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Linda Beale



Articles by Linda Beale

Trump Administration Continues to Attack the Environmental Projections First Put Into Place by the Nixon Administration

March 14, 2020

Trump Administration Continues to Attack the Environmental Projections First Put Into Place by the Nixon Administration

If you, the reader, are uncertain whether to support Trump or whoever the Democratic candidate turns out to be, I urge you to consider the devastating reduction in protections for clean air, clean water, and clean land (thus also clean air/water and food) under the Trump administration’s ‘hate anything Obama’ approach that has put industry blowhards in charge of the Environmental Protection Administration, an agency created on December 2, 1970 to ensure federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement of environmental protection.

(Image of Trump at West Virginia campaign rally in August 2017, from CNBC article on Trump

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Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Taxes–especially Wealth Taxes and Mark-to-Market of Capital Gains

January 27, 2020

Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Taxes–especially Wealth Taxes and Mark-to-Market of Capital Gains

Not surprisingly for those of you who are members of the ABA Tax Section, there is a meeting of that group next week in Florida when a thousand tax lawyers (give or take a few) will be talking about everything from basis to wealth taxes; GILTI, BEAT, Dual BEIT, to EITC.  Yours truly will be on a panel of the Tax Policy and Simplification Committee, meeting Friday morning, to discuss how the tax system should respond to the wealth gap.  Joining me on the dais will be Roger Royse (moderator and panelist), Rich Prisinzano from the Penn Wharton Budget Model, and Dan Shaviro, Wayne Perry Professor of Taxation at NYU and a blogger at Start Making Sense.  We’ll talk

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Bloomberg’s Plan for Addressing Economic Inequality: not a wealth tax

January 23, 2020

Bloomberg’s Plan for Addressing Economic Inequality: not a wealth tax

A bit ago (Jan 8, 2020), the New York Times described Michael Bloomberg’s plan1 for addressing the income and wealth inequality in the United States that has been a constant topic of discussion by Democratic candidates.  Briefly, as with the robber barons of Teddy Roosevelt’s age, the wealth of the global commerce titans and particularly the private equity fund buyers and sellers of companies (and layers off of employees) has exploded over the last four decades in the US, beginning in earnest with Ronald Reagan’s presidency.  Most of the benefits of productivity gains have gone to a very few people at the top, and the bottom 50% of the wealth distribution actually owns a smaller share

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The Democratic Debate in Des Moines: progressive candidates on means testing versus universality

January 22, 2020

The Democratic Debate in Des Moines: progressive candidates on means testing versus universality

Dana Chasin at 2020 Vision does a good job of encapsulating key issuesthat surface in the Democratic debates.
Let’s get this out first:  most listeners will admit that the debates seem both too long and too short, as mentioned on Stephen Henderson’s Detroit Today program this Wednesday 1/15 morning.  They are too short, because candidates are interrupted at the 30-second time limit and not allowed to develop nuanced, considered answers to questions.  They are too long, because they go on for 2 hours.  I’d add that they are problematic, because the media pundits have their own views of what creates energetic dialogue that makes good ‘copy’ for programming,

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Dan Shaviro (NYU) and Tim Smeeding (WISC) on NPR’s Detroit Today Show

January 17, 2020

Dan Shaviro (NYU) and Tim Smeeding (WISC) on NPR’s Detroit Today Show

For those of you who may not have the opportunity to tune into Stephen Henderson’s radio program Detroit Today on NPR, it might be useful to have a short summary of the January 9 discussion of the “wealth gap” from that program.
Background
Tax lawyers have traditionally talked of the “tax gap”1  and frequently mentioned the growing “income gap” between the top 1% of the income distribution and the remaining 99%, but the “wealth gap”2 discussion among tax lawyers, tax policy thinkers, economic analysts and indeed progressive legislators about the relative net assets of different segments of the population has become increasingly important as people have recognized the trend of

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Trump celebrates his (very expensive) tax cuts for himself and his rich golfing buddies

January 5, 2018

Trump celebrates his (very expensive) tax cuts for himself and his rich golfing buddies

Remember how Trump sold the Republicans’ $1.5 trillion-deficit-creating tax cut plan as a boon for the middle class that was going to create jobs and raise wages?  That was in September, when he told congressional lawmakers at the White House that “The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan.”  See Washington Examiner (Sept. 13, 2017).
Let me repeat that:  Trump said “The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan.” (emphasis added)
No tax lawyer or professor believed that statement.  Nobody that knew anything about the early drafts of the bill believed that statement.  But quite a few Trump supporters have believed that statement.
It wasn’t true.  It was a

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What is the GOP goal? A return to the “gilded age” (or worse)

December 24, 2017

What is the GOP goal? A return to the “gilded age” (or worse)

When right-wing Roy Moore said that the time when America was great was during slavery, he revealed something key to the current GOP members of Congress and state legislatures–their primary goal is to return to a time when owners of property held all the keys to the kingdom and workers were just serfs expected to do as told and whose lives didn’t really matter much to the boss capitalists.
Historian Nancy MacLean suggests that this is the reason for the tax bill’s largesse to corporatists and the wealthy, the reason the GOP wants to undo Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and essentially all the progressive programs introduced in the twentieth century to form the basis for a thriving middle

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GOP Congress: my (wealthy) donors made me do it

December 21, 2017

GOP Congress: my (wealthy) donors made me do it
The GOP’s tax-complicating, deficit-increasing, wealthy-subsidizing, Arctic destroying, Health Care damaging, $1.5 trillion tax “reform” package is unpopular with most Americans, destructive to the government’s ability to fund needed programs from disease prevention to FEMA to basic research to needed infrastructure improvements, and wildly popular with the wealthy GOP donors like the (oil-rich) Koch Brothers, the Mercers, the Wal-Mart heirs, etc.
So why did GOP representatives and senators vote for this bill that most of them hadn’t read and didn’t understand? Back in early November, one Republican in the House was surprisingly honest about his reason: his wealthy GOP donors told him to get the tax bill

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Do GOP House and Senate reps even know what they voted for?

December 21, 2017

Do GOP House and Senate reps even know what they voted for?

The House passed the awful “tax complication bill of 2017” on Tuesday.  The Senate had to make a few changes because it didn’t comply with the Byrd rules, and then will presumably pass it today. It’ll go back to the House where the HOuse will then take the final vote on the Senate changes and send it to Mr. Trump for signature.
The GOP will claim that they have singlehandedly put together a marvelous tax cut package for the middle class.  That is a pack of lies.
The tax cut package redistributes upwards–it is a marvelous cut for the wealthy (the estate tax reductions costing about $200 billion over ten years, the corporate tax reductions (including increased incentives for offshoring while

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The GOP Tax Bill Disses the Working Class

December 17, 2017

The GOP Tax Bill Disses the Working Class

Here’s something about the GOP House and the GOP Senate:  they each passed tax bills (supposed to come out in a “conference” agreement sometime today) that diss the United States’ working class taxpayers.  White or black, Christian or Jew or other, citizen by birth or naturalized citizen–workers are treated as an inferior “taker” class and owners are treated as a superior “maker” class–the same old GOP class warfare that has been evidenced in Republican-driven tax legislation for decades.  That shows in the provisions that have been discussed quite a bit already, even though there is no official distributional analysis and even though the Treasury Department put out a one-pager claiming to provide an analysis

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The text of the GOP tax complication legislation

December 16, 2017

The text of the GOP tax complication legislation

The Republicans, after holding one sham “public hearing” on their conference bill (without any text released) have on late Friday released the text of their (Republicans only) agreed-upon final bill that will be put to a House and Senate vote as early as Tuesday, December 19, even though there is no score from the Congressional Budget Office or analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Here’s the link to the 1097 pages of the tax bill:
http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20171218/CRPT-115HRPT-466.pdf
Here’s the link to the 570 pages of the Joint Conference explanation:
http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20171218/Joint%20Explanatory%20Statement.pdf
(Hat tip to Ellen Aprill for sharing the links with

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The Republican Party’s Heartlessness–the Casualty Loss Provision of the purported “tax reform” legislation

December 16, 2017

The Republican Party’s Heartlessness–the Casualty Loss Provision of the purported “tax reform” legislation

The GOP is cruising towards passage of its class warfare tax legislation that continues the long trend of Republican tax policy to redistribute upwards to the very rich.  The legislation, however, is supported by a small minority of the American public (latest polls put support for the tax legislation at less than 30%). See, e.g., Allan Smith, Polls show key Republicans could get whacked by the tax bill, Business Insider.com (Dec. 4, 2017). That’s astonishing when you consider that one provision in both the House and Senate bills that is used as a “revenue raiser” to pay for the huge tax subsidies to corporations and wealthy taxpayers will be

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The Utterly Terrible GOP Tax “Reform” Scam

December 14, 2017

The Utterly Terrible GOP Tax “Reform” Scam

The Republicans in the House and Senate continue on their downhill rush to pass their so-called “tax reform” plan before the holiday break.  It’s a mad rush to nowhere, a corrupt process of “please the oligarch” that will cause a huge deficit increase (on the scale of $1 to $1.5 TRILLION over ten years) and be used by the Ryan, McConnell and Trump cadre of liars to justify a domino effect of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security cuts.  It is class warfare of the one percent against everyone else.  And it is being sold to the American people with a litany of falsehoods.
Almost all the provisions in the bill are designed to be generous to the ultra wealthy and stingy to the middle class and poor.
Corporations

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Hope Lives: Pressing Collins and Corker and Flake on Tax Bill

December 14, 2017

Hope Lives: Pressing Collins and Corker and Flake on Tax Bill

The Republicans’ proposed tax legislation–whether the House or Senate version–is despicable.  It will exacerbate the already devastating income and wealth inequality in this country, leave the federal government without adequate funds for real infrastructure and social safety net needs, and place in almost inviolable power the wealthiest oligarchs of the country (and even the good ones exert a power that no one should possess in a democracy).
My previous posts on this so-called “tax reform” “simplification” package (it is neither) have outlined a number of pernicious provisions in the bills.  There are a few I haven’t mentioned, such as the likely inclusion of taxation of tuition benefits to

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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s Forked Tongue on Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

October 22, 2017

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s Forked Tongue on Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

Shortly before the inauguration, Steve Mnuchin discussed the incoming administration’s tax plans and announced the Mnuchin Rule–that “[a]ny reductions we have in upper-income taxes will be offset by less deductions so that there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class.”   EXCLUSIVE: Steve Mnuchin says there will be ‘no absolute tax cut for the upper class’, CNBC Squawk Box (Nov. 30, 2016).  At the same time, he argued that those who foresaw a tax cut for the rich accompanied by a tax increase for many in the middle class were wrong:  “When we work with Congress and go through this, it will be very clear.  This is a middle-income tax cut.” Id.
Contrast that with the so-called

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The Times Handles the Trump Tax Cut Framework with Kid Gloves

October 12, 2017

The Times Handles the Trump Tax Cut Framework with Kid Gloves

There’s been a good bit written about the Trump tax cut framework released just over a week ago.  Most of it points out, as I have here and here, the absurdity of the claims by Trump and GOP spokespeople that this isn’t a tax cut aimed at benefiting the ultra wealthy.  After all, even with few details and no attempt to deal with the really tough issues that would face real tax reform considerations, it is awfully clear that almost everything in the package is designed to make the wealthy even wealthier.
Just a quick review of the way the proposed tax cuts exclusively or primarily benefit the ultra wealthy:
elimination of the estate tax, which taxes fewer than 2% of the estates, those that have

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The Tax-Cut Framework Won’t Create Jobs and Digs the Inequality Ditch even Deeper

October 11, 2017

The Tax-Cut Framework Won’t Create Jobs and Digs the Inequality Ditch even Deeper

Marcus Ryu, a self-described Silicon Valley entrepreneur who created, with others, a company now worth $5 billion on the New York Stock Exchange, argues in today’s Op-Ed section of the New York Times that “Tax Cuts Won’t Create Jobs“, NY Times (Oct. 9, 2017), at A23 (the title in the digital edition is different from the print title:  Why Corporate Tax Cuts Won’t Create Jobs).  He is right.
The tax cuts proposed in the framework set out by the Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress claims to be pursuing economic growth that will benefit ordinary people (Trump’s purported base).  These claims are based in part on claims that  U.S. taxpayers (individual,

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Part of Patriotism is Paying Taxes

October 6, 2017

Part of Patriotism is Paying Taxes

As Americans, we pay taxes to allow our government to support important activities that we as individuals or individual businesses either can’t do at all or can’t do as successfully.  Both individuals and businesses benefit from government, so that paying taxes is a wonderful exercise in patriotism.
For individuals, the idea of paying taxes as patriotism may be obvious to many of us, because we think that taxes are an obligation of citizens to support and pay for the many things that the government does that we cannot do ourselves, from running a military defense system to supporting basic research into diseases, helping people and cities and states hit by natural disasters (like Texas and Florida and Puerto Rico),

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Right Wing Propaganda Tank IPI Likes the Trump Tax-Cuts-for-the-Rich “framework”

October 4, 2017

Right Wing Propaganda Tank IPI Likes the Trump Tax-Cuts-for-the-Rich “framework”

There’s no surprise here.  The Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) is a right-wing “think” (i.e., propaganda) tank that has consistently argued for tax policies that favor multinational corporations and the wealthy.  So IPI has a posting on Sept 29 that is supportive of the so-called “tax reform framework” put out by the Trump administration.
As an earlier post noted here, the Trump framework is a wish list for the wealthy, providing one tax cut for the ultra rich after another:
elimination of the estate tax (that only affects the heirs of estates worth more than $11 million);
territoriality (that advantages multinational corporations that actually operate from the U.S.

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Trump’s Refusal to Release His Own Tax Returns and California’s Legislature

October 1, 2017

Trump’s Refusal to Release His Own Tax Returns and California’s Legislature

As most everyone is aware, Trump has refused to release his tax returns, breaking precedent with decades of presidential candidates and president’s release of tax returns.  Even Dick Cheney,  grumpy corporatist veep, released his tax returns.  I had fun using them as the raw material for an introductory course in federal income taxation where we looked at the returns to understand how the various “lines” correspond to items specified in the Code (like “adjusted gross income” and “miscellaneous deductions”).
Trump, however, used various excuses, none of them particularly strong, to say he “couldn’t” release his returns.  The main excuse was that his returns were under audit.  Of

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Trump’s “Give the Rich a Break” Tax Plan

September 30, 2017

Trump’s “Give the Rich a Break” Tax Plan

National GOP leaders on Wednesday released a 9-page document that they called a tax “framework” (available here on the Washington Post site) describing in vague terms how they intend to cut taxes for the nation’s wealthiest people while doing very little that serves the government needs. Overall, the GOP framework would amount to about $2.2 TRILLION in less revenue to support federal programs (like protecting the environment from corporate pollutants, supporting higher education loans for students, funding basic university research) (assuming $5.8 trillion loss to lowering rates and shift to territorial system and maybe $3.6 trillion recouped by eliminating as yet unspecified deductions).  See GOP proposes deep

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