This is an extended version of a presentation made at TEDx Livermore 2016, the theme of which was The Economics of Empathy. Searching for Our Fiscal Soul argues that democracy is an exercise in empathy towards fellow citizens we do not know, and, if we did, might not like. We express that empathy through government spending, because that is how we actualize values that are important enough that we are willing to pay for them. This is our fiscal soul in action. Whether measured against the values we all routinely recite, or against the social environments achieved by peer countries, the fiscal soul of the United States is in peril. The remedy lies in understanding the value of a complementary economy, in which government spending is properly reframed as purchasing investments and insurance that private markets do not, and cannot, reach.
(Click on YouTube button on bottom right to view video to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.)
In addition to a list of newly posted papers, we’ll also include a write-up about at least one of the week’s additions. A quick administrative note: The best way to make sure we see your paper is to use the JEL code K34 (Tax Law) when you upload to SSRN. (If your reaction is “what’s a JEL code?”, check out Lea-Rachel Kosnik’s overview. And for a fascinating read on the tangled history of JEL codes, see Beatrice Cherrier’s article.)
If you would like to take over the weekly tax roundup as a service to the tax community, either alone or as part of a group of co-editors, please let me know.
David Hasen's excellent article emphasizes the distinction between an “excise tax,” which “applies to or is triggered by a transfer or other event,” and an “accretion tax,” which “appl[ies] to the ‘same’ item over time.” Examples of “excise taxes” include consumption taxes, realization-based income taxes, and estate and gift taxes. Examples of “accretion taxes” include real property taxes, mark-to-market income taxes, and periodic wealth taxes. Hasen argues that “a federal accretion-type, progressive wealth tax would appropriately supplement either an income tax or a consumption tax and would do so more effectively than our existing excise wealth tax regime, the federal estate and gift tax.” In the following post, I'll walk through (parts of) Hasen's argument and then explain why I'm not entirely persuaded that an accretion-type wealth tax is the way to go.
The federal False Claims Act (FCA) might be used to combat fraudulent claims regarding tax expenditures. The FCA has been used to protect the public fisc by imposing liability upon anyone who makes a false or fraudulent claim relating to an expenditure of federal funds. A substantial share of government spending is implemented through tax credits and deductions granted to individuals and entities for taking particular actions promoted through the Tax Code. Government funds dedicated to such tax incentives — so-called “tax expenditures” — are themselves potentially subject to false claims — for example, when a borrower makes a false representation that a mortgage relates to a principle or second residence in order to claim a home mortgage interest deduction. This article explores how the FCA as currently enacted might be invoked to combat fraud that targets tax expenditures, as well as doctrinal counter-arguments to such application.
This study is a follow-up to our scholarly impact study published in 2015, Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2015: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third. Looking at an expanded time period (2005-2014), we assessed the extent to which extensive citations in the legal literature translated into citations by courts. It is important to acknowledge that the judicial citation rates were very low, precluding extensive analysis and making it difficult to regard some of the results as reliable and robust. Our study indicates that a certain subset of scholars are both noticed and cited by the judiciary as well as their peers.
As part of its summer workshop series, Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law invites junior scholars to present works-in-progress. This summer, we had the pleasure of hosting both Daniel Hemel, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School and Goldburn Maynard, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. Both junior tax scholars are challenging the ways in which tax policy makers think about equity in the context of distributive justice.
In his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty did us the great service of bringing the problems of wealth and income inequality to the fore. In the process, however, he also may have performed a bit of a disservice – making those problems seem simple, a mere function of the inequality r > g, where r is the rate of return to capital and g is the rate of economic growth. The solution, he suggested, was equally simple: a tax on wealth.
Bariş Kaymak and Markus Poschke, in The Evolution of Wealth Inequality over Half a Century: The Role of Taxes, Transfers and Technology, offer a more complex picture. They construct a general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy over the past half-century, incorporating (1) reduced income taxes on top earners (from a 45% effective rate for the top 1% in 1960 to a 33% effective rate in 2004, and from a 71% effective rate for the top 0.1% in 1960 to a 34% effective rate in 2004), (2) expansion of government transfers from 4.1% to 11.9% of GDP over the same period, and (3) higher pre-tax wage inequalities, which they attribute to technological change. (For these purposes, effective rate is defined as income taxes paid as a percentage of taxable income.) The question they ask and attempt to answer is: To what extent were the observed increases in wealth and income inequality over that period attributable to each of these changes or trends? ...
This article is about whether the factors which drive online sharing of non-scholarly content also apply to academic journal titles. It uses Altmetric scores as a measure of online attention to articles from Frontiers in Psychology published in 2013 and 2014. Article titles with result-oriented positive framing and more interesting phrasing receive higher Altmetric scores, i.e., get more online attention. Article titles with wordplay and longer article titles receive lower Altmetric scores. This suggests that the same factors that affect how widely non-scholarly content is shared extend to academia, which has implications for how academics can make their work more likely to have more impact.
No one really understands the law review publication process. I certainly don’t. But I do have opinions. Some of them are even informed by data. ... So let’s answer some questions.
The Basics Q: Since you brought it up, when exactly is the best time to submit? Q: Sure. First, when do journals actually consider submissions? Q: It seems like the fall season is kind of short Q: So how can I tell when the particular journal I want to submit to is open? Q: Well, is there any downside to submitting too early? Q: Let’s back up. What are these Expresso and Scholastica thingies?
Strategy: Timing and Expedites Q: How do I decide which journals to submit to, and when? Q: Ok. Can you explain what expedited review is? Q: Does requesting expedited review affect my chances of getting an offer at another journal? Q: So I don’t necessarily want to request expedited review at Yale after my offer at the Poughkeepsie Journal of Bridge Law? Q: It sounds like that could take a while. What happens if time runs out on my existing offer before I get any other offers? Q: What if I just go radio silent for an extra day or two? Q: Can I pile up offers just to extend my deadline? Q: Should I expect to hear back from the journals where I request expedited review? Q: So, I had a deadline from Journal X on Sunday. Journal Y claimed they would reach a decision by Sunday. It’s Sunday night and I’ve heard nothing from Journal Y. What should I do? Q: A journal told me that they would do a “board review” two days after my deadline expires. Should I turn down the offer in hand? Q: Should I submit to all the journals at once, or in stages?
Casebooks are constructed around the case method of teaching - reading appellate opinions to understand the law. However, when the case method approach is compared to what an attorney is expected to do in practice, there is a definite gap. If students are to emerge from law school with practice ready skills, they must be given the opportunity to learn and practice a variety of skills and develop the necessary qualities that will allow them to effectively and efficiently enter the practice of law.
[T]he number of law school graduates exceeds the number of available positions by a ratio of more than two to one. This ratio causes two notable issues: the average wage earned by new law school graduates is low, and the underemployment rate is high.
Of course, this got me thinking about the veterinary profession, as underemployment is one of its primary concerns. We’ve certainly battled with the perception of “too many” veterinarians in recent years, but yet: Do we know how many veterinarians would need to graduate in a single year to be truly “too many”?
Despite extensive public discussion of the high cost of legal education and student debt levels, too few critics show creativity in thinking about the optimal mechanism for funding a legal education. This Article proposes — and explores the legal and practical implications of — a new model of law-school financing called an income-based repayment swap (“IBR Swap”). The IBR Swap is a student loan derivative: a novel idea that improves upon existing income-share contracts. Under an IBR Swap, students still borrow money from a bank or the government to pay for their legal educations. But students then enter into contracts with a financial institution under which the institution agrees to make the students’ loan payments and the students agree to pay the institution a percentage of income. An IBR Swap is a student’s exchange of a fixed obligation to lenders for an income-based obligation to a financial institution. The parties exchange no money upfront, which distinguishes this form of transaction from existing income-share and “human capital” contracts that face barriers to enforcement.
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee has invested significant resources, including hearings and staff reports, to make the case for an unusual form of corporate dividend integration – a corporate dividends-paid deduction, combined with a universal shareholder dividend withholding tax collected from the firm. This proposal would not reduce the cash tax outlays of U.S. corporations in respect of distributed or retained earnings. It would not reduce the aggregate tax burdens imposed on most shareholders, and in many plausible circumstances would raise those tax costs. It is a poorly targeted response to design weaknesses in the U.S. international corporate tax system. Its efficiency gains are undeveloped and largely overstated.
Taxation affects the allocation of talented individuals across professions by blunting material incentives and thus magnifying non-pecuniary incentives of pursuing a “calling.” Estimates from the literature suggest high-paying professions have negative externalities, whereas low-paying professions have positive externalities. A calibrated model therefore prescribes negative marginal tax rates on middle-class incomes and positive rates on the rich. The welfare gains from implementing such a policy are small and are dwarfed by the gains from profession-specific taxes and subsidies. These results depend crucially on externality estimates and labor-substitution patterns across professions, both of which are very uncertain given existing empirical evidence.
The United States is the only country that taxes its citizens’ worldwide income, even when those citizens live indefinitely abroad. This Article critically evaluates the traditional equity, efficiency, and administrability arguments for taxing nonresident citizens. It also raises new arguments against citizenship taxation, including that it puts the United States at a disadvantage when competing with other countries for highly skilled migrant.
I was invited to write this essay on the occasion of my retirement, following in the footsteps of my former colleague, Steve Easton, who wrote a wonderful article, My Last Lecture: Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers. My essay supplements Steve’s article with additional advice about law school and legal practice. This article is suitable for students in many different courses, orientations, and professional development programs.
In 2012, more than 100,000 big U.S. businesses managed to shelter billions of dollars of income in a single tax haven and pay no corporate income tax on it.
This tax haven is not Panama, Switzerland, or the Cayman Islands. In fact, it cannot even be found on a map—rather, it exists in the pages of the U.S. tax code. These businesses—with revenue of more than $10 million each—managed to pay no U.S. corporate income tax by pretending to be small businesses and thus saved their wealthy owners billions of dollars.
Most people think of big businesses as traditional corporations, which are organized under Subchapter C of the tax code and are supposed to pay the corporate income tax on their profits. But today many big businesses are organized as partnerships or S corporations, which are business forms that were originally designed for simpler or smaller businesses.The vast majority of partnerships and S corporations do not pay the corporate income tax. Instead, all of their income is passed through to their individual owners, who pay taxes on their individual income tax returns, thus avoiding the corporate income tax altogether.
The share of income going to businesses that use the pass-through form of organization—and therefore pay no corporate income tax—has exploded over the last 30 years, growing from less than 25 percent of net business income in 1980 to more than half in 2012.In fact, the United States is unique in this regard: No other country comes close to having such a large portion of business income that is not subject to the corporate income tax.
Taxing capital is a key way to maintain and increase the progressivity in the U.S. tax system and raise the revenue needed to support government activities and investments that in turn will help ensure strong and sustainable economic growth. Why turn to capital as a source of government revenue? Taxing capital is a highly progressive form of taxation that research suggests does not seriously affect the rate of savings among high-income Americans—an important consideration in terms of encouraging future economic growth—and is a key part of optimal taxation in the United States.
The existing system of private property interferes with allocative efficiency by giving owners the power to hold out for excessive prices. We propose a remedy in the form of a tax on property, based on the value self-assessed by its owner at intervals, along with a requirement that the owner sell the property to any third party willing to pay a price equal to the self-assessed value. The tax rate would reflect a tradeoff between gains from allocative efficiency and losses to investment efficiency, and would increase in line with expected developments in information technology.
Building on Best Practices is a worthy addition to the canon of literature on reforming legal education. Before the Great Recession, without today’s pressing economic incentives, law schools made uneven strides to incorporate lessons from MacCrate, Best Practices, and Carnegie. Today, compounding economic crises and escalating accreditation requirements make reform urgent, necessary, and inevitable.
To demonstrate that law schools can still add value to careers and society, legal educators must grapple with structural changes that affect every aspect of teaching, learning and researching. Building on Best Practices provides diverse expertise and useful guidance on approaching these challenges and on improving and expanding the enterprise of legal education.
Eric D. Chason (William & Mary), Taxing Losers, 18 Fla. Tax Rev. 541 (2016):
The U.S. tax system (like most in the world) benefits capital gains in two ways. Investors can defer paying tax until they “realize” any gain (typically by sale) rather than when the gain simply occurs via rising prices. And, individual investors pay a lower, preferred rate on their long-term capital gains as compared to their other ordinary income (like compensation or business profits).
Investors face a burden, though, with respect to their capital losses. Rather than allowing for unlimited capital loss deductions, the Internal Revenue Code largely forces investors to match their capital losses against their capital gains. Limits on capital losses could be justified in several ways. The most prominent justification holds that should not be able to “cherry pick” loss elements out of an overall winning portfolio. This Article seeks to clarify the nature of the cherry-picking argument. It drops “cherry picking” in favor of the somewhat more descriptive “loss harvesting” used in wealth management literature. We will imagine a world in which Congress does not force taxpayers to match losses against gains. In this world, taxpayers could harvest isolated losses whenever they arise and enjoy the benefits of loss deductions — even if the taxpayer has an overall winning portfolio. Using insights from option theory, we can estimate the cost of aggressive loss harvesting.
The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference concludes today in Amelia Island, FL. Among today's highlights:
Tax Policy Discussion Group This discussion group is broadly concerned with issues of taxation. Discussants address individual income tax, corporate income tax, state and local tax, estate and gift tax, tax expenditure policy, international tax, and entitlements. While these disparate themes might seem only loosely related, a common thread of the difficulties of balancing equity, simplicity, incentives, and transparency runs through all of them. These scholars will grapple with the central tax topics of the day and address the looming concerns that must be dealt with by all levels of government.
The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference continues today in Amelia Island, FL. Among today's highlights:
The Federal Tax Code as a Tool of Public Policy This panel introduces a variety of proposals aimed at enacting policies through amendments to the Internal Revenue Code. These proposals take the form of deductions, credits and other tax provisions. The policies considered include easing the strain of student loan repayment, the tax consequences of home ownership, and the tax consequences of being a victim of a natural disaster. The panelists consider these and other problems in the context of using tax as a strategic tool for achieving public policy goals.
Linda Beale (Wayne State) (moderator)
Ted Afield (Georgia State)
Stephen Black (Texas Tech)
Eric Chaffee (Toledo)
Bobby Dexter (Chapman)
Daniel Hemel (Chicago)
Steve Johnson (Florida State)
Patrick Tolan (Western Michigan-Cooley)
Is There a Recovery in Your Future? : A Candid Conversation Between Deans and Former Deans This is a Panel Discussion similar to that in the last several years dealing candidly with hot topics around legal education. The specific topics depend on the “hot issues” of the moment, but are likely to include questions about whether legal education is recovering from the recession, and what it means for law schools and the profession.
Adam Smith (Florida), Tax Law Confidential: Limitations on the Attorney-Client Privilege for Tax Lawyers (Mentor: Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky))
Elaine Waterhouse Wilson (West Virginia), Cooperatives in the Exempt Organization Space (Mentor: Terri Helge (Texas A&M))
International Tax Policies and Practices Papers in this panel address a variety of concerns in the topic of international tax law. Presenters will consider consequences of international tax design questions, as well as issues of international tax enforcement. As international organizations and countries all over the world consider the issue of coordinated international tax enforcement, the topics considered by this panel are more important than ever.
U.S. Tax Imperialism in Puerto Rico is a careful, interesting, and timely account of how the U.S. has designed tax policies with respect to Puerto Rico since 1898, but its contribution does not end there. The article also raises broader questions.
The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference continues today in Amelia Island, FL. Among today's highlights:
Scholarship Nuts and Bolts This panel addresses how to create an environment, agenda and process for successful scholarship. It explores such topics as using research assistants, developing outside resources, co-authors, and more. The session emphasizes the scholarship process for all kinds of publications, including law review articles, books, bar association reports, and the like. It offers perspectives on how to prioritize work, as well as suggesting some dos and don’ts.
The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference continues today in Amelia Island, FL. Among today's highlights:
Productive and Fulfilling Scholarship Across the Tenure Spectrum This panel covers strategies for achieving scholarly success and satisfaction both before and after tenure. Panelists with a range of experience address opportunities for and limitations on scholarly development during all stages of the tenure process: years 1-2, years 3-4, years 5-6, and post-tenure. The panel examines the role of law review articles as the primary form of scholarly output and explores other forms of scholarship. Panelists share their perspectives on co-authoring, finding mentors, gaining readership, leveraging past projects, and networking as well as the joys and perils of bar journal contributions, books, book chapters, book reviews, blogging, casebooks, CLE materials, essays, monographs, newsletters, and reports.
Although nonqualified deferred compensation plans lack explicit tax preferences afforded qualified plans, it is well understood that nonqualified deferred compensation results in a joint tax advantage when employers earn a higher after‐tax return on deferred sums than employees could do on their own. Several commentators have proposed tax reform aimed at leveling the playing field between cash and nonqualified deferred compensation, but reform would not be easy or straightforward. This Article investigates nonqualified deferred compensation practices and shows that joint tax minimization often takes a backseat to accounting priorities and participant diversification concerns.
The “manufacture” of factual indeterminacy in furtherance of tax avoidance activity constitutes potentially unethical attorney conduct. The structuring of facts toward tax avoidance is not merely the rendering of legal advice as contemplated by the Model Code of Professional Conduct, and instead may assist the Holmesian “bad man” client toward conduct which is normatively prohibited under the tax laws. As such, only tax planning via factual structuring, which results in determinative tax avoidance, is ethical attorney conduct.
Since a purely formalistic method of legal interpretation is not applied in the United States, the circumstance of determinative tax avoidance is extraordinarily rare in the modern era. The moral aspects of legal representation in furtherance of tax evasion are also re-evaluated from both the parochial and postmodern perspectives.
The Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2016 Annual Conference kicks off today in Amelia Island, FL. Among today's highlights:
Scholarship: What Is It? And How Do We Maximize Its Impact? Traditional academic lore is publish or perish. But publish where? In legal scholarship, publication means placing articles in highly ranked student-run law reviews and, after tenure, writing more articles and a book or two. However, few (other than fellow law professors) read law review articles. Thus, scholars have increasingly taken their scholarship “on the road” in the form of writing amicus briefs in highly notable cases, testifying before Congress, or using social media. This panel explores the future of legal scholarship. What are the avenues that best create scholarly impact? To what degree has scholarship transformed into activism once it leaves the law review? What is the appropriate role of law professor experts in court and in the public sphere?
The conventional economic justification for global IP treaties begins from the premise that nation-states, if left to their own devices, will rationally underinvest in innovation incentives such as IP laws, grants, tax credits, and prizes (the “underinvestment hypothesis”). Under this account, nation-states will free-ride on each other’s knowledge production unless they find some solution to their collective-action problem. The solution that nation-states have struck upon is international IP law: IP treaties harmonize domestic laws and thus ensure a baseline level of investment in knowledge production (the “harmonization hypothesis”). Moreover, IP is the only such solution available to nation-states because a global regime of grants, tax credits, or prizes would require a global public finance system — and no such system exists. IP is thus unique among innovation policy options in that it can be implemented at the international level (the “uniqueness hypothesis”). Previous authors have adopted this logic while lamenting its implications: IP appears to be a necessary evil in an interconnected world — necessary to solve the free-rider problem; lamentable because it results in sizeable deadweight losses.
Many private universities and other schools adhere to religiously grounded codes of conduct that embrace heterosexual monogamy as the sole moral context for sexual relationships. The federal income tax exemption of these schools has been questioned following the recent Supreme Court opinion of Obergefell v. Hodges. In Obergefell, the Supreme Court held that the right to marry is a fundamental constitutional right that same-sex couples may exercise. The relevance of this decision to the federal tax status of private religious schools arises from another Supreme Court decision, Bob Jones University v. United States. The Court in Bob Jones held that two schools with racially discriminatory policies as to students were not entitled to exemption from federal income tax because the policies violate established public policy. The issue now is whether the sexual conduct policies of private religious schools violate the established public policy of the United States following Obergefell.
Since 1980, the United States has taxed U.S. real property gains of foreign investors. A nonresident must pay tax on the capital gain from the sale of U.S. real property or rights in U.S. real property, as well as on the sale of shares in non-publicly held domestic corporations that hold significant U.S. real property assets. The United States imposes a withholding liability on the purchaser based on a percentage of the purchase price. Moreover, by owning U.S. real property, foreign investors are subject to Internal Revenue Service (‘‘IRS’’) investigatory powers. Because of these rules, foreign investors spend significant resources to structure investment in U.S. real property assets to avoid being deemed an owner of the underlying real property for taxation purposes. This has rendered the underlying statute, the Foreign Investment in Real Property Act of 1980 (‘‘FIRPTA’’), elective. This electivity results in the United States exhibiting tax haven characteristics for inbound real estate investments. Rather than tightening the rules to eliminate this friction, Congress has recently proposed even looser requirements. The resulting narrative by practitioners and policy makers is that FIRPTA should be eliminated. The United States currently needs more, not less, collection of taxation. The fact that FIRPTA is either easily arbitraged or not properly collected should not result in the repeal.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., has released a wish list of what Republican House members would like to see in a tax system in the form of a plan that moves toward a cash flow consumption tax. A cash flow consumption tax is a terrific idea if it is used to raise revenue and to shift the tax burden from those without resources to those who have them, but it increases the harm that taxes do if it is used to give away revenue or shift the tax burden the other way. A cash flow consumption tax exempts from tax the return from capital, an exemption that obviously benefits those who have capital, called rich people. A cash flow consumption tax should make up for the revenue loss given over to the wealthy with higher taxes on their consumption, but Ryan’s plan would not. One of the great virtues of a cash flow consumption tax is that it would end the tax bias in favor of owner-occupied housing — selfish and wasteful investments instead of productive investments — but this plan would not.
Commercial activities in space are going to expand thanks to new game-changing technologies being developed by Space Entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs have pledged to reduce the cost of accessing space, and plan to unlock new horizons for innovative space markets, such as mining space-based resources and space tourism. Signs are showing in Congress of the impact that the space technology phenomenon is having on the U.S. legal system and on other governments’ policy decisions worldwide. Realizing the promise of expanding the United States' aerospace economy has raised myriad legal challenges, one of which is the issue of taxation. Thus, there is no time like the present to review the tax rules, at both the federal and the international levels, to ensure the sustainability of a policy that is clearly in the public interest.
One year ago, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges holding that “same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.” Since then, an estimated 123,000 same-sex marriages have occurred bringing the total number of same-sex marriages in the United States to almost one-half million. The number of Texas same-sex marriages will be difficult to track because the government does not plan on keeping a separate count of same-sex marriage licenses. Nonetheless, with over three percent of Texans identifying themselves as gay or lesbian, it is of vital importance for estate planners to understand the current and potential future impact of same-sex marriage on estate planning in Texas.
The Annual Meeting Program Committee introduced a new program format, Discussion Groups, at the 2016 Annual Meeting to facilitate scholarly discussion and engagement. Discussion Groups provide a small group of faculty an opportunity to engage in a sustained conversation about a topic of interest. The objective is to facilitate a lively and engaging real-time discussion among participants. Discussion Group participants will typically be expected to write and share a short presentation summary (3-5 pages) as part of their participation. The Discussion Group sessions, however, will not feature formal presentations. Instead, the written summaries are intended to facilitate a lively and engaging real-time discussion among the participants. Participants in this Discussion Group will consist of a mix of the people identified in the original proposal along with additional individuals selected on the basis of this call for participation. There will be limited audience seating for those not selected in advance to be discussion participants.
The following is a Call for Participation in a Discussion Group on The Future of Tax Administration and Enforcement, to be held at the AALS Annual Meeting, Saturday, January 7, 2017 from 8:30–10:15 am, in San Francisco.
State and federal statistics released as recently as Friday make it clear: California is smoking hot, economy-wise.
The state gained 40,300 jobs in June and 461,000 over the year. With a gain of 2.9%, that was the best 12-month record of any large state except Florida, which won by a nostril with a gain of 3%, and much better than the nation as a whole (1.7%). According to the congressional Joint Economic Committee, California leads the nation in growth in its gross domestic product, which grew by 4.2% in 2015 — more than twice the national rate.
This record raises numerous questions, the most interesting of which is: So what’s all that guff about California being a “business-unfriendly” state?
In his new book, Evicted, Harvard sociologist Matt Desmond recounts the human cost of the frequent evictions that disrupt life in poor communities. Desmond doesn’t focus on the role of the tax code in housing policy, but his work suggests directions for further thought. ...
We know that renters are second-class citizens in federal housing policy: taking into account tax expenditures and direct spending, the feds spend about $190 billion per year to subsidize housing, but as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities demonstrates, the subsidies are poorly matched to housing need.
The upside-down distribution of federal housing subsidies isn’t news to tax folks, of course. Still, I think it’s worth looking beyond the home mortgage interest deduction and its glaring flaws. Instead, or addition, we might consider whether the federal government can — and should — redirect subsidy funds toward rental housing need and toward the goal of housing stability in particular.
Two distinct features describe foreign direct investment (“FDI”) from emerging economies: (1) most of the investors thrive in poor regulatory environments, and (2) the visible hand of the state exerts a powerful influence. Due to these two features, emerging market FDI poses novel questions to tax law scholars and U.S. policymakers. For instance, will the investors import noncompliance practices? Or will they adapt to the complex and stringent regulatory regime of the host country?