Tax Policy

What's Next for California?

August 26, 2011

The Golden State not only faces unprecedented demographic and economic changes, but does so with a governance system that is fundamentally broken, and arguably incapable of implementing the policy reforms that are so clearly needed. Recognizing this, the New America Foundation joined the What's Next California coalition to convene a deliberative poll with a scientifically selected random sample of California's registered voters.

Drawing a AAA-Road Map for Post-Downgrade America

  • By
  • Marc Goldwein,
  • New America Foundation
August 11, 2011 |

The S&P downgrade late Friday afternoon in Washington kicked off the most anxious and frenetic week in world markets since the Great Recession ended. The rating agency's observation that U.S. politics was broken might have seemed like old news to voters, but to outsiders it was a stunning confirmation that the recovery is all but over and Washington has no clue how to get it back on track. But the panic over the downgrade and subsequent sell-off has glossed over what exactly our AA+ means for the economy, our prospects, and the road back to a sterling rating.

Devil’s Advocate

  • By
  • Megan McArdle,
  • New America Foundation
August 9, 2011 |

If you had known Austan Goolsbee way back when, you might not have expected him to ever chair President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. Even now, at 41, he still looks more like one of his M.B.A. students than like a professor.

Obama’s Era of Decline

  • By
  • Peter Beinart,
  • New America Foundation
August 8, 2011 |

The decision by Standard & Poor's to downgrade America's credit rating marks the clearest sign yet that we have entered a new era in American politics.

In retrospect, the dominant political reality of the Clinton years was the culture war, a struggle over what kind of nation America would be once being anticommunist ceased being a meaningful national identity. Politics in the Bush years was dominated by the "war on terror," the right's effort to reenact the Cold War struggle and the left's recovery of its own antiwar tradition in response.

S&P Rating: How to Get Back to AAA

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
August 8, 2011 |

Oh, AAA credit rating -- we never knew how much we loved you until we lost you. Just one more chance, please!

It's like a bad breakup. The warning signs were there. He starts to nitpick and then complain so much more than when the romance began. Remember when you could do no wrong?

He went along when you demanded all the luxuries in life even though you couldn't afford them. What's a few overextended credit cards when you are having a good time?

And then, he started issuing those self-important warnings? Who does he think he is?

With Downgrade, Now Can We Get Serious About Debt?

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
August 6, 2011 |

You can't say we didn't have a heads up. Just a few weeks ago, S&P said:

"We may lower the long-term rating on the U.S. by one or more notches into the 'AA' category in the next three months, if we conclude that Congress and the Administration have not achieved a credible solution to the rising U.S. government debt burden and are not likely to achieve one in the foreseeable future."

Government Spending Through the Tax Code Is Invisible and Regressive

August 3, 2011

Congress uses the tax code to promote a broad range of policy objectives. Rather than directly spend government revenue on policy programs—or implement new regulation—Congress has enacted a series of tax provisions that effectively subsidize certain politically and socially desirable activities.

These “tax expenditures” take the form of deductions, exemptions, or credits to taxpayers who engage in the targeted activity. From a budgeting perspective, they are treated as foregone government revenue, rather than increased government expenditure.

Debt Deal: We Can, and Must, Do Better

  • By
  • Maya MacGuineas,
  • New America Foundation
August 2, 2011 |

Picture a negotiation with your boss that goes something like this:

You walk in with dynamite strapped to your body and demand a raise.

Nope, he says, no raise -- that's off the table.

Fine, you say, then I am not going to do any work.

I can take that, he says, as long as it goes hand in hand with no benefits for you.

All righty then, you counter, but I'll be stealing office supplies.

Fine. Fine. You shake and you have a deal.

That's how the debt-ceiling deal feels to me.

Now Is The Time For Remaking Tax System

July 29, 2011

(originally published at Fox & Hounds Daily)
You couldn't come up with a better time than right now if you wanted to remake the California tax system.

It won't be easy, but many of the stars are aligned. And no one has more incentive to make such a change happen now than Gov. Jerry Brown.

How the Tea Party Won the Deal

  • By
  • Peter Beinart,
  • New America Foundation
August 1, 2011 |

While the details of the debt-ceiling deal remain fuzzy, this much is clear: Barack Obama may be president, but the Tea Party is now running Washington. How did this happen? Simple: This is what American politics looks like when there's no left-wing movement and no war.

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