Archive for the ‘Tax reform’ Category

To bring back jobs, don’t cut the the corporate tax rate …

January 25, 2017

Rather, double the corporate tax deduction for workers’ wages earned the U.S. workers.

=======

Let’s start with an interesting analysis from Nate Silver’s  535.com titled Manufacturing Jobs Are Never Coming Back

“It’s understandable that voters were angry about trade. The U.S. has lost more than 4.5 million manufacturing jobs since NAFTA took effect in 1994. And, there’s mounting evidence that U.S. trade policy, particularly with China, has caused lasting harm to many American workers.”

“Manufacturing in particular embodies something that seems to be disappearing in today’s economy: jobs with decent pay and benefits available to workers without a college degree are vanishing. The average factory worker earns more than $25 an hour before overtime; the typical retail worker makes less than $18 an hour.”

“In 1994 there were 3.5 million more Americans working in manufacturing than in retail. Today, those numbers have almost exactly reversed, and the gap is widening. More than 80 percent of all private jobs are now in the service sector.”

image

=======

How can that be?  Aren’t we hearing a lot about “re-shoring” and foreign capital investing in U.S. based manufacturing plants?

(more…)

Even if manufacturing may be coming back … manufacturing JOBS, not so much.

March 23, 2016

Interesting analysis from Nate Silver’s  535.com titled Manufacturing Jobs Are Never Coming Back

There’s no mystery why candidates love to focus on manufacturing and trade.

“It’s understandable that voters are angry about trade. The U.S. has lost more than 4.5 million manufacturing jobs since NAFTA took effect in 1994. And, there’s mounting evidence that U.S. trade policy, particularly with China, has caused lasting harm to many American workers.”

“Manufacturing in particular embodies something that seems to be disappearing in today’s economy: jobs with decent pay and benefits available to workers without a college degree. The average factory worker earns more than $25 an hour before overtime; the typical retail worker makes less than $18 an hour.”

“In 1994 there were 3.5 million more Americans working in manufacturing than in retail. Today, those numbers have almost exactly reversed, and the gap is widening. More than 80 percent of all private jobs are now in the service sector.”

image

=======

How can that be?  Aren’t we hearing a lot about “re-shoring” and foreign capital investing in U.S. based manufacturing plants?

(more…)

Taxes: How about an Alternative MAXIMUM tax ?

April 15, 2013

Interesting idea in today’s WSJ …  introduce an alternative maximum tax.

Here’s the gyst of the idea:

We need an alternative maximum tax as a simple, rough-and-ready way to limit the economic damage of increasing taxes. 

How much is the most anyone should have to pay? When do taxes indisputably start to harm the economy and produce less revenue — when government takes 50% of people’s income? 60%? 70%?

I like half, but the principle matters more than the number.

Once the country settles on a number, each of us gets to add up everything we pay to government at every level: federal income taxes, yes, but also payroll (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) taxes, state, city and county taxes, estate taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, payroll taxes and unemployment insurance for nannies, household workers, or other employees, excise taxes, real-estate transfer taxes, and so on and on, right down to your vehicle stickers and those annoying extra taxes on your airline tickets.

Once this total hits the alternative maximum tax, you’ve done your bit and federal income taxes can take no more.

You compute federal income taxes as usual, but then you get to reduce the “tax due” that the total is less than the alternative maximum.

For the dude’s supporting argument, see the the article America Needs an Alternative Maximum Tax

The plan has some holes, but it has potential …

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma            >> Latest Posts

Gotcha: Here are the nasty 13 tax increases …

January 9, 2013

Here’s a great recap prepped by the Heritage Foundation with links to deeper details …

image

Key takeaways:

  • Everybody is getting nicked … either directly or indirectly … not just the wealth-mongering 2%.
  • Biggest impact is elimination of the payroll tax holiday … which hurts the middle class the most

Read ‘em and weep …

(more…)

Encore: Those %#@! Bush Tax Cuts

December 21, 2012

This Homa FIles brief was originally posted July 23, 2008. It’s long, … loaded with with pivotal facts.

Since expiration of the Bush tax cuts looks increasingly likely, I thought they’re worth another look — just as background

image

On the 2008 campaign trail, candidate Obama broad-brushed all of the Bush tax cuts as “for the wealthy”.

Now, OMB estimates that extending the Bush tax cuts in their entirety would cost $3.7 trillion over 10 years … of that amount over 80% goes to folks making less than $200,000 – $250,000 annually.

In other words, over 80% of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy went to Obama-defined “non-wealthy” folks — some of whom pay income taxes, and many of whom don’t.

* * * * *

Summary: We’ve all heard the rants about the cuts in the top bracket rate, capital gains rate, dividend taxes, and estate taxes.

But, when was the last time that your heard anybody mention the new 10% bracket, larger and refundable child and earned income credits, negative income taxes, elimination of the marriage tax penalty, or expanded college benefits?

Here are the details of the Bush tax cuts  …

(more…)

Background: Here’s a way to raise tax revenues & create jobs.

December 20, 2012

In the fiscal cliff talks, I think that the Feds – both Obama & Congress – are demonstrating “no brain” thinking – working ineffectively on the wrong stuff.

* * * * *
Specifically, in the fiscal cliff talks, practically all of the focus has been on jacking up the marginal tax rates for millionaires and billionaires making more than $250,000
.

Payroll taxes – for Social Security & Medicare – have been largely pushed off-stage.

That’s because both Dems & the GOP seem to agree that the 2% payroll “tax holiday” should be allowed to expire.

That may be true, but I think the payroll tax structure may be the key to hitting the seemingly conflicting objectives of raising tax revenues and creating jobs.

* * * * *
Let’s lay out some basics:

What happens to whom if the current payroll tax holiday expires?

(more…)

Ideas: How to minimize the damage from Obama’s tax grab …

December 19, 2012

I really don’t understand why Obama and Boehner are having such a hard time resolving the “revenue” issue, i.e. raising taxes.

Make no mistake, I’m opposed to raising taxes and then having Team Obama waste the money … both of which are eventually going to happen.

image

First, some background, courtesy of today’s WSJ:

The the budget talks are drifting in a drearily familiar Washington direction: Tax and spending increases now, in return for the promise of spending cuts and tax and entitlement reform later.

The tax increase now being touted as a sign of “compromise” … are still  tax increases, in particular on small businesses that file individual returns.

The Fortune 500 CEOs who are lobbying Republicans don’t mind because they hope to get a cut in the corporate tax rate.

But small businesses will be stuck with a huge immediate tax increase, at least until their owners can scramble to reorganize as corporations instead of Subchapter S companies or LLCs.

OK, so how to break the log jam?

(more…)

TAX WARNING to DINKs: The marriage penalty is coming back …

December 5, 2012

One of the provisions of the Bush tax plan was to eliminate the so-called marriage penalty … the tax rules and rates that had a husband & wife pay more income taxes if they were married than if they stayed single.

I’ve been bemused that in all of the chatter about Obama’s obsession with jacking rates, I haven’t heard anything about the resurrection of the marriage penalty … at least for evil rich millionaire & billionaires who make more than $250,000..

image

Here’s the rub: Obama’s tax hikes apply to individuals earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000.

Let’s do a simple example:

(more…)

Why not separate business income on 1040s?

December 3, 2012

Given Obama’s obsession with increasing tax rates on the “millionaires & billionaires” making more that $250,000 … and, given the GOP’s rhetoric that they want to protect small businesses … I can’t figure out why they don’t just treat business income reported on 1040s differently than ordinary income.

image

Specifically, in a prior post  we said:

  • Separate business income reported on 1040s from all other income … then cap the business income portion at 25% … allow losses to offset ordinary income.
  • Then, since Obama is obsessed with raising rates on “millionaires & billionaires” who make more than $250k, I  add some brackets with high rates for folks making more than $500,00, #1 million, etc

= = = = =

A loyal Homa Files reader – who is a part-owner of a relatively small business — that will have his company hammered by Obama’s proposed tax rate change.

Here’s a paraphrase of his real life perspective:

“Personal income” should be just that, the take-home pay and revenue received by the individual worker and should exclude income listed on the K-1 in the personal tax return.

  • Note: Income from S-Corps, LPs, etc., is conveyed via K-1s.  The “corporate income tax” is, in effect, paid by the equity-holders and partners as personal income.

Example: Say an individual “earns” $250,000 and owns 5% of an S-Corp that earns $5MM

The individual gets allocated $250,000 (5% times $5 million) of the S-Corp’s earnings via a K-! … that $250,000 is rolled into the individual’s 1040 return.

  • Important: the individual didn’t get any cash from the S-Corp, just an allocation of earnings.

Having broken the magical $250,000 threshold, Obama’s tax scheme  would certify the individual as a “millionaire or billionaire” and jack up his tax rates to 39.6% … plus 3.8% in ObamaCare taxes since the income is “unearned”.

Think about that.

The highest corporate tax rate is 35% … the average corporate tax rate is much lower.  Think, GE’s zero-percent rate.

But, under Obama’s plan this small business owner gets slapped with a tax rate of over 44%.

Does that sound right to you?

To make matters worse, the individual didn’t get any cash … just an allocation of earnings.

To pay the tax bill, he has to reach into personal funds … which are probably limited since he’s thrown his dough into the company … or, the S-Corp will have to distribute dividends to partially cover the individual’s tax liability.

If the S-Corp pays out dividends to partially fund the owners’ tax liability, the company has less money to invest in the business.

Does that make any sense?

Thanks to ST for feeding the lead

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma                    >> Latest Posts

What’s the dumbest tax idea being considered?

November 25, 2012

Can’t be sure, but here’s a contender.

image

The NY Times reports:

Congressional negotiators, trying to avert a fiscal crisis and raise “revenue” from the wealthy.

One idea is to tax the entire salary earned by those making more than a certain level — $400,000 or so — at the top rate of 35 percent rather than allowing them to pay lower rates before they reach the target, as is the standard formula.

Under the existing tax code:

  • The first $17,400 of adjusted gross income for a couple filing jointly is taxed at 10 percent.
  • Above $17,400, up to $70,700, income is taxed at 15 percent.
  • Income between $70,701 and $142,700 is taxed at 25 percent.
  • Gross incomes up to $217,450 are taxed at 28 percent. The next bracket, 33 percent, ends at $388,350 for couples.
  • The top bracket hits adjusted gross incomes only above $388,350.

Currently, all taxpayers get the advantage of the lower tax rates below the top threshold, whether they earn $40,000 or $40 million.

Let’s think about this bonehead scheme for a moment.

Say a couple that files jointly earns $399,999.

Their income tax liability would calculated:

  • 15% of the $53,300 that’s between $17,400 and $70,700 … that’s $7,995
  • Plus 25% of the $71,999 that’s between $70,701 and $142,700 …  that’s $18,000
  • Plus 35% of the $257,300 that’s between $142,700 and $399,999 …  that’s $90,055

Grand total $116,050 … for an effective tax rate of 29%.

But, under the rumored scheme, this couple would have an easier tax calculation … their tax liability would be 35% tomes $400,000 … for a grand total of $140,000

Again, think about it ….

By earning $1 more – going from $399,999 to $400,000 – the couple would have their tax liability increase by by 21%$23,950.

Now, that’s some marginal tax rate.

Am I missing something?

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

Per Simpson-Bowles … go ahead and limit the mortgage interest deduction.

November 16, 2012

Since I think Simpson-Bowles will be the template for the fiscal cliff resolution, I’ve been thinking about its provisions … starting with taxes (of course).

image

= = = = =

Mortgage Interest Deduction

Currently, income tax payers who itemize are allowed to deduct mortgage interest subject to some liberal restrictions:

  • Mortgages for both primary and second homes are allowed up to a combined mortgage balance of $1 million
  • Home equity loans— up to $100,000 are allowed with some restrictions on use of the funds

Simpson-Bowles proposed that:

  • The mortgage deduction be eliminated and replaced by a non-refundable tax credit.
  • The non-refundable credit would be equal to the interest on a primary home mortgage up to $500,000
  • No credit would be provided for interest on second home mortgages and home equity loans

Let’s do an example.

Say somebody is holding $1 million in mortgages carrying a 5% interest rate … annual interest paid = $50,000.

  • Under current tax regs, the $50,000 is tax deductible … so, if the taxpayer is in the 35% bracket, the deduction is worth $17,500 in tax savings.
  • Under Simpson-Bowles, only $500,000 of the mortgage qualifies … the imputed  interest on the $500,000 is $25,000 … so, the tax payer – regardless of his tax bracket would get a $3,000 credit against his taxes (12% times $25,000 = $3,000)

On balance, I side with with Simpson-Bowles on this one.

In fact, I’d probably be even more aggressive and phase the mortgage interest tax advantage out entirely over, say, 10 years.

My basic logic: Why should home owners get a tax break that’s not available to the 35% of people who rent the place where they live?

Said differently, why should renters who pay income taxes subsidize my mortgage?

And, it’s hard to say, with a straight face, that vacation homes deserve a tax break.

So, I say: start the process of eliminating the mortgage interest deduction.

What do you say?

* * * * *

Per Simpson-Bowles … go ahead, eliminate the deduction for state & local taxes.

November 15, 2012

Since I think Simpson-Bowles will be the template for the fiscal cliff resolution, I’ve been thinking about its provisions … starting with taxes (of course).

image

= = = = =

State & Local Taxes

Currently, income tax payers who itemize are allowed to deduct state & local taxes.

Primarily, that includes state & local income taxes and local real estate taxes.

I benefit from both.

Still, I side with with Simpson-Bowles on this one.

My basic logic: Why should Federal income tax payers is relatively low tax & spend states (think FL, TX) be forced to subsidize folks in high tax & spend states (think CA, NY, NJ, MD, DC).

If a goal of tax reform is fairness … that’s not fair!

So, I say: eliminate the deduction for state & local taxes.

What do you say?

* * * * *