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  • Backgrounder posted September 23, 2016 by David R. Burton, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Financial Privacy in a Free Society

    Privacy, both financial and personal, is a key component of life in a free society. Unlike in totalitarian or authoritarian regimes, individuals in free societies have a private sphere free of government involvement, surveillance, and control. The United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights, particularly the Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments, together with structural…

  • Commentary posted July 15, 2016 by David R. Burton The Treaty to End Financial Privacy

    Don't judge a treaty by its title, no matter how bureaucratically mundane it may sound. Exhibit A: The Protocol Amending the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. The U.S. Treasury Department is marketing the agreement as just another tax treaty, because such treaties are usually positive or benign. But this is no ordinary tax…

  • Issue Brief posted May 16, 2016 by Nicolas Loris Congress Should Rescind Unused Qualified Energy Conservation Bond Funds

    In an era of record deficits, Congress should explore every opportunity to save taxpayer money. One funding stream Congress should cut immediately is Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs). The federal government uses a number of policy tools to favor the production of one energy source over or another and subsidize or mandate energy efficiency. One such mechanism,…

  • Commentary posted February 26, 2016 by Romina Boccia At the Debt Limit: Congress Should Focus on the Real Budget Crisis

    So now we know. In 2013, the administration intentionally misled Congress to “maximize pressure.” Treasury officials and President Obama claimed that if the government reached the borrowing limit, it would have to delay payments indiscriminately, across the board. It was unworkable, they said, to prioritize spending. They were using the threat of default to push…

  • Commentary posted September 21, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Milking Banks For Highways, Part II

    Its August recess over, Congress must get down to business. And one key piece of unfinished business is the highway-funding bill. Congress has mishandled the Highway Trust Fund for decades. And since 2008, it has spent more money than it takes in for highway projects. Unfortunately, they’ve consistently handled the problem by employing their favorite solution: find…

  • Posted on May 2, 2014 by Laura Trueman IRS Watchdog: Obamacare Personal Data Not Secure

    As the federal government continues to implement Obamacare, the IRS is the next federal agency to handle the personal...…

  • Posted on March 17, 2014 by James Roberts Treasury Is Misinforming the American Public about Ukraine and IMF Reforms

    A U.S. Treasury Department spokesperson blogged last week about “Why IMF Quota and Governance Reforms are Urgently...…

  • Commentary posted March 3, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The IRS Tries to Stifle Internal Dissent

    Thursday was the deadline for filing public comments on the IRS’s proposed rule to restrict political activity by 501(c)(4) organizations. Unsurprisingly, the IRS website was flooded with last minute comments. When the bytes had settled, the agency discovered it had received a total of more than 140,000 comments. The vast majority condemned the new rules. Among the…

  • Posted on February 21, 2014 by Michael Sargent By How Much Did Congress Increase the Debt Ceiling? Hint: It’s a Trick Question

    Just a few weeks before President Obama releases his budget proposal to boost deficit spending for the remainder of his...…

  • Posted on January 16, 2014 by Bryan Riley U.S. Trade Deficit: Made in Washington, D.C.?

    The Treasury Department recently reported that China and Japan are the largest foreign holders of U.S. government...…

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  • Commentary posted March 3, 2014 by Hans A. von Spakovsky The IRS Tries to Stifle Internal Dissent

    Thursday was the deadline for filing public comments on the IRS’s proposed rule to restrict political activity by 501(c)(4) organizations. Unsurprisingly, the IRS website was flooded with last minute comments. When the bytes had settled, the agency discovered it had received a total of more than 140,000 comments. The vast majority condemned the new rules. Among the…

  • Center for Data Analysis Report posted August 17, 2006 by Tracy Foertsch, Ph.D., Ralph A. Rector, Ph.D. The Treasury Department's Dynamic Analysis of President Bush's Tax Relief Plan: A Summary and Evaluation

    The recent publication of "A Dynamic Analysis of Permanent Extension of the President's Tax Relief"[1] marks an important and informative de­parture for the Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It is the OTA's first public attempt to do a dynamic analysis of a major legislative initiative-the President's proposal to make permanent…

  • Backgrounder posted December 7, 2006 by Tracy Foertsch, Ph.D. Dynamic Analysis at Treasury: What Are the Next Steps?

    The President's fiscal year (FY) 2007 budget sub­mission to Congress includes a number of important initiatives. Among them is a plan to create a Dynamic Analysis Division within the Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Dynamic analysis gauges the impact on federal tax revenues of the changes in output and incomes induced by changes…

  • Commentary posted July 15, 2016 by David R. Burton The Treaty to End Financial Privacy

    Don't judge a treaty by its title, no matter how bureaucratically mundane it may sound. Exhibit A: The Protocol Amending the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. The U.S. Treasury Department is marketing the agreement as just another tax treaty, because such treaties are usually positive or benign. But this is no ordinary tax…

  • Commentary posted September 21, 2015 by Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Milking Banks For Highways, Part II

    Its August recess over, Congress must get down to business. And one key piece of unfinished business is the highway-funding bill. Congress has mishandled the Highway Trust Fund for decades. And since 2008, it has spent more money than it takes in for highway projects. Unfortunately, they’ve consistently handled the problem by employing their favorite solution: find…

  • Commentary posted February 26, 2016 by Romina Boccia At the Debt Limit: Congress Should Focus on the Real Budget Crisis

    So now we know. In 2013, the administration intentionally misled Congress to “maximize pressure.” Treasury officials and President Obama claimed that if the government reached the borrowing limit, it would have to delay payments indiscriminately, across the board. It was unworkable, they said, to prioritize spending. They were using the threat of default to push…

  • Issue Brief posted May 16, 2016 by Nicolas Loris Congress Should Rescind Unused Qualified Energy Conservation Bond Funds

    In an era of record deficits, Congress should explore every opportunity to save taxpayer money. One funding stream Congress should cut immediately is Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs). The federal government uses a number of policy tools to favor the production of one energy source over or another and subsidize or mandate energy efficiency. One such mechanism,…

  • WebMemo posted April 22, 2010 by James L. Gattuso Senator Dodd’s Regulation Plan: 14 Fatal Flaws

    The Senate is expected to take up a proposal, originally authored by Senator Chris Dodd (D–CT), to reform the financial regulatory system in the U.S. The goal is clear: to minimize the chances that another financial crisis—and bailouts—will arise again. The objective is a good one. Unfortunately, the 1,408-page bill includes numerous provisions that would hurt—not…

  • Backgrounder posted November 2, 2011 by J.D. Foster, Ph.D. True Tax Reform: Improves the Economy, Does Not Raise Taxes

    Abstract: There is little dispute that the current federal income tax is in real need of an overhaul. The heart of tax reform 2011 is to achieve a stronger economy through the adoption of a more economically neutral tax system featuring much lower marginal tax rates. But current discussions of tax reform have been mistakenly caught in the debate over how to cut current…

  • WebMemo posted April 26, 2010 by David C. John Dodd Bill Fails to Fix “Too Big to Fail”

    Supporters of the Dodd financial regulatory bill list as one of its key virtues that it “solves” the problem of financial institutions that are seen as being “too big to fail.” Unfortunately, this is not the case. While the bill passed by the Senate Banking Committee includes a faulty mechanism for closing financial institutions whose failure could damage the entire…

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  • Backgrounder posted September 23, 2016 by David R. Burton, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Financial Privacy in a Free Society

    Privacy, both financial and personal, is a key component of life in a free society. Unlike in totalitarian or authoritarian regimes, individuals in free societies have a private sphere free of government involvement, surveillance, and control. The United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights, particularly the Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments, together with structural…

  • Issue Brief posted May 16, 2016 by Nicolas Loris Congress Should Rescind Unused Qualified Energy Conservation Bond Funds

    In an era of record deficits, Congress should explore every opportunity to save taxpayer money. One funding stream Congress should cut immediately is Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs). The federal government uses a number of policy tools to favor the production of one energy source over or another and subsidize or mandate energy efficiency. One such mechanism,…

  • Backgrounder posted September 3, 2013 by Nicolas Loris Advanced Energy Trust Fund: Tying a Good Idea to a Bad One

    Senator Lisa Murkowski (R–AK) recently released draft legislation outlining her idea of an Advanced Energy Trust Fund. The trust fund would create a new stream of revenue for the Secretary of Energy to spend on basic and applied research for new energy technologies—with funding coming predominately from oil and gas production on federal lands currently off-limits to…

  • Issue Brief posted February 29, 2012 by Curtis S. Dubay Obama’s Budget Badly Undercounts Tax Hikes

    President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal explicitly claims a $1.561 trillion tax hike over 10 years, as reported by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).[1] This is a vast understatement, because that figure fails to account for all of the President’s tax increases and improperly claims credit for reducing tax receipts from tax cuts that are not…

  • Backgrounder posted November 2, 2011 by J.D. Foster, Ph.D. True Tax Reform: Improves the Economy, Does Not Raise Taxes

    Abstract: There is little dispute that the current federal income tax is in real need of an overhaul. The heart of tax reform 2011 is to achieve a stronger economy through the adoption of a more economically neutral tax system featuring much lower marginal tax rates. But current discussions of tax reform have been mistakenly caught in the debate over how to cut current…

  • White Paper posted November 1, 2011 by Patrick Louis Knudsen, Emily Goff Appropriations Tracker: FY 2012

    The FY 2013 version of the Appropriations Tracker is available here. Download a PDF version with hyperlinks to House and Senate Appropriations Committee documents: Appropriations Tracker: FY 2012 Designed to inform American policymakers and citizens, the Appropriations Tracker: FY 2012 monitors the progress of appropriations bills as they move through the…

  • WebMemo posted April 26, 2010 by David C. John Dodd Bill Fails to Fix “Too Big to Fail”

    Supporters of the Dodd financial regulatory bill list as one of its key virtues that it “solves” the problem of financial institutions that are seen as being “too big to fail.” Unfortunately, this is not the case. While the bill passed by the Senate Banking Committee includes a faulty mechanism for closing financial institutions whose failure could damage the entire…

  • WebMemo posted April 22, 2010 by James L. Gattuso Senator Dodd’s Regulation Plan: 14 Fatal Flaws

    The Senate is expected to take up a proposal, originally authored by Senator Chris Dodd (D–CT), to reform the financial regulatory system in the U.S. The goal is clear: to minimize the chances that another financial crisis—and bailouts—will arise again. The objective is a good one. Unfortunately, the 1,408-page bill includes numerous provisions that would hurt—not…

  • WebMemo posted December 12, 2008 by Andrew M. Grossman, James L. Gattuso TARP: Now a Slush Fund for Detroit?

    With the Senate's rejection of a bailout for Detroit's ailing automakers, there comes word that President Bush is actively considering using funds allocated by Congress for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to prop up the automakers for the time being.[1] Such action would be legally wrong, economically wrong, and counterproductive to turning around…

  • WebMemo posted November 14, 2008 by James L. Gattuso, David C. John, J.D. Foster, Ph.D. TARP and the Treasury: Time to Allow Markets to Work

    Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson recently announced yet another change in direction of the "Troubled Asset Relief Program" (TARP), sowing more uncertainty and confusion in the very financial markets the program is supposed to stabilize. Instead of buying mortgage-backed assets as originally intended, Paulson says he is now considering three alternative…

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Find more work on Department of the Treasury