The latest monthly Treasury report on taxes and spending shows that gross tax receipts in February were $1.4 billion higher than the year before. Weren’t the Republican tax cuts supposed to explode the deficit?
According to the report, the government took in $238.2 billion in taxes in February. The year before, tax revenues were $236.8 billion.
For fiscal year 2018, which started last October, taxes are up $50.5 billion compared with the same months last year, and are at a record high level for this five-month span.
The report does show that net receipts were lower in February compared with last year, but the main reason is that individual income tax refunds jumped $13.3 billion, while corporate tax refunds went up $4 billion, neither of which is the result of the tax cuts that took effect in January.
Even so, net receipts are up by $29.6 billion for the current fiscal year — a 2.4% increase — compared with the same period last year. That’s also a record high. (See nearby chart.)
Does this mean tax cuts are “paying for themselves”?
Not exactly. Income taxes collected in February were down $2.5 billion from last year — reflecting the new withholding tables. Corporate income tax collections, however, were essentially flat.
But remember, income taxes are hardly the only source of revenue for the federal government. And a faster-growing economy means more money pouring in from these other sources.
Payroll taxes, for example, are dependent on the number of people working and their wages. In February, the economy added 313,000 jobs, unemployment levels are now at or near record lows, and wages are climbing.
As a result, payroll taxes brought in $1.5 billion more in February than they did last year, and are up $11.4 billion this fiscal year. Federal excise taxes and customs duties are up $3.8 billion and $1 billion, respectively, this fiscal year.
What these numbers do show is that all the hand-wringing about the impact of the tax cuts on federal deficits was based on wildly exaggerated estimates of revenue losses, which failed to take into account the fact that a faster growing economy would offset at least of the lost revenue. That’s a point we’ve made repeatedly in this space.
In contrast, tax hikes almost always bring in less revenue than expected, because they dampen economic growth.
Democrats once understood this truism. It was JFK, after all, who said in 1962 “it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low — and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now.”
Today’s Democrats, in contrast, uniformly opposed the Trump tax plan, and are now pushing to repeal most of it so they can spend an additional $1 trillion on government make-work infrastructure projects.
Their plan has no chance of being enacted, but at least voters will have a clear choice this November.
Brian Ellis • Investor’s Business Daily
Employers have until Thursday to implement new tax withholding guidelines, which determine how much they withhold from pay for federal taxes.
Fortunately for many Americans, job creators are already seeing lower rates and distributing larger paychecks. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin estimates more than 90% of working Americans will see greater take-home pay because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s new withholding guidelines.
It’s further proof that tax cuts are working for the middle class. To date, more than 330 U.S. employers have publicly announced tax-induced wage hikes, 401(k) increases, and generous bonuses. While Apple and Wal-Mart grab the headlines, many beneficiaries of the Republican tax bill are small businesses, which account for two-thirds of new jobs in the country.
Missouri-based Dynamic Fastener, a construction hardware supplier, is rewarding employees with bonuses of up to $1,000, while also opening a paint shop, buying new equipment and Continue reading
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The Treasury Department plans to eliminate nearly 300 outdated tax regulations, getting tax rules off the books that in some cases have not applied since the 1940s.
The department announced its proposal to eliminate unnecessary tax regulations this week, in compliance with two executive orders signed by President Donald Trump last year to reduce regulatory burdens and simplify the tax code.
“We continue our work to ensure that our tax regulatory system promotes economic growth,” said Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “These 298 regulations serve no useful purpose to taxpayers and we have proposed eliminating them.”
“I look forward to continuing to build on our efforts to make the regulatory system more efficient and effective,” he said. Continue reading
By Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in December, is projected to push GDP growth higher than previously expected. Growth is forecast to rise to 2.7 percent in 2018, according to a report from the International Monetary Fund.
The changes from tax reform are expected to add to economic growth through 2020 so real GDP will be roughly 1.2 percent higher than it would be without tax reform.
The IMF previously projected that GDP would increase by 2.3 percent in 2018 and 1.9 percent in 2019. The group now projects GDP will increase by 2.7 percent in 2018 and by 2.5 percent in 2019.
“The growth forecast for the United States has been revised up given stronger than expected activity in 2017, higher projected external demand, and the expected macroeconomic impact of the tax reform, in particular the Continue reading
By Tripp Mickle • Wall Street Journal
Apple Inc. AAPL 1.65% said it would pay a one-time tax of $38 billion on its overseas cash holdings and ramp up spending in the U.S., as it seeks to emphasize its contributions to the American economy after years of taking criticism for outsourcing manufacturing to China.
The world’s most valuable publicly traded company laid out its plans Wednesday in a statement that was full of big-dollar figures, though it said that much of the money reflected Apple’s current pace of spending.
Apple said it would invest $30 billion in capital spending in the U.S. over five years that would create more than 20,000 jobs. The total includes a new campus, which initially will house technical support for customers, and $10 billion toward data centers across the country. It also will expand from $1 billion to $5 billion a fund it established last year for investing in advanced manufacturing in the U.S.
All told, Apple said it would directly contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years, with the bulk—about $55 billion this year, for example—coming from ongoing spending on parts and services from U.S. suppliers. That number also includes the federal tax payment and capital spending.
By Dan McLaughlin • National Review
The Republican tax plan has a lot of moving parts, but its centerpiece is a major long-term cut in corporate taxes. American businesses have been eagerly anticipating these cuts, and 2017’s strong stock performances were driven in part by an expectation in the market that they were coming. Liberal critics are apt to downplay the impact that corporate tax rates have on the competitiveness of American business — but the news from around the globe suggests that our economic competitors are very aware of the threat that the “Trump tax cuts” will lure more business back to the United States, or stem the departures of existing businesses, unless they take steps to keep up.
China: The Chinese government may not share America’s view of how to stay competitive, but it recognizes that the Republican plan improves America’s position. From the Wall Street Journal:
In the Beijing leadership compound of Zhongnanhai, officials are putting in place a contingency plan to combat consequences for China of U.S. tax changes as well as expected interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve, according to people with knowledge of the matter. What they fear is a double whammy sapping money out of China by making the U.S. a more attractive place to invest.
by Alfredo Ortiz • Real Clear Politics
Pending tax cut legislation will eliminate the federal income tax burden on the average American family earning $59,000 a year. It will halve the tax bill for the average family earning $75,000. And it will allow the overwhelming majority of small businesses to protect nearly one-quarter of their income from taxes.
That’s the bottom line of the tax bill that needs to be said up front.
Given the critical media coverage of the bill, these benefits have largely gone overlooked. Rather than reporting on its provisions to double the standard deduction, double the child tax credit, and eliminate the 15 percent tax bracket in favor of a vastly expanded 12 percent rate, media coverage has claimed the bill is a gift to the rich. Rather than reporting on the new 23 percent tax deduction for small businesses earning less than $500,000 a year, media
coverage has claimed the bill is a budget buster.
That’s a shame because these benefits would bring long overdue relief to hardworking taxpayers who have borne the brunt of the slow growth Obama economy from which the country is finally emerging. Continue reading
By Glenn Kessler • The Washington Post
“On average, middle class families earning less than $86,000 would see a tax increase under the Republican ‘tax reform’ plan.”
— Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), in a tweet, Oct. 27
“The average tax increase on families nationwide earning up to $86,100 would be $794.00”
— Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), in a tweet, Oct. 24
“Under GOP plan, U.S. families making ~$86k see avg tax increase of $794.”
— Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), in a tweet, Oct. 24 Continue reading
By Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
President Donald Trump’s tax reform framework could raise GDP by as much as 5 percent and wages by as much as 7 percent, according to a new study from Boston University economists.
“We find that, depending on the year considered, the new Republican tax plan raises GDP by between 3 and 5 percent and real wages by between 4 and 7 percent,” the economists explain. “This translates into roughly $3,500 annually more annual real take-home pay for the average American household.”
Economists believe this growth can happen due to the plan’s aim to reduce the marginal effective corporate tax rate from 34.6 percent to 18.6 percent, which they believe will grow the capital stock by 12 to 20 percent. Continue reading
By Peter Roff • USNews
Serious people are starting to wonder if tax reform can pass, largely because they’re only talking to people inside Washington.
Instead they should talk to the American people. Most of them are hungry for it. A quarter of small business owners surveyed by CNBC/Survey Money said taxes were the most critical issue they currently face. Overall it’s their No. 1 concern and, since small business is the engine of growth in the U.S. economy, that’s an important consideration.
Things have improved since Election Day 2016, but the economy is still not growing like it needs to if we are to have hope of ever paying down the national debt, now equal to about one year’s U.S. GDP. Continue reading
by Peter Roff • Washington Examiner
Though America has prospered since the end of the so-called “great recession,” the economy has grown by so little it’s hardly worthy of mention. The boom that began under Ronald Reagan ended with the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage industry. The country is no longer moving. Something must be done to get things going again.
The answer to our problems is simple. America needs tax reform to get moving again. There are a number of good, serious proposals out there from the Hall-Rabuska flat tax to the “Better Way” plan being pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan. None of them is perfect but they’d all produce lower rates by eliminating deductions and credits. They’d all make the system simpler, and they’d all goose the economy to get annual growth in U.S. GDP where it should be, around three or four percent annually if not higher. Continue reading
by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
Sixteen CEOs from large companies are urging Congress to enact comprehensive tax reform that would end a tax on domestic production and make companies in the United States more competitive globally.
CEOs from companies such as Dow Chemical, Pfizer, Caterpillar, Boeing, and General Electric have written a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) urging them to make the U.S. tax code more pro-growth and lower rates for businesses so they can actively compete with global competitors.
“We recommend enacting comprehensive pro-growth tax reform to remove a major impediment to economic growth—our outdated tax code,” the CEOs said. “We have the highest business tax rate in the developed world and are one of the few countries that taxes business income on a worldwide basis.” Continue reading
How Congress, Trump rework the tax code without abandoning conservative principles
Imagine going to your boss with your personal budget. The list would include things you want to spend money on, such as: your home, car, groceries, dining and entertainment projections, vacation plans, charitable giving goals, etc.
Now picture telling your boss he must fund your planned budget. You don’t bother to discuss your value to the company, but rather demand he fully fund your personal budget.
This is a difficult conversation to imagine because the real world doesn’t work that way. We don’t get paid based on what we want our personal budget to be, but rather the value we provide. Then based on what we receive, we budget accordingly. Yet, big government demands that it play by a different set of rules. Continue reading
Rep. Brady touts tax code built for growth
by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Tuesday that his two top priorities for the coming year are tax reform and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
At the Wall Street Journal‘s CEO Council meeting, Brady said President-elect Donald Trump is making economic growth the pillar of his presidency and that these two issues will play key roles.
“We have two overarching goals in tax reform,” Brady said. “We want a tax code not merely designed to wring money from you, which is the one we have today, [but] a tax code actually built for growth, designed to grow wages, jobs, and the U.S. economy.”
“Our other goal is to leapfrog America from dead last among our global competitors back into that lead pack, and keep us there going forward,” he said. Continue reading
Returning to a system of taxation without representation where a European power taxes Americans is unacceptable.
The European Union (EU) has ruled that Apple, one of the world’s top technology companies, must pay $14.5 billion in taxes to Ireland, despite the fact that Ireland has determined that Apple has paid all the taxes it owes.
You read that right.
The nation of Ireland has reviewed Apple’s tax filings and has determined that Apple has paid 100% of the taxes it owes under Ireland’s tax code. But the EU has stepped-in and said that Ireland doesn’t understand its own tax laws, that Ireland’s review of Apple’s taxes is incorrect, and that only EU bureaucrats in Brussels can understand Irish tax law and Apple’s tax filings.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, described this EU ruling as “total political crap.” Tim Cook is quite frankly being very kind in his characterization. The truth is — this is far worse than that. Aside from the hubris of a bunch of pointy headed bureaucrats in Brussels telling Irish tax authorities that they don’t understand their own tax code, this is actually an attempt to legalize grand theft robbery. At the very least, the EU is now officially in the shakedown racket.
No wonder Brexit was a success! What sane individual would want to belong to this group of lawless gangsters pretending to be an overarching cooperative governmental entity?
Some Americans might privately say that while this is unfortunate for Apple, it isn’t my problem. But the truth is — this is our problem because the EU is effectively reaching into your pocket to grab this taxes.
You might think that Apple will pay this taxes, not you. But this overlooks the fact that if Apple is forced to pay extra taxes by the EU, it can legally and properly record that paid taxes elsewhere on its US tax returns — because no business is required to pay taxes on its profits multiple times. Once is enough. So in the end, the EU is actually reaching into our pockets and taking money from us.
As U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said yesterday, “I have been concerned that [the EU’s decision] reflected an attempt to reach into the U.S. tax base to tax income that ought to be taxed in the United States.” Secretary Lew is being very diplomatic. The more frank way of saying that is the EU is trying to steal from US taxpayers.
Here is the truth — the EU sees a successful American company and wants to reach into its bank account. It isn’t a lot different than when a thief spots a businessman in a nice suit and targets him for a mugging. The EU’s avarice knows no bounds and so it will use any pretext — even claiming that Ireland does not understand its own tax law — to impose additional taxes. In the process, the EU in effect robs Americans of $14.5 billion.
If this stands, the EU will be reaching into American pocketbooks and wallets every year in greater and greater amounts to pay for their excesses and their failed top-heavy, oppressive regulatory regime model of government. This is precisely why Brexit was a success despite the lies used to defeat it. If Europeans like this system, they can have it. But we must stop them from forcing Americans to fund their choices.
American leaders need to stand up and be crystal clear that this will not stand. This is not Apple’s problem. It is our problem. The EU has found a way to make Americans foot the bill for the EU’s extravagant waste. We must put a stop to this now. There can be no compromise. This is an act of bare and raw criminality and theft hidden behind fancy European accents and official EU letterhead. But if it is allowed to stand, soon Americans will be heavily taxed by foreign powers simply because we allowed it to happen.
Being taxed by a European power across the Atlantic with whom we have no representation takes us backward to before 1776. Let’s not sit by and let that happen.