Pension Smoothing – The Budget Gimmick That Will Not Die

The bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the Senate on August 10 includes a number of budget gimmicks that help make it look fully “paid for.” One of the gimmicks is pension smoothing, which allows private companies to make smaller contributions to their defined-benefit pension plans, thereby endangering the plans’ financial viability over time.

Tackle the Tax Gap

The Senate Finance Committee held an important subcommittee hearing this week, “Closing the Tax Gap: Lost Revenue from Noncompliance and the Role of Offshore Tax Evasion.” The “tax gap,” which is the difference between the amount of tax rightfully owed by US taxpayers and the amount of tax actually paid, is not small.

Corporate Tax Hike Vs. Carbon Tax: Economic Trade-Offs

President Biden has announced two ambitious, entwined economic policy agendas: raising the corporate tax rate and other taxes on large businesses to pay for a significant increase in spending on a broadly defined set of infrastructure objectives. While the case for at least some increase in infrastructure spending is sound, the case for unwinding the corporate tax reforms enacted in 2017 is not.

Unintended Consequences: Democrat’s Child Tax Credit Will Cost Jobs

President Biden’s first signature legislative accomplishment, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), is now law. Nearly $1.2 trillion in fiscal aid will pour into the economy before October, and another $700 billion will be doled out over the next four years. As one of us has written previously, $1.9 trillion is a significant underestimate of the plan’s total cost if temporary expansions of several tax credits are permanently extended. The largest of these temporary policies is the expanded child tax credit (CTC), touted by Democrats as a boon to low- and middle-income households. In addition to being costlier than the sticker price, a permanent CTC expansion, a goal expressed by many Democratic lawmakers, would have the unintended consequence of reducing employment.

How Will the American Rescue Plan Impact Your 2021 Tax Liability?

Last week, President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP). The plan provides economic relief to households through the tax code, making several credits fully refundable and advanceable and providing stimulus checks that already started arriving in bank accounts this past weekend. We have created a web application to help users explore how the American Rescue Plan will impact their 2021 federal tax liability.