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Taxes & Trade Archive

Don't Let Tax Reform Keep Students Out of Dorms | Commentary

Recently, Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, started rebuilding the tax code from scratch, aiming to eliminate all existing tax breaks and loopholes. As the code gets rebuilt, the tax benefits associated with Section 529 college savings or prepaid tuition plans could be at risk of being eliminated. 529 plans are designed to encourage early saving for future higher-education expenses, and the tax benefits are an important part of their increasing popularity and success — it is critical that the tax benefits for 529 plans remain intact.

Farm Bill Negotiations to Continue Into September As Expiration Looms

Sen. Jeff Flake in a colloquy before lawmakers adjourned for their August recess helped Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow lay down her markers for shaping a final farm bill, or, failing that, another extension of the 2008 farm bill, by questioning continued payments for cotton farmers.

Facilitate, Don't Complicate, U.S.-India Trade | Commentary

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., during his recent visit to India, addressed the key issues that stand out for policymakers on both sides of the U.S.-India relationship, noting that protection of intellectual property, limits on foreign direct investment, inconsistent tax dues and barriers to market access are the “tough problems” between the two countries. He went on to add that they will “have to be negotiated and worked through in order to meet the potential of this relationship.”

With True Tax Reform, Details Matter | Commentary

In a Washington that has been defined for years by die-hard partisanship and stark policy differences, conceptual support for a sweeping reform of our tax code has been a rare point of agreement. And this is with good reason. Drastic reforms are necessary to ensure American growth in the years ahead — especially since the U.S. corporate tax system is among the worst in the world.

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Obama's 'Grand Bargain' Tax Plan Is Hard Sell to GOP

Lawmakers regarded President Barack Obama’s latest attempt to engage them on an economic proposal as largely irrelevant Tuesday, with neither Democrats nor Republicans viewing it as an actual step forward toward breaking their ongoing budget impasse.

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14 Things You Need to Know About Obama's New 'Grand Bargain'

1. It’s not particularly grand. Nor is it necessarily a bargain. Or even new. It’s mostly a repackaged offer of proposals the president has offered before.

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The Baucus-Camp Tax Road Show Faces Obstacles

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — Give them credit for this much: The top congressional tax writers are doing their level best to push for an overhaul of the nation’s outdated tax code.

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GMO Soybeans Are Speed Bump in EU Trade Deal

Scientists started working back in the 1990s to genetically engineer a soybean that’s oil would be free of artery-clogging trans fats, a product farmers think will appeal to consumers as well as food-makers and fast-food chains.

Keeping the IRS Out of Your Health Care | Commentary

The scandals surrounding the Internal Revenue Service continue to grow. We now know that President Barack Obama’s handpicked chief counsel of the IRS was aware of his agency’s malfeasance. With this revelation, the shaky narrative originally pushed by the administration — that all blame lies with a few meddling staffers in the Cincinnati office — has come crashing down around them. This scandal implicates officials at the very highest levels of the IRS.

Blank Slate Tax Reform: Make Competitiveness the Top Priority | Commentary

The Senate Finance Committee is slated to receive comments on Sens. Max Baucus’ and Orrin G. Hatch’s “blank slate” approach to tax reform later this week. No doubt many senators will share their views about which provisions of the tax code must be preserved and which should be eliminated.

Scrapping the Tax Code to Generate Savings | Commentary

What’s the first step to revising America’s low saving rate? Cut out all the current incentives for savings enshrined in the tax code. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Recently, Senate Finance Committee leaders Max Baucus and Orrin G. Hatch endorsed this radical approach to tax reform by vowing to wipe the code clean and start over with a blank slate.

Why Take Away America's Incentive to Give? | Commentary

As lawmakers take on the gargantuan task of reforming our tax code, teams of lobbyists have already begun to line up to defend tax credits and exemptions that support special interests. There is one group of Americans, however, who do not have access to lobbyists and lawyers. They are the 1 in 5 American children who currently live below the poverty line. And a vital source of support for them may be in serious jeopardy.

A Not-So-Bright 'Fix' for the IRS | Commentary

As Congress and the Department of Justice continue investigating the IRS scandal, there is growing recognition in Congress of the need to fix the laws or regulations that facilitated the agency’s targeting of ideological nonprofit groups. Recently, a panel of experts calling itself the Bright Lines Project presented a 32-page recipe for reform (“Finding Congressional Solutions to the IRS Scandal,” June 14). Despite its apparent good intentions, in practice, the proposal would insulate elected officials from public opinion and pressure. Members of Congress committed to the First Amendment should reject this guidance, which would make a bad situation worse.

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Murray Presses for Pre-August Bipartisan Budget Talks

Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray wants Republicans to engage in budget negotiations to replace the sequester before the August recess, saying bipartisan talks provide the only way for the parties to agree on higher defense spending levels.

Energy Policy and Tax Policy Are Inseparable | Commentary

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama championed our nation’s energy policy and reaffirmed his goal of cutting net oil imports in half by the end of the decade. He said, “Today no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy. After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to control our own energy future. ... We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. ... We produce more natural gas than ever before and nearly everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it.” Three months later, the president released his budget proposal, which eliminates tax incentives for the oil and gas industry, calling them “tax giveaways.” The president might achieve his goal of ending what he calls “oil subsidies that keep us trapped in the past,” but he will do so at the expense of sound energy policy.

Regional Lines Divide Aging Demographic Patterns

The aging of the American population is a decidedly different story from region to region.

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In Spending Debate, Baby Boomer Issue Remains a Headache for Legislators

When Congress created Medicare in 1965 to handle the health care needs of the older population, less than 10 percent of Americans were old enough to collect Social Security and the new medical benefit.

A Bipartisan Opportunity for Jobs | Commentary

From the Buckeye State to the Evergreen State, Americans want their elected officials to focus on supporting economic growth. And, wouldn’t it be nice if Democrats and Republicans worked together for a change?

Keep Tax-Exempt Groups Out of Politics | Commentary

The recent problems at the IRS have been characterized in many ways and criticized across the political spectrum. Some of this criticism has been fair (and necessary), but this situation has also been used to demonize an entire agency for action taken by a small number of employees. These employees acted not out of malice or partisanship, but in an effort to do a job the public should never have asked them to do in the first place. Let me continue to be clear about one thing: Any kind of IRS inquiry, scrutiny or harassment based on political ideology has no place in this nation and some of the IRS employees acted wrongly. Rather than continue a worthless political witch hunt, however, we should be asking why this happened and searching for solutions to prevent it in the future.

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Boehner Seeks Spending 'Cuts and Reforms' Greater Than Debt Limit Increase

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, pushing back against White House demands for no-frills legislation on the federal borrowing cap, is calling for another round of spending cuts beyond the sequester as part of any agreement to raise the debt limit.




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