TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Ten Worst Tax Ideas Of 2018

TaxVox, The TaxVox Lump of Coal Award For The Worst Tax Idea of 2018:

It’s time for Tax Vox to present its annual Lump of Coal Award for the worst tax idea of the year.  2018 couldn’t match 2017’s bonanza. But you can’t fundamentally overhaul the tax law every year and 2018 still had its share of blunders.  Here are the top 10 nominees—and the winner(s). ...

9. Why do liberals want to tax companies that hire workers? To support homeless programs, the Seattle City Council enacted a short-lived “head tax” on large employers. Unfortunately, it would encourage firms to either leave the city or replace newly taxable humans with untaxed robots. And…create more homeless people. At least lawmakers ditched the tax before it took effect. ...

1. President Trump’s promise to cut middle-class taxes by 10 percent. The polls weren’t looking good in the run-up to the November elections, so the president promised to cut taxes for the middle class. And he said he’d get the bill passed in a fortnight. Of course, there was no middle-class tax cut plan. In the words of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin this week, “I’m not going to comment on whether it is a real thing or not a real thing.” It is not a real thing. Never was.

1a. The credulous response to Trump’s promised middle-class tax cut. Journalists and policy analysts just can’t help themselves. The president makes an off-the-cuff campaign promise and, like mice on a wheel, they chase after it as if it is a…real thing. They opine on what his phantom tax cut might look like. They prognosticate over the odds of Congress passing the non-existent plan. They even debate who exactly is the middle class.

The winner this year is the inseparable entry of 1 and 1a. The 2018 lump of coal (not a real thing) goes to the president who made an absurd, impossible-to-keep promise, and all those self-described experts who took him seriously. Congratulations, or something.

Tax | Permalink