7 thoughts on “Hey! Check This Out–Politics and Current Events Edition (2021)

  1. How Biden Funds His Next Bill: Shrink the $7.5 Trillion Tax Gap NYT op-ed by Chye-Ching Huang, executive director of the Tax Law Center at the New York University School of Law.

    Huang’s main idea: Restore proper funding to the IRS, overturning a decade of cuts to the agency. According to Huang, from “2010 to 2019, lawmakers cut the I.R.S. enforcement budget by more than 20 percent.” What would this do?

    Fully funding the agency would defeat tax cheats while raising revenue for critical investments. It would help the overwhelming majority of Americans who want to pay whatever they owe. It would help honest businesses better thrive and compete. And restaffing the I.R.S. through restored funding would help fight corruption and strengthen the rule of law.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, the wealthiest are the prime beneficiaries of the status quo. Estimates suggest that the top 1 percent of filers account for at least 28 percent and as much as 70 percent of the tax gap.

    Also, check out this article:

    Make Tax System Fairer, Easier for Taxpayers While Collecting $1.4 Trillion Owed But Not Paid Bloomberg News op-ed by Charles O. Rossotti and Fred T. Goldberg Jr., two former IRS commissioners, one appointed by a Democrat, the other a Republican.

    In 2019 the tax gap—taxes owed but not paid—was $574 billion. That’s more than all the taxes paid by the lowest 90% of individual taxpayers. If we simply raise taxes without also fixing the system only taxpayers who are already compliant with bear the increase.

    By “building on third-party information reporting to the IRS in ways that do not burden taxpayers and make compliance easer; investing in technology that enables better use of this information; and scaling up but transforming auditing to be far more efficient for the IRS and less intrusive for taxpayers” they believe the IRS will be able to collect “an additional $1.4 trillion over 10 years—mostly from people in the upper brackets who don’t pay all the taxes they owe.” According to the authors, this would be more than Biden’s plan to increase individual income taxes and would increase revenue at the state and local level.

    WaPo columnist, Greg Sargent, makes the great point that when Republican inevitably raise concerns about the budget, Biden and the Democrats should urge them to increase funding to the IRS. Not only will this address the deficit, but according to Huang, “The Treasury Department, for instance, estimated that each additional dollar dedicated to I.R.S. enforcement results in directly recouping about $6 in taxes owed.”

  2. Stimulus Solves Most — But Not All — State and Local Budget Problems from Governing magazine

    Almost overnight, budget shortfalls accumulated over the past year are being eliminated, thanks to the federal largesse. The stimulus includes $350 billion in direct aid to states and localities — $195 billion for states and $130 billion for local governments, with the rest going to territories and tribal governments.

    According to the article, the shorfall for states and local governments is about $56 billion, so federal dollars will cover the shortfall and then some. However,

    State and local officials still have to be careful about how they spend the money. It’s more than enough to fill general fund budget holes in most cases, but lawmakers can’t get giddy and take on ongoing expenses they won’t be able to afford once the federal dollars run out. Few people would bet on another round of relief of this magnitude.

    “This is not by any means a silver bullet to solve our budgetary problems long-term,” says Chris Cate, who chairs the San Diego city council’s budget committee. “The fear that I have is that if we use this money now, without addressing any structural issues that we have, next year we won’t be in the same financial position in terms of federal help, so we’re still facing deficits.”

    I’m thinking: Use the money to address structural issues or invest in one-shot projects (e.g., capital improvement projects).

    The article also features quotes from the Hawai’i House majority leader, Della Au Belatti.

  3. Report confirms treasonous behavior by Republicans

    The details in this should have generated tremendous outrage in our country–on both sides of the aisle, in Washington and throughout the country. The way Republicans used Russian disinformation and the way Trump encouraged Russian help and never said a bad word about them was treasonous. And if that’s too dramatic, I’d like to know a better word. The fact that this happened last year doesn’t mean this isn’t a big deal. It is.

  4. It is an ominous time. So much so, in the weeks following 1/6, and with the attacks on Asians, though not prevalent in my neck of the woods, which is kind of surprising, I seriously considered exercising my 2nd amendment rights, and get a gun. I even went so far as to look up gun sights to find something that meets my needs. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending how you look at it, a lot of these places were out of stock, though if I wanted something pink, I could probably get it. It’s unfortunate, not because I couldn’t get a fire arm, but they are out of stock because others are getting guns.

    It was a scary time, and I think I’m over it now, but for a moment, I felt the need to defend myself and my family, and possibly getting a gun, and if necessary, killing another human being. I don’t know how you come back from that.

    1. I agree we’re living in an ominous time. I understand your reaction, but I’m sad to hear that we got to this point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *