John Cochrane's blog
Mitt *might* not be your typical tax payer....
a typical small business has approximately the same amount of pages to hand in
I have prepared and reviewed thousands of small business tax returns and none of them have had ever had more than 50 pages, unless you were to attached printouts of the general ledger and journals, which would be senseless.
Takes a lot of pages to get out of paying your fair share. Cheaper to pay the accountant than your fair share, though. So, efficiency wins, right? Isn't the complex tax code for millionaires a market maker for tax accountants?
Did you mean to say it takes a lot of pages to comply with the tax laws?
What is Romney's "fair share" or is this just your hackneyed way of saying "screw anyone richer than me"? You certainly can't say "screw the rich" because you and everyone else living in the Western world are rich.
I've read reports that GE's tax return was 57,000 pages, though I'm taking their word for it, since I didn't count them. Those same reports say the firm paid virtually no federal tax.
While I think the complexity of our tax code can be called many things (and one can certainly can make a good argument for simplicity) I don't think the complexity of it is in itself any way "sick." What's "sick" is that the extremely wealthy can get away with paying less to the government as a % of income than a lowly grunt like myself while lobbying to cut the social safety nets and aid to the poor.
Hello Carl, You sound bitter, and I'd like to help you. I will ask a simple favor of you: to review some statistics of which you may be unaware.Perhaps you compare your tax situation to Romney's well-publicized tax rate of ~15%. And perhaps you've heard that Buffet's secretary pays a higher rate than he does. These comparisons certainly play well politically, but the numbers on the whole tell a very different story:The Tax Foundation (taxfoundation.org) compared the total amount of taxes paid to the total amount of income over the various income ranges. This analysis yields the absolute effective tax rate by income range, which incorporates all exceptions and deviations, like Romney and Buffet.A quick summary: under $100k, 8% or lower. 100-199K, 12%. 200-500K, 19%, 500-$1 million, 24%, 1 million and over, 25%.So while the media will buffet us (ha! see what I did there?) with reports of these filthy rich bastards cheating everyone, it is simply not the case: The wealthiest on average pay higher tax rates, which of course means they pay a progressively heavier burden than lower earners. There will be exceptions, but it's disingenuous if not dishonest to focus on them. I don't know about you, but I don't have time to compare my taxes to the other 150 million filers.By the way, what IS your tax rate? My wife and I, filing jointly, paid $19k in fed income tax on $144k AGI, just over 13%.One more thing - Buffet's poor, tax-oppressed secretary? She owns a second home in sunny Arizona with a pool and putting green;)
ugg, sorry for the typos
John, you are right. Not only is the tax code sick but the poor are responsible. They have lobbied Congress all these years for all the loopholes for the rich that make up the Code.How about a little honesty for once. The tax code shows how sick the practice is of permitting corporations and the wealthy to lobby. Do that and you get: the current IRS tax code.
Corporations lobby to get favorable treatment - shocking. It's like you've never heard of public choice before. The problem is compliant politicians who are more than happy to dole out political favors for huge campaign contributions and fancy trips to the Bahamas.The US tax code abomination isn't the result of corporations, but corrupt politicians.
Well, yeah, the tax code is complicated, very, very much so. That's the difference between Economics and Political Economy. It is the Economist's task to turn the policy-maker's attention to inefficient and resource wasting policies, and suggest better ones.Noboy else will do it, as the Great Arnold Harberger said so eloquently in his famous 1988 speech "The Economist and the Real World" (speech given in Chile).But, alas, policy-makers and politicians live in a different world; they live in a vote purchasing world, and voters very sheepishly comply. Voters like their little tax credits, tax deductions, tax favors. And voters again and again vote for it. Such a second (third?) best world is simply the price of democracy, because politicians will never, EVER, give up their power to purchase votes this way, and voters, sadly, will never, EVER, give up their willingness to *be* purchased in exchange for such favors.That's it. We can publish as many papers as we wish in JPE, JPubEc, Econometrica, it won't make a difference.
The 547 pages is a reflection of the complexity of Romney's affairs and his pursuit of various tax loop holes. I agree that those tax loopholes should be closed so Romney can file a short return and pay 40% tax.
Why not just making the taxes payed the result of an exponential function applied on the money earned?PSDid it ever happen in the history of the US to have a president who, before becoming president, earned almost the same income of a public middle-school teacher of the same epoch?
Ah, the 1040 return is nowhere near that long, the PDF with loads of attachments is only 203 pages. Some of the pages had less than a dozen words on them (some strange pages from Goldman Sachs accounts).I copied the essential federal pages for a tax class and it was about 40 pages. It could of been even shorter (the computer kicked out multiple Schedule Cs).Yes, the trust returns are long, but THEY ARE RICH, and they use aggressive planning strategies.Facts please?
I may vote for Romney (in the hope that the John Taylors of the world then start militating for monetary stimulus). But Romney is so removed from average Americans who does not seem to understand that having Cayman Island bank accounts does not pass the smell test. And none of his sons (who he drags around the country) ever served a day in the military.So, except for paying taxes or serving his sons up for GOP-inspired wars, Romney is a super-patriot.And Romney is abjectly seeking approval from fundamentalists who regard his Mormonism as cultish.
Comments are welcome. Keep it short, polite, and on topic. Thanks to a few abusers I am now moderating comments. I welcome thoughtful disagreement. I will block comments with insulting or abusive language. I'm also blocking totally inane comments. Try to make some sense. I am much more likely to allow critical comments if you have the honesty and courage to use your real name.