Business Taxes

Richard Rubin, of The Wall Street Journal, thinks reforming these is not a straightforward proposition. To an extent, he’s right, as business and personal income taxes have become increasingly intertwined with each successive tax reform since Reagan.

The links between corporate and individual taxation inevitably lock policy makers in intractable disputes about popular deductions and the question that divides the parties most bitterly: is the US collecting enough money from wealthy individuals?

But this entangling, or more correctly, the concern about the entangling, simply overcomplexifies the problem.

Budgets

President Barack Obama (D) sent up his budget proposal Tuesday, carefully timed to be buried under the news coverage of the New Hampshire primaries. $4 trillion worth of proposals. It’s replete with the Left’s dreams of tax increases—including a one-third tax on oil (at current prices: a $10/barrel tax with oil now going for $30) and an acceleration of the Left’s tax war on successful Americans—and associated spending claptrap (gotta spend those taxes, after all) like more spending on college subsidies such as Pell Grants, incentives for States to expand Medicaid programs, increased subsidies for the Left’s goals, expanding budgets for the Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Labor, and on and on. This Obama Budget expands the current half-trillion dollar deficit, because gotta spend more than tax revenue, too.

Compromise

The AP had a piece on FoxNewsOnline that, among other things, expressed hope that in President Barack Obama’s (D) last year sitting in the President’s chair, there can be some compromise between him and Congress’ Republican leadership, that the two can work together.

Searching for potential compromise, President Barack Obama brought the Republicans who run the House and Senate to the White House on Tuesday to try to hash out an agenda for his final year, even as his top legislative priorities appear to be losing steam.

Home Buying Down Payment Requirements

The PRC is reducing the size of down payment it requires for a Chinese citizen to buy a home from 25% to 20% of the purchase price. For those who already own a home and haven’t yet fully repaid that mortgage, the mandatory down payment on the purchase of a second home is being reduced to 30% from 40%. This is that government’s attempt to stimulate a slowing economy by inducing more consumption and thereby growing jobs. Supposedly.

The moves, though, raise the question: why is the PRC government mandating this sort of thing at all?

Oh, wait….

EU and Taxes, Again

Brussels on Thursday dusted off a set of proposals aimed at extracting more revenue from multinational companies. Better watch out, because some or all of these measures may become law.

European leaders often complain that multinationals avoid paying a “fair share” of tax. The Anti-Tax-Avoidance Package is supposed to remedy this by changing accounting rules and boosting reporting requirements….

Part of the EU’s beef is that low-tax member nations supposedly are competing unfairly with high-tax members. Another part is that some member nations cut better deals with multinational corporations to influence where these corporations locate their headquarters than other member nations are willing to cut.

More Government Interference

The Obama administration plans to require large employers to peel back the curtain on how much they pay men and women in a push to narrow long-standing earning gaps between the genders.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will roll out details of the plan Friday to begin gathering a summary of pay data from employers with 100 or more workers.

Leave aside the lack of validity of the data so confiscated by the government.

Statisticians and economists note…that analyzing wage disparities is a complex undertaking, and that aggregating data about many occupations is especially tricky.

Economic Progress

Gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic output, expanded at a 0.7% seasonally adjusted annualized rate in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said Friday. The economy had advanced 2% in the third quarter and 3.9% in the second quarter.

That good growth in the two quarters after Christmas holidays followed by slowing growth as those holidays recede into the past—and even as the next such season approaches—is all too typical of the Obama recovery. And a result of President Barack Obama’s (D) economic policies and his explosion in regulations all across the board.

November is approaching, too.

PRC Markets

The PRC stock market tanked again earlier in the week. It’s a broader drop than just a fall in the PRC’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, though.

China’s outstanding margin loans—money investors borrow to buy stocks—declined for 16 consecutive sessions to Jan 22, the longest losing streak on record, with 209 billion yuan ($32 billion) worth of leveraged bets unwound during the period.

“Volume is getting very thin, as there are hardly any fresh inflows, and the process of deleveraging is continuing,” said Chang Chengwei, analyst at brokerage Hengtai Futures [a PRC-based financial investments player].

Empirical Socialism

Bernie Sanders style. You remember him: the Independent Senator from Vermont, Democratic Party Presidential candidate, avowed Socialist, and as of Monday night’s Democratic Party Town Hall “debate” an avowed Democratic Socialist. In that “debate” (because it really wasn’t a debate; the three candidates appeared sequentially and answered carefully selected questions—and not even the same ones), Sanders assured us, one and all, that he really will raise taxes on us if he’s elected President.

From The Washington Examiner we get a list of just how bad his tax increase will be.SandersTaxes

The Supreme Court and Utilities

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the federal government’s ability to spur incentives for industrial businesses, schools and other large energy consumers to reduce power usage at times of peak demand.

The court, in a 6-2 ruling by Justice Elena Kagan, said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acted within its powers when it issued an order in 2011 requiring higher levels of compensation for some power customers that agreed to reduce their electricity use.

The Court likely is right on this, in that FERC’s rule is within the confines of the underlying law. However, this still is the government picking winners and losers, and this still is the government dictating to private enterprise what it must do.