped-up basis'
Capital gains tax breaks are a major driver of inequality in America. This is especially true today, when ever-greater shares of income are coming from capital rather that labor (wages and salaries). This article calls for the repeal of an egregious but surprisingly little-known tax break: the so-called "stepped-up basis".
(24 comments) Tuesday, September 11, 2018 One tiny tax reform, billions for America
Retirement account are the only ones that repay the Treasury for tax breaks. Congress should apply the required minimum distribution rule to all accounts. It's a tax reform that would raise billions (and ultimately tens on billions) every year.
(10 comments) Thursday, May 3, 2018 What Donald Trump did to me
The Trump presidency puts a daily cloud over the heads of millions of Americans. This personal account from one of the afflicted shows that the problem is shared all across the political spectrum. The piece also gives the author's own recipe for coping.
(1 comments) Wednesday, March 21, 2018 Stately, Fred and Central Park mornings
An extra layer of pixie dust has fallen on New York's Central Park. According to reliable sources, the park now contains a talking tree and a talking statue. They only add, of course, to the magic the park regularly provides. See the article for all the details.
(1 comments) Wednesday, November 1, 2017 A Tax Plan to Hate on
The Trump-GOP tax plan would deliver huge benefits to the top and little or nothing to anybody else. It richly deserves (pun intended) all the scorn it's been getting. It also deserves, and let's hope it gets, a humiliating defeat.
(1 comments) Saturday, August 12, 2017 Magic money working magic on 401(k)s
401(k)s and other defined contribution plans appear to be doing better by workers than the defined benefit plans they've largely replaced. A key reason is magic money: savings built up by stock market investments, compounded by decades of tax-sheltered capital gains and dividends.
(4 comments) Monday, May 22, 2017 The book that uncovered 'wealthfare'
Income inequality was far from the public mind during the prosperous 1990s. Two writers, looking deeper, saw government policies redistributing income upward, taking billions from the lower rungs and shifting it to the haves. Well ahead of their time, they wrote the book that uncovered "wealthfare"
(1 comments) Tuesday, March 14, 2017 Keeping America's retirement promise
A GOP rule opens the door to a liberal reform: tax-advantaged retirement accounts for millions of low- to middle-income workers. Over half the labor force lacks access to such accounts. The rule would help Congress make them available, and keep America's retirement promise.
(3 comments) Monday, February 6, 2017 It's time to end "wealthfare"
There's no lack of articles on the amount of money the federal government spends to help low-income Americans. Here's a story that looks at it the other way around: how much money the government spends to enrich the rich.
(1 comments) Friday, December 23, 2016 One Tax Policy Americans "Yugely" Favor
By a margin of nine-to-one, Americans favor equal taxes on income from investments and income from wages and salaries. That was the policy way back when, under President Ronald Reagan.
(5 comments) Friday, September 16, 2016 Dad's Turn to Do the Family Planning
America should end its silence on vasectomy, and instead tout its advantages for final-phase family planning. Birth control isn't just for women; in fact, at the end, you might even call it a man's job.
(1 comments) Thursday, February 4, 2016 America's gold mine for the golden years
Our retirement system gets constant criticism. Here's the eye-opening other side, including a way of shoring up Social Security.