On CNBC’s ‘Closing Bell,’ Alex Brill discusses the US Supreme Court’s ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. to require out-of-state sellers to collect the same sales tax that in-state resellers must collect.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the US unemployment rate in May 2018 was 3.8%, the lowest since April 2000. During the past 50 years, the US unemployment rate has been this low only 10% of the time.
This paper investigates how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects household charitable giving in the United States. We find that the law will reduce charitable giving by $17.2 billion (4.0 percent) in 2018 according to a static model and $16.3 billion assuming a modest boost to growth.
With only about two weeks left in its 2017–2018 term, the US Supreme Court still has 19 cases left to decide. Decisions are expected on a number of key issues, including partisan and racial gerrymandering, public employee union dues, and the travel ban.
Since its inception in 1942, the deduction for qualified medical expenses has offered a type of federally funded insurance to taxpayers who itemize. By allowing the deduction of out-of-pocket medical spending that exceeds a threshold, the deduction is similar to a high-deductible health plan, under which the federal government subsidizes subsequent spending at one’s marginal tax rate.
The midterm elections are six months away, and candidates are looking for innovative ways to define their campaigns. With an unemployment rate below 4 percent and recent upward revisions to the 2018 economic outlook, Republicans are preparing to campaign on a strong economy and the tax cuts enacted last December that improved US competitiveness and boosted voters’ after-tax incomes.
For more than 50 years, the Supreme Court has prevented states from requiring out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax unless the seller has a physical presence, such as a local store or warehouse, in the state in which the sale occurs. Although the out-of-state sellers’ customers are supposed to remit tax on such sales, very few of them do so. As online retail sales continue to grow, states’ annual revenue loss has been estimated to be as much as $33.9 billion in 2018.
“The trade news is a negative at the moment. Going forward I don’t think this is the way to grow the economy by slapping tariffs on the way that we’ve seen. Whether this is strategic or not is yet to be determined. Whether there will be some grand deal that’s going to be worked. But this is clearly something that should be concerning to employers. Not just those guys who are directly on the list today, but really who is safe? Some industries might be. Maybe it’s the hospitals, some really domestic type industries that don’t care so much about what is happening in our trade patterns. But I think a lot of folks are rightfully concerned about a new uncertainty in public policy.”
“‘Opioid abuse is an epidemic in the United States, claiming more than 42,000 lives in 2016 alone (CDC 2017c). In addition to its devastating impact on families and communities, the opioid epidemic is costing the US economy tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions, of dollars annually. The types of costs attributable to opioid abuse – health care costs, criminal justice costs, and lost productivity, for example – are fairly well understood, as is the economic impact of the crisis at the national level,’ writes the report which was authored by Alex Brill of the American Enterprise Institute and Scott Ganz of Georgia Institute of Technology.”
“There is a real wide variation when we think about how this epidemic has affected different parts of the country…. What we tried to do is allocate these costs by state and even by county. And what we find in that result is in a per capita basis, places like District of Columbia, New Hampshire, Connecticut, these are really leading states in these non-mortality related costs. When we think about total costs, meaning adding in the cost of lost life, West Virginia just shoots to the top of the list.”