Blowing Past Political Turbulence

Blowing Past Political Turbulence

The gaggle of workers in Montana’s Carbon County hacking at the barely thawed ground in late December were on a mission: Secure Mud Springs Wind Ranch’s eligibility for a green-energy incentive. Why were they racing to catch a tax credit in that sparsely inhabited...
A Higher Education Revolution

A Higher Education Revolution

You might not have noticed it yet, but student protests are undergoing something of a renaissance. They’re rising to levels unseen in decades. In California, students are stripping half naked to oppose tuition hikes and shutting down highways to draw attention to...
America’s Billionaires Owe You a Thank You Note

America’s Billionaires Owe You a Thank You Note

This tax season, America’s billionaires are toasting you, the ordinary taxpayer. That’s because you’re the one picking up the tab for our nation’s ailing infrastructure of roads, bridges, and rail transport. You’re also footing the bill for military forces, disaster...
Betting the Farm on a Lie

Betting the Farm on a Lie

Few things sell ideas in American politics like a good farm story. Just ask Representative Dave Reichert. He held a hearing recently on the impact of the estate tax on farms and small businesses. An outspoken critic of the tax, Reichert was inspired by a recent story...
Privatizing Public Services

Privatizing Public Services

The federal government alone, a new Congressional Budget Office report calculates, is now annually spending $500 billion — half a trillion dollars — to purchase goods and services from private companies. State and local governments spend many billions more. We’re not...
Wal-Mart Does Something Right

Wal-Mart Does Something Right

Once, I indirectly forced a neighbor to drive far out of her way for a head of broccoli. I think she’s forgiven me, but I’m not sure the love is still the same. She was kindly caring for my child and running errands when she turned toward Wal-Mart for a quick stop. My...
Marshaling Marooned Tax Dollars

Marshaling Marooned Tax Dollars

Republican lawmakers have largely greeted President Barack Obama’s new spending plan as dead on arrival. But at least one provision has a chance of becoming law: a plan to tax the profits that large U.S. corporations have parked in offshore tax shelters and use that...
A Tax Cut for Tax Cheats

A Tax Cut for Tax Cheats

If the most frequently dialed federal agency in America can’t even answer two-thirds of the millions of phone calls it gets, should the government cut its budget? Congress thinks so. That agency is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). And lawmakers have hacked at its...
Does This Definition Make Me Look Rich?

Does This Definition Make Me Look Rich?

How much income do America’s households take in? How much do they have left after taxes? Do federal taxes leave the nation less or more unequal? Questions don’t get much more basic than these. Or more complicated. How, for instance, do we define income? Anything...
The CEO ‘Performance Pay’ Charade

The CEO ‘Performance Pay’ Charade

Note: This op-ed was distributed via the McClatchy-Tribune News Service. If anyone still believes this country has a “pay for performance” system for corporate executives, it’s time to put the notion to rest. For more than two decades, corporations have gotten away...
Predistribute the Wealth

Predistribute the Wealth

Sometimes we need new words to grasp new ideas. Frances O’Grady, Britain’s highest-ranking labor leader, has coined one of these handy new words: predistribution. Why does O’Grady, the general secretary of the UK’s Trades Union Congress, want us talking...
The Tradeoff Between Apple and Apples

The Tradeoff Between Apple and Apples

In May, Americans watched as Apple CEO Tim Cook defended his company’s tax avoidance strategies before a Senate investigative panel. Prior to the hearing, Senate investigators released a report documenting Apple’s use of accounting gimmicks to shift $74...
A Tax System that Targets Workers

A Tax System that Targets Workers

Imagine a society with two tax systems. One taxes the wealth people have accumulated. The other taxes the labor people perform. This society seems to be getting along well enough, raising enough tax revenue to finance the public goods and services that voters have...
It’s Time Corporations Flew Old Glory Instead of the Jolly Roger

It’s Time Corporations Flew Old Glory Instead of the Jolly Roger

The swashbuckling pirates of olde amassed private fortunes by raiding ships and stealing them. Once they captured a ship, they would replace its flag — which represented one of the world’s sovereign nations — with the Jolly Roger. By flying the skull and...