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  • Commentary posted January 16, 2017 by David R. Burton Needed Policy Reforms to Improve Entrepreneurs Access to Capital

    Capital formation and entrepreneurship improve economic growth, productivity and real wages. Existing securities laws impede entrepreneurial capital formation. To promote prosperity, Congress and a reconstituted Securities and Exchange Commission need to systematically reduce or eliminate state and federal regulatory barriers hindering entrepreneurs’ access to capital.…

  • 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…

  • Backgrounder posted August 15, 2016 by David R. Burton Broadening Regulation D: Congress Should Let More People Invest in Private, High-Growth Companies

    The Securities Act of 1933[1] makes it illegal to sell securities unless the offering is registered with the Securities an[2] Making a registered offering (often called “going public”) is a very expensive proposition and well beyond the means of most small and start-up companies. The SEC estimates that an initial public offering typically costs $2.5 million in legal,…

  • Backgrounder posted August 15, 2016 by David R. Burton The Business Flat Tax: How It Works, What It Means for the Economy

    Revised and updated November 8, 2016 Replacing the current income tax with a business flat tax would increase economic growth, productivity, and wages and dramatically simplify the tax system. A business flat tax, also called a business transfer tax or business activity tax, would be imposed on all businesses including corporations, partnerships, limited liability…

  • Commentary posted July 15, 2016 by David R. Burton How the OECD is Promoting More Identity Theft, Crime, Industrial Espionage, and Suppression of Political Dissidents

    Tax treaties are usually positive or benign. The protocol amending the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, currently being considered for ratification by the United States senate, is being marketed by the Obama Treasury, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and tax officials in various national…

  • 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 July 7, 2016 by Justin Bogie, David R. Burton, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. 2017 House Financial Services and General Government Bill: Reduces Spending, But Does Not Go Far Enough on Policy Changes

    This week, the House is expected to consider the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. This bill provides funding for the Treasury Department, the Justice Department, the Small Business Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, among other agencies. The fiscal year (FY) 2017 bill provides a total of $21.7 billion in…

  • Backgrounder posted May 9, 2016 by Curtis S. Dubay, David R. Burton American Business Competitiveness Act: Good Steps Toward Business Tax Reform

    On January 13, 2016, Representative Devin Nunes (R–CA) introduced the American Business Competitiveness Act (ABC Act) to reform business taxation provisions of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.[1] The legislation would be a large step in the right direction for the business side of the tax code, as it makes the major changes that are necessary to fix the current broken…

  • Backgrounder posted April 14, 2016 by David R. Burton, Norbert J. Michel, Ph.D. Financial Institutions: Necessary for Prosperity

    Financial intermediaries serve a key role in the U.S. economy. They are a central reason why the U.S. economy is as productive as it is. The term financial intermediary includes depository institutions (such as banks[1] and credit unions[2]); insurance companies;[3] investment banks;[4] investment companies (such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds);[5] and venture…

  • Issue Brief posted March 10, 2016 by David R. Burton How Dodd–Frank Mandated Disclosures Harm, Rather than Protect, Investors

    Title XV of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act[1] contains three provisions requiring public companies to report in their disclosure documents with respect to conflict minerals, mine safety, and resource extraction. In addition, Dodd-Frank Title IX Section 953(b) requires disclosure of the ratio between a company’s CEO pay and the median pay of…

  • Commentary posted January 29, 2016 by David R. Burton The Case for Flat Consumption Taxes

    The BTT is back in the news. A BTT, or business transfer tax, is a flat-rate consumption tax collected at the business level. Both Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul have included one in their presidential platforms. Supporters call it a business activity tax or business flat tax. Critics call it a value-added tax (VAT). They view this as undesirable because they…

  • Backgrounder posted December 21, 2015 by David R. Burton Two Little Known Tax Treaties Will Lead to Substantially More Identity Theft, Crime, Industrial Espionage, and Suppression of Political Dissidents

    Tax treaties are usually positive or benign. The Obama Administration,[1] the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),[2] and tax officials in various national governments[3] have marketed the Protocol amending the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters[4] as just another tax treaty. It is nothing of the sort. On…

  • Issue Brief posted October 28, 2015 by Paul Winfree, Romina Boccia, Justin T. Johnson, Daren Bakst, Nicolas Loris, James L. Gattuso, Jason Snead, Rachel Greszler, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., David R. Burton, Curtis S. Dubay Analysis of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

    The federal budget is on a dangerous trajectory and immediate corrective action is required. The U.S. national debt is at $18.1 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), if the government remains on its currently planned course, it will spend $7 trillion more over the next 10 years than it will receive in taxes, piling on even more debt. Heritage…

  • Issue Brief posted September 9, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay, David R. Burton Boustany–Neal Innovation Box: Complex and Unsound Policy

    Talk in Congress of establishing an innovation box (also called a patent box) has increased in recent days. An innovation box would lower tax on income earned from certain types of intellectual property (IP). Innovation boxes exist in several countries around the world, including many major U.S. trading partners. The purpose of the boxes is to lower the tax rate on…

  • Backgrounder posted June 4, 2015 by Curtis S. Dubay, David R. Burton How Congress Should Reform Business Taxes

    Fundamental tax reform remains a top agenda item for many in Congress, especially for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R–WI) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R–UT). The country needs fundamental tax reform because the tax code is stifling economic freedom and preventing the economy from being vibrant and prosperous. Fundamental tax…