Tax Complexity Marches On

The gist of this post is so obvious, it’s hardly worth writing.  But I sometimes find myself unable to remember specific examples of April income tax silliness when I’m discussing the need for fundamental tax reform at election time.  So here are some of my favorites from this year’s Maryland return. Read the rest of this entry »

Where Are We Going? And What Are We Doing in this Handbasket?

On the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought perhaps I could use my latest bumper sticker purchases to substitute for commentary I haven’t been writing. Here’s a pretty good summary:

Nothing-changed

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The Case for Fundamental Tax Reform (Reposted)

The following was originally posted on April 15, 2008:

It’s April 15, and like many Americans I just finished spending much too long trying to figure out what I owe in federal and state income taxes. What better day could there be to consider the need for fundamental tax reform? Read the rest of this entry »

If Paul Krugman Hates It, How Bad Can It Be?

I probably don’t know enough to have an intelligent opinion about this, either, but I think the administration’s new version of cash for trash shows improvement.  I would prefer to see more funding from the private sector; indeed, I would prefer 100% private funding.  But if by hypothesis the government has to take the leading role, perhaps the small amount that will be required from private bidders under this program will work like economic pixie dust and make it all fly.

Paul Krugman hates it, and so does Joe Stiglitz.  And by  a freakish coincidence, I learned of their disapproval just after reading a section of Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money that mentions them both. Read the rest of this entry »

Five Quick Thoughts on the New and Improved, This-Time-We-Really-Mean-It Stimulus Bill

It’s a big day for bailouts, and there’s too much happening for us to look at any of it in depth.  But here are five quick thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »

Closing the Money Hole

The bailout debate almost defies parody.  Almost.

Five Things About the Economy on Which We Should All Be Able to Agree

So, another day, another plunge in stock prices, another wave of aspiring moochers descending on Washington, and another God-knows-how-many billions set to be doled out under the Treasury’s “TARP” program.  (“TARP” is an acronym, of course, which stands for “Totally Arbitrary Rewards and Penalties.”  The goal of the program is to render unreliable the economic signals that have guided business activity for centuries, like interest rates, or profits or the lack thereof.  By replacing these traditional signals with totally arbitrary rewards and penalties, policy makers can simultaneously pretend to “rescue” one group after another while vastly expanding their power over the livelihoods of private citizens.)

Treasury Secretary Paulson, who in September told us that buying troubled assets from investment banks was the only way to avoid a total financial meltdown, now says that buying troubled assets was not the only way; in fact it wasn’t really a very good way after all so it’s time to try something different.  Read the rest of this entry »