On Wednesday, Jeb Bush announced his plan for overhauling the US federeal income tax. It’s a mixture of innovative ideas, standard GOP tropes, and wishful thinking, but it’s also the most concrete plan that any of the presidential candidates have put forward. I’m not going to spend a ton of ink on the specifics—I don’t think I can say much more in that respect than the Tax Policy Center did[fn1]—but I want to address a couple things in his proposal.
First, Bush argues that, “[a]t 80,000 pages, it’s a tax code only an army of tax accountants and lobbyists could love—because they’ve written it.” And he’s absolutely right—an 80,000-page law would be totally and completely unwieldy.
Halfway through an extensive post on Hillary Clinton’s new tax proposal, announced Friday, I managed to lose the whole thing. Which is fine, I guess, because, while giving a lot of details about her proposal, and about capital gains in general, I wasn’t writing what I find really interesting about it: the fact that it is neither radical nor conceptually new. Continue reading
This week, Jeb Bush released 33 years of tax returns, going all the way back to 1981. By way of comparison, in 1996, Bob Dole, released 30, and in 2004, John Kerry released 20. And McCain and (Mitt) Romney, when they were the GOP nominees, released just 2. Carter and Reagan released one each, and Humphrey and McGovern didn’t release any.
Which is to say, 33 is a lot of tax returns.
And what can we learn from Bush’s transparency? Continue reading
Ornette Coleman died today.
I don’t have any idea how resonant his death is in American culture. I don’t know what pictures the words “Ornette Coleman” conjures up in your mind, if any. But I hope to add a little to that picture.
In 1959, Coleman released The Shape of Jazz to Come.[fn1] Continue reading
Tax Analysts may be the most important magazine publisher you’ve never heard of. Founded in 1970, it publishes Tax Notes, a weekly compilation of tax news and analysis, and an indispensible read to tax practitioners, policymakers, and academics alike.[fn1]
For those of you not steeped in the world of tax practice and policy, that may not seem like such a big deal. But it is: in addition to reporting the news, Tax Analysts has had a real and significant impact on the public’s relationship to the IRS. Continue reading
It’s my understanding that, if I wanted to capitalize on this weekend’s Super Bowl game and optimize my search engines, I’d do a post about what time the game starts. That, though, doesn’t strike me as an interesting question. (Also, there’s no reason to ask me, when Google will tell you without your having to click a link.)
But the game does raise a couple interesting non-start-time questions, and I thought I’d address two of them here. Continue reading
So mostly this blog is about tax. But I don’t spend all of my time thinking about tax: sometimes, I think about music. And, as 2014 comes to a close, I thought it would be worth laying out my top five albums of the year.
These aren’t necessarily the best albums of 2014—though my number one pick is, unequivocally, the best album of 2014—but they’re all great albums, and albums I find myself returning to over and over.[fn]
Of course, being a law professor, I have to add some complexity in. So there are six albums in my top five, plus three that might have made it only I haven’t listened to them enough, plus one that, while not in my top five, is probably the most interesting conceptual listen of the year that is also terrific fun to listen to.
And, without further ado: Continue reading