No one thought tax reform would be easy. It was to be expected that as soon as a plan with any level of detail was announced, the special interests would line up to ensure that their carveouts were preserved. Since simplifying the tax code and eliminating loopholes are key objectives of reform, tax writers need to resist this pressure if there is any hope at all for a plan to make it through Congress. How they handle the misguided effort to preserve the state and local tax (SALT) deduction will likely demonstrate whether sufficient political courage exists to make tax reform a success.
Andrew F. Quinlan | All Articles
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Andrew F. Quinlan
Andrew F. Quinlan is co-founder and president of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.
Thanks to decades of financial mismanagement, numerous state and local governments throughout the U.S. are facing imminent fiscal collapse. On a debt-to-GDP ratio, none is in worse shape than Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, the oversight board created by Congress to help get the island's finances in order has not lived up to its promise. President Trump should use his appointment power to help get it back on track.
Proponents of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act from the libertarian Niskanen Center accused critics in a recent op-ed of misleading about the bill, after previously suggesting we were tricked by fake news, in order to benefit hearing aid manufacturers. They also suggest that the opposition—which they refer to as “conservative,” but also includes libertarian organizations like my own—are overly fixated on the fact that Elizabeth Warren is the bill's lead sponsor and would otherwise be supporting what they insist is deregulation.
Congress is struggling to deal with the slow-motion collapse of Obamacare and put in place a viable alternative, but there are other bills with potential to impact the health and welfare of millions of Americans moving through Congress. Last week the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) advanced legislation to reauthorize FDA user fee agreements that also contained troubling provisions related to hearing aids, and the House is expected to advance it out of committee this week as well.
White House staff recently indicated that President Trump still thinks raising taxes on carried interest is a good idea. On that he can find a lot of agreement—from big government liberals. If nothing else, perhaps the fact that only tax-warfare loving Democrats seem to agree with him on the issue will provide sufficient cause for him to reconsider.
In the waning hours of the Obama administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized a rule to dramatically lower the level of permissible exposure to beryllium in workplaces. This expensive regulation was expanded behind closed doors after its initial public proposal and lacks strong scientific support. It is set to take effect May 20, after President Trump directed agencies to delay for 60 days rules that had been published in the federal register but not yet taken effect. His administration should insist that OSHA reverse the last-minute expansion of the rule, and at the very least follow proper procedures if it wishes to expand it again.
Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress for the first time in a decade. That might not be true for long, however, if they give into the voices within the party and other special interests now calling for a carbon tax. Americans elected Republicans to cut taxes, not to raise them.
Liberal New Yorker and new Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to work with President-elect Trump on certain issues, according to a recent speech. The two go way back, which is cause for concern. One of the issues he singled out as potential common ground is "closing" the so-called "carried interest loophole."
Candidate Donald Trump promised he would "drain the swamp" if elected. Now that's he's officially president-elect, Trump should be careful he doesn't surround himself with self-interested cronies.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is on the warpath against alleged foreign interference in America’s presidential election, but that hasn’t stopped the South Carolina senator from allowing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to get away with killing thousands of Americans on September 11th, 2001.
Media and political pundits are understandably focused on battles over who President-elect Trump will appoint to serve in high-profile Cabinet positions such as Secretary of State. Yet one of the most critical appointments he will have to make will be his selection to head the less glamorous Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The list of people who cowardly accommodated Obama at the height of his power is long. But among crony capitalist “liberal profiteers” of the Obama era, the hospital industry truly stands alone.
Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, combined with a very good election for House and Senate Republicans, has dramatically improved the odds of meaningful tax reform. And there already are serious proposals on the table. Trump issued a plan as part of his campaign, so that presumably will be seen as a starting point. But legislators are also likely to draw heavily on the plan put forward earlier this year from House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady as they work out the legislative details for a tax overhaul.
In addition to choosing between presidential candidates, voters in the state of Washington will be asked on November 8th to decide whether to enact a one-of-a-kind ballot proposal to impose a tax on carbon emissions. How they decide could influence similar attempts across the nation. Those concerned about the environment probably look favorably upon the initiative, but closer scrutiny suggests it should be rejected.
State attorneys generals serve as the chief legal advisers for their respective governments, but over the last two decades have increasingly inserted themselves into national policymaking. In the most recent example, eight AGs signed a letter calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to go even further with its already onerous proposed Small-Dollar Lending Rule. CFPB should ignore their advice and instead scrap the paternalistic regulations altogether.
Contact lenses are big business. A $4 billion industry, in fact. That's not much of a surprise when you consider that an estimated 40 million Americans wear contacts. Also not a surprise: the fact that the industry's biggest players are fighting to use government to limit choice and line their pockets at the expense of consumers.
It was announced this week that one of Elon Musk's companies, Tesla Motors, will buy one of his other companies, SolarCity, for an all-stock deal worth $2.6 billion. The merger was first proposed in June, and now that it has been accepted, is subject to SEC review and majority approval from the independent shareholders of both companies. With the amount of taxpayer support both companies have received, perhaps the rest of us should get a vote, too.
Shortly before the massive 2010 Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law, Congress approved an amendment to the bill from Sen. Dick Durbin that had nothing to do with financial reform. It instead decreed that the Federal Reserve enact price controls on the amount that debit card processors can charge retailers for using their services. Today's Congress should be more responsible and undo this costly and unnecessary market intervention.
The nation is enthralled by an unusual presidential campaign season that has pretty much seen it all. One important thing that has thus far been lacking is a serious legislative agenda to get the economy moving again. For that we now have House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling's sweeping reform of Dodd-Frank, a major roadblock to economic growth. Congress should make enacting his recently announced agenda a priority and force the issue onto the national campaign.