GOP Candidates' Tax Plans Reduce Taxes on Wealthy, Increase Deficits

As the media focuses its attention on the Republican Party’s presidential nominating contest, several tax and budget organizations have taken turns examining the candidates’ tax proposals. In January, Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) released a report looking at the costs of each of the GOP contenders’ plans, and, just recently, the Tax Policy Center (TPC) scrutinized the distributional impacts of the candidates’ proposals. Both reports found that all of the contenders’ tax plans would disproportionately benefit the highest-income households and exacerbate budget deficits.

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Report Highlights Need for Additional Revenue Options

The current top federal income tax rate is 35 percent. But what would the top rate have to be in order to raise enough federal revenues to cover spending? A recent paper from the Tax Policy Center (TPC) and the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative sets out to answer that question, but its answer is incomplete. To bring federal revenues up from their current historic lows, Congress needs to consider more revenue options than just raising individual income tax rates.

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Is the President’s Budget Dead on Arrival? Maybe Not

On Feb. 13, budget season officially began with the release of the president’s budget, which was immediately heralded as dead on arrival. “If there was ever a year to ignore the president’s annual budget proposal, this is it,” proclaimed the National Journal (subscription required). While this may be the fate of the president’s tax proposals, many of the program funding levels in his budget have a chance of becoming law.

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"Do-Nothing" the Best Prescription for Deficit Reduction, but a Bad Approach for the Country

Congress was busy in the days leading up to the winter holidays. At the 11th hour, the fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget finally passed, three months late, along with an extension of the payroll tax cut and a package of other assorted cuts and credits. The only real substantive legislative change coming out of the session was the death of the ethanol tax credit – because Congress failed to pass it. In the year ahead, this might be a theme: change only happens when Congress does nothing.

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Fiscal Policy: The Best and Worst of 2011

Welcome to OMB Watch's year-end fiscal policy review, where we give you a retrospective of the good, the bad, and the ugly of fiscal policy in 2011. Some acts, such as increased contracting transparency, made for enjoyable viewing, while others, like the congressional budgeting process, left us crying for a new script. Read on for our take on the year's highlights in revenue, budgeting, and spending.

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Battling Income Inequality through Smart Surtax Policies

In spite of the media's developing critical narrative of the Occupy movement, Occupy protesters have succeeded in changing the national political conversation from an obsession with debt and deficits to a focus on the growth in income inequality and the concentration of wealth.

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Financial Taxes Can Raise Revenues, May Help Stabilize Markets

The congressional Super Committee, tasked with forging a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction package by Thanksgiving, is currently deliberating on which revenues – if any – to raise and to include in its plan. With Wall Street at the center of the 2008 economic collapse, the committee should look to a pair of revenue options that would fulfill the dual roles of addressing risks to the economy posed by Wall Street and raising much needed revenue: a financial speculation tax and a financial crisis responsibility fee on large financial institutions.

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Obama’s Deficit Reduction Plan Has Room for Improvement

The nation is less than two months away from what could be a seminal moment in its fiscal history. In late November, the new “Super Committee,” formed by the recent debt ceiling deal, will release its set of recommendations to cut the federal budget deficit by $1.2 trillion. In an effort to influence the hectic debate the committee’s recommendations are sure to start, President Obama released on Sept. 19 a $3.3 trillion deficit reduction plan as a package of recommendations for the committee to adopt.

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Commentary: Stronger Estate Tax Should Be Part of Debt Ceiling Deal

Anti-tax ideologue Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and his allies in Congress are calling for repeal of the estate tax. However, as lawmakers look to address our nation’s long-term fiscal dilemma, they should consider the estate tax a key piece of the puzzle and should include a stronger version of the tax in any deal to raise the debt limit.

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Analysis: Rep. Paul Ryan's FY 2012 Budget Resolution

Like all congressional budget resolutions, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-WI) fiscal year (FY) 2012 Budget Resolution is not simply a chart of preferred spending and revenue levels, it's also a political statement guided by ideology. And Ryan's ideology demands that the federal government divert ever increasing sums from middle- and low-income families to big business and high-income families.

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