Author Topic: Republican Tax Plan 2017  (Read 176308 times)

Undecided

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1500 on: December 19, 2017, 08:33:48 PM »
And, of course, the child tax credit is not indexed to inflation at all, in either the temporary $2000 dollar value or the old (and eventually new again) $1000 dollar value, so those whither away over time as well.  Same for the $10,000 SALT deduction limit, which is forever.

Yes, incredibly depressing.

To be fair, that is one of the redeeming qualities of the bill.  Between the limit to $10k and not increasing it with inflation, and putting the standard deduction at $24k for couples and indexing it to chained CPI, that sets the stage for SALT to be completely eliminated as a deduction going forward (which it should be). 

Why "should"? I've always thought that permitting deductions to decrease the barriers to moving to the places that make the nation's economy function was a pretty good idea.

Jrr85

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1501 on: December 19, 2017, 09:21:49 PM »
Then the corporate rate being 21% is a huge improvement. 

Improvement from what? As in, it's an improvement just because it's a lower number? Any arguments for lowering the corporate tax rate does not make any logical sense. This bill is a turd.
An improvement from a ridiculous tax policy. You don't want a 50% tax rate on capital income.  I'm not sure you want a 36% rate, but it's a hell of a lot better than 50%. 

dragoncar

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1502 on: December 19, 2017, 09:35:47 PM »
Yeah people seem to have quite polarized views on them.

I tend to like self checkouts because often the store can put in four of them to replace a single human manned checkout lane, so the wait is usually shorter and you don't have to make small talk. But I agree with you the actual checkout process takes longer. McDonalds is also replacing more and more of their order takers with automated checkout kiosks, I'll be interested to hear what people think that does for usability and wait times to order. Overall I'd argue automation is good for customers. If nothing else, it should reduce prices or prevent them from increasing as rapidly as they otherwise would have.

But this is getting a bit off topic. There are good arguments that all things being equal tax cuts will result in increased profits/share prices (good for investors). There are plausible arguments that in certain specific circumstances* tax cuts may get passed on in the form of lower prices (good for consumers). But generally if you make a business more profitable, it's not going to spend any more money on employee salaries because salaries are set by supply and demand for people with the skillsets the company needs (so tax cuts don't do anything for employees).

I’ve used the mcdonalds terminals.  They are a little slow (if you are practiced with your order the animations prevent you from confirming your selection immediately) but overall I think they reduce wait times and free up employees to actually clean the dining room.  Also I can add free sauces to my order whereas a human once added a zero cost sauce then added a manual up charge.

radram

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1503 on: December 20, 2017, 06:23:36 AM »
Amazon is replacing more and more of their warehouse employees with robots.

Fair point.  That does add speed and efficiency, providing benefits to customers as well.

I am not a big fan of the trend towards self checkout lanes. They're abysmally slow compared to a competent cashier and I do not like them.

I much prefer self checkout, mainly because you can have 3-4 times the number of checkouts, making the lines much smaller. My experience is that self checkout is much faster.

Each machine is a little slower, but that is due to the settings on each machine. I have noticed the wait time between each scan is increased, many cashier lanes do not require the weight to reconcile with what was scanned, and cashiers are allowed to enter multiples for each scan.

If those were added to self checkout, very few cashiers would be faster than me.


I'm a red panda

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1504 on: December 20, 2017, 06:50:57 AM »
At our local Walmart it is almost always faster to do self checkout. Even if you have to wait behind 3-4 people (for the bank of 4 machines), it is faster than waiting behind 1 or 2 in a regular line.
I don't think I could ever beat a cashier at Aldi though.


ketchup

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1505 on: December 20, 2017, 08:49:31 AM »
At our local Walmart it is almost always faster to do self checkout. Even if you have to wait behind 3-4 people (for the bank of 4 machines), it is faster than waiting behind 1 or 2 in a regular line.
I don't think I could ever beat a cashier at Aldi though.
This is dead on.  Self checkout being added to our local Walmart last year is the only reason I ever go there now.  It used to be a 10-45 minute wait (yes, really) every single time.

At some other stores it's a wash.  I still prefer the self-checkout when available (one local grocery chain removed all their self checkouts last year, which is unbelievably backwards and as a result I go there less often).  They really sucked when they were first introduced but they're a lot better now.

Aldi and Costco cashiers are by far the best.  Even if there's a long line, they move *fast*.

Jrr85

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1506 on: December 20, 2017, 09:03:14 AM »
And, of course, the child tax credit is not indexed to inflation at all, in either the temporary $2000 dollar value or the old (and eventually new again) $1000 dollar value, so those whither away over time as well.  Same for the $10,000 SALT deduction limit, which is forever.

Yes, incredibly depressing.

To be fair, that is one of the redeeming qualities of the bill.  Between the limit to $10k and not increasing it with inflation, and putting the standard deduction at $24k for couples and indexing it to chained CPI, that sets the stage for SALT to be completely eliminated as a deduction going forward (which it should be). 

Why "should"? I've always thought that permitting deductions to decrease the barriers to moving to the places that make the nation's economy function was a pretty good idea.

There's no reason for a chosen level of local services to impact your federal tax liability.  Just as a random example, say town A has a voter referendum and decides it wants to levy an additional 30 mills to the property tax rate to construct and run some public pools in town (and assume that works out to an average of $100 for property tax bill).  And say the adjacent Town B has a voter referendum and rejects additional taxes for public pools, under the logic that people that want to swim can build their own pool or join a pool, and peopel that don't want to swim shouldn't have to pay for it.  Both decisions seem pretty squarely within the realm of reasonable choices for a town.  Why should Residents of Town A get a tax break for choosing to have public pools?  They are getting $100 worth of benefits on average and paying for $80.  Town B residents are essentially paying more taxes because they are not running their swimming pool costs through the local government.  It's just a ridiculous policy. 

There are plenty of inequitable parts of the tax code, and peopel from high tax jurisdictions like to point to other inequities to justify SALT deductions, but they're really unrelated, and there's no reason to not address unjustifiable policy just because there are other poor policies not being addressed.

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1507 on: December 20, 2017, 09:48:11 AM »
there's no reason to not address unjustifiable policy just because there are other poor policies not being addressed.

This a great point.  Why do we still have the carried interest loophole?

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RangerOne

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1509 on: December 20, 2017, 12:28:39 PM »
there's no reason to not address unjustifiable policy just because there are other poor policies not being addressed.

There is a minor flaw in that logic that I believe I see often when politicians push policy based on fiscal ideology for instances. Sorry if this goes on a tangent that isn't meaningful to how you posed this thought.

Just an attempt at a broad example.

A person may fairly believe that we should slash taxes as much as possible and de-fund major government programs like safety nets that possibly trap people that use them. In a theoretical frame work they would probably also include a more suitable form of relief for struggling people or a slew of other aspects of the model would make jobs more plentiful.

The problem is if you apply that possibly good principle, "keep taxes to a minimum", that change may not mesh well with a reality where we don't take the extra steps to fix the other broken puzzle pieces such as programs people rely on with no suitable alternative in sight.

I am concerned whenever legislation is ham-handedly pushed with its major underpinning being political philosophy and not a deep study of its true impact in our actual system.

Expert opinions of this bill's long term economic impact are far far far from rosy. Could economists all be wrong? Sure, but why ignore the only valid opinions and trust our fate to a massive tax change almost no one has any time to study rushed through congress in about as much time as it took to scribble down on 500 pieces of paper.


Jrr85

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1510 on: December 20, 2017, 12:51:46 PM »
there's no reason to not address unjustifiable policy just because there are other poor policies not being addressed.

This a great point.  Why do we still have the carried interest loophole?

Charitably?  Allowing sweat equity to be treated like real equity is sort of related to the american dream and while hedge fund people using carried interest get all the press (which is wrong to begin with; it's really private equity people that use it), it's mainly used by people providing the sweat equity in small partnerships.

Realistically, it's a hugely lucrative tax treatment, but since it applies to so few people, it's not terribly expensive.  There is economic literature pointing out that those are the unjustified tax treatments (and also subsidies) that are surprisingly easy to maintain, because you have extremely concentrated benefits that make it worthwhile for the beneficiaries to push for them, and extremely small, dispersed costs, which make it more likely that they will be part of a log rolling vote. 

inline five

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1511 on: December 20, 2017, 12:59:53 PM »
there's no reason to not address unjustifiable policy just because there are other poor policies not being addressed.

This a great point.  Why do we still have the carried interest loophole?

According to Cohn they tried to get rid of it. Apparently the hedge fund lobby is pretty entrenched and buys a lot of votes...

Paul der Krake

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1512 on: December 20, 2017, 03:13:59 PM »
The amendments discussed so far are kinda cute. Rubio and Cruz wanted larger child tax credits and expanded 529s, respectively.

Cruz's amendment isn't for "expanded" 529s, it's to allow Christian home-schoolers to tax shelter any income they spend on homeschooling, including the fraction of their home allocated to homeschooling and all of the food supplied during the "school day".  It's an ugly farce. 

Just another federal giveaway to the religious right.  Move along, there's nothing new to see here.
Looks like this made it in the final bill.

Jesus saves, bitches.

edit: according to the following paragraph, it doesn't look like home-schooling expenses are allowed:
Quote
(7) TREATMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY TUITION.—Any reference in this subsection to the term ‘qualified higher education expense’ shall include a reference to expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.

So maybe Jesus doesn't save after all.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 03:20:55 PM by Paul der Krake »

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1513 on: December 20, 2017, 03:34:08 PM »
The amendments discussed so far are kinda cute. Rubio and Cruz wanted larger child tax credits and expanded 529s, respectively.

Cruz's amendment isn't for "expanded" 529s, it's to allow Christian home-schoolers to tax shelter any income they spend on homeschooling, including the fraction of their home allocated to homeschooling and all of the food supplied during the "school day".  It's an ugly farce. 

Just another federal giveaway to the religious right.  Move along, there's nothing new to see here.
Looks like this made it in the final bill.

Jesus saves, bitches.

edit: according to the following paragraph, it doesn't look like home-schooling expenses are allowed:
Quote
(7) TREATMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY TUITION.—Any reference in this subsection to the term ‘qualified higher education expense’ shall include a reference to expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.

So maybe Jesus doesn't save after all.

Yep, thanks Wyden and Sanders. I had some respect for Sen. Wyden in terms of his stance on civil liberties but this erases a lot of that. We homeschool our three oldest (and will homeschool the others once they're old enough). Though this wouldn't have made much of a difference since our total homeschool expenses for 2017 were $1,550, it would have helped a little. It's ok, at least the state-run schools aren't getting any funding for our kids. 50 out of 51 for high school graduation rates - that's the kind of school system I want my kids to be enrolled in :rolleyes:

MDM

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1514 on: December 20, 2017, 03:37:27 PM »
edit: according to the following paragraph, it doesn't look like home-schooling expenses are allowed:
Quote
(7) TREATMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY TUITION.—Any reference in this subsection to the term ‘qualified higher education expense’ shall include a reference to expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.
How is "private" defined?  In other words, does it extend beyond non-religious, tuition-charging schools to include home schooling, which is certainly a "private" thing...?

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1515 on: December 20, 2017, 03:38:18 PM »
50 out of 51 for high school graduation rates - that's the kind of school system I want my kids to be enrolled in :rolleyes:

Isn't that a 98% graduation rate?  That's pretty good, Google says the national average is 83.2%.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1516 on: December 20, 2017, 03:50:33 PM »
50 out of 51 for high school graduation rates - that's the kind of school system I want my kids to be enrolled in :rolleyes:

Isn't that a 98% graduation rate?  That's pretty good, Google says the national average is 83.2%.

New Mexico ranks 50th out of 51 for high school graduation rates at just 71%. Only the District of Columbia is lower at 69%. Still, better than a few years ago when it was 67% or so. In Albuquerque though it's only 66%.
https://www.abqjournal.com/1103190/nm-high-school-graduation-rate-shows-improvement.html

mousebandit

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1517 on: December 20, 2017, 04:01:24 PM »
I believe there will be a lot of latitude in the definitions given to  "expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.”

Tuition in connection with enrollment OR attendance sounds like attendance at a brick and mortar school isn't required.  Indeed, tuition for online college classes has long been considered a qualifying higher education cost, and I don't think they will segregate elementary education in this regard. 

There are many accredited homeschool programs that may very well be covered under this paragraph.  Accredited means different things to different states, but I think that it will come down to tax court to make those decisions upon appeal of an audit at some time in the future. 

I don't think many of the state-affiliated charter homeschools (K12, etc) actually charge parents tuition, but I am not sure on that. 

Last time I checked california homeschool laws (admittedly, over 10 years ago), they required all homeschools to be certified by the state as a "private school", presumably just to make it more difficult for the parents.  Any state still utilizing that language will certainly have to concede that their homeschool parents qualify under this paragraph.  As to what constitutes "tuition," well, that will be the next definition to hammer out.

I think there is a lot of room to refine definitions and, in the view of a homeschooler with 4 children and many years ahead of us, to push the envelope.  I am surprised at the number of people who seem hostile towards the thought of a tax deduction for parents who are shelling out their own money to educate their children.  First, we all pay property taxes and general taxes to support the public education system for those who choose to utilize it, we haven't managed to segregate from that.  So the future funding of all public schoolers isn't impacted by us keeping our children out of them.  Second, why the animosity towards homeschoolers but not private schools?  Are we somehow harming the general society in some way, specifically above and beyond any harm done by private schools?  That eludes me. 

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1518 on: December 20, 2017, 04:20:06 PM »
It looks like senators Collins has already folded on her demand to have healthcare subsidies for the poor included in the year end spending bill.  This was the promise she extracted from McConnel in exchange for her vote on the tax bill that destabilizes the insurance market, and she was widely criticized for buying his vague assurances and then vehemently defended her decision by saying he was going to make good.

But, no.  They're will be no insurance subsidies in the CR, and she has publicly committed to voting for it without them.

I could have sworn republicans were supposed to be the ones with spines.

TexasRunner

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1519 on: December 20, 2017, 04:41:57 PM »
I think there is a lot of room to refine definitions and, in the view of a homeschooler with 4 children and many years ahead of us, to push the envelope.  I am surprised at the number of people who seem hostile towards the thought of a tax deduction for parents who are shelling out their own money to educate their children.  First, we all pay property taxes and general taxes to support the public education system for those who choose to utilize it, we haven't managed to segregate from that.  So the future funding of all public schoolers isn't impacted by us keeping our children out of them.  Second, why the animosity towards homeschoolers but not private schools?  Are we somehow harming the general society in some way, specifically above and beyond any harm done by private schools?  That eludes me.

We homeschool our kids, and I'm curious to see how all of this plays out.

I'm betting the IRS guidelines should clarify this section, but the homeschool groups (where parents group together and take turns teaching their respective strong suits) around here would benefit.

I don't really get the homeschool hate on here, but maybe its a religion-hate thing...?


Edit to add:  Does anyone disagree with the ability to tax-deduct the portion of your home used for a home business?  Thats been on the books for years.  Why would working from home get preferential treatment but schooling from home not?
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 04:44:14 PM by TexasRunner »

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1520 on: December 20, 2017, 04:43:43 PM »
Can I use 529 money to pay (public) Kindergarten tuition? Since Kasich's brilliant decision not to fund Kindergarten the same way we fund every other grade, my district started charging for full day.

TexasRunner

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1521 on: December 20, 2017, 04:45:34 PM »
Can I use 529 money to pay (public) Kindergarten tuition? Since Kasich's brilliant decision not to fund Kindergarten the same way we fund every other grade, my district started charging for full day.

It would appear so.  Thats very clearly schooling expenses and as a brick-and-mortar institution, not going to get IRS'd out in any clarifications.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1522 on: December 20, 2017, 05:15:31 PM »

I think there is a lot of room to refine definitions and, in the view of a homeschooler with 4 children and many years ahead of us, to push the envelope.  I am surprised at the number of people who seem hostile towards the thought of a tax deduction for parents who are shelling out their own money to educate their children.  First, we all pay property taxes and general taxes to support the public education system for those who choose to utilize it, we haven't managed to segregate from that.  So the future funding of all public schoolers isn't impacted by us keeping our children out of them.  Second, why the animosity towards homeschoolers but not private schools?  Are we somehow harming the general society in some way, specifically above and beyond any harm done by private schools?  That eludes me.

Since homeschooling is generally associated with (Christian) religion there's certainly animosity from that respect. I think a lot of it comes down to violating the status quo. Educating your children outside the state-run public schools is very threatening to those that want everyone to fit neatly into secular society. It is also threatening to the education complex as its seen as taking money away from public schools since school funding is linked to the number of enrolled students.

Undecided

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1523 on: December 20, 2017, 05:20:10 PM »
And, of course, the child tax credit is not indexed to inflation at all, in either the temporary $2000 dollar value or the old (and eventually new again) $1000 dollar value, so those whither away over time as well.  Same for the $10,000 SALT deduction limit, which is forever.

Yes, incredibly depressing.

To be fair, that is one of the redeeming qualities of the bill.  Between the limit to $10k and not increasing it with inflation, and putting the standard deduction at $24k for couples and indexing it to chained CPI, that sets the stage for SALT to be completely eliminated as a deduction going forward (which it should be). 

Why "should"? I've always thought that permitting deductions to decrease the barriers to moving to the places that make the nation's economy function was a pretty good idea.

There's no reason for a chosen level of local services to impact your federal tax liability.  Just as a random example, say town A has a voter referendum and decides it wants to levy an additional 30 mills to the property tax rate to construct and run some public pools in town (and assume that works out to an average of $100 for property tax bill).  And say the adjacent Town B has a voter referendum and rejects additional taxes for public pools, under the logic that people that want to swim can build their own pool or join a pool, and peopel that don't want to swim shouldn't have to pay for it.  Both decisions seem pretty squarely within the realm of reasonable choices for a town.  Why should Residents of Town A get a tax break for choosing to have public pools?  They are getting $100 worth of benefits on average and paying for $80.  Town B residents are essentially paying more taxes because they are not running their swimming pool costs through the local government.  It's just a ridiculous policy. 

There are plenty of inequitable parts of the tax code, and peopel from high tax jurisdictions like to point to other inequities to justify SALT deductions, but they're really unrelated, and there's no reason to not address unjustifiable policy just because there are other poor policies not being addressed.

Let's imagine that the $100/property spending was not on a pool, but was instead on productivity-enhancing programs (let's say job training and infrastructure), and that the resultant productivity differentials between Town A and Town B were such that the Town A folks earned enough more that they paid higher federal taxes than the Town B people, even after taking into account the federal deduction of the Town A property taxes. I'm curious---would it be ridiculous for the federal government to incentivize that Town A spending, if it made federal receipts higher?

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1524 on: December 20, 2017, 05:24:11 PM »
Educating your children outside the state-run public schools is very threatening to those that want everyone to fit neatly into secular society. It is also threatening to the education complex as its seen as taking money away from public schools since school funding is linked to the number of enrolled students.

No, this isn't my objection at all. 

I'm fully supportive of religious education.  I'm fully opposed to federal subsidies going to support religious education. 

I prefer my government to stay out of my religion.  Thomas Jefferson and I are buds, in that respect.  America was founded by people who were so persecuted by state-supported religion that they felt they need to risk everything to start anew on a hostile continent, and the memory of those first settlers echoes in everything we do in America today.  We love religion, we're just REALLY opposed to state-sponsored religion, in all of it's possible incarnations.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1525 on: December 20, 2017, 05:37:44 PM »
Educating your children outside the state-run public schools is very threatening to those that want everyone to fit neatly into secular society. It is also threatening to the education complex as its seen as taking money away from public schools since school funding is linked to the number of enrolled students.

No, this isn't my objection at all. 

I'm fully supportive of religious education.  I'm fully opposed to federal subsidies going to support religious education. 

I prefer my government to stay out of my religion.  Thomas Jefferson and I are buds, in that respect.  America was founded by people who were so persecuted by state-supported religion that they felt they need to risk everything to start anew on a hostile continent, and the memory of those first settlers echoes in everything we do in America today.  We love religion, we're just REALLY opposed to state-sponsored religion, in all of it's possible incarnations.

Since money from a 529-plan can be used to pay for tuition at a religious college do you oppose that as well? Or student loans (which are even more of a direct subsidy) being used at religious colleges?

TexasRunner

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1526 on: December 20, 2017, 05:41:42 PM »
...

Since homeschooling is generally associated with (Christian) religion there's certainly animosity from that respect. I think a lot of it comes down to violating the status quo. Educating your children outside the state-run public schools is very threatening to those that want everyone to fit neatly into secular society. It is also threatening to the education complex as its seen as taking money away from public schools since school funding is linked to the number of enrolled students.

This interests me.

So you are saying that some would object to a child not going to a school because the federal funding that is set on a per-child basis is going to be reduced.  But if the federal funding (that is given on a per child basis) is truly a payment for the associated costs of the number of children in a school, then either (1) my child's lack of attendance equals out the lack of funding that (logically) should be specifically used for my child OR (2) federal funding given on a per child basis is not actually spend on a per child basis.

I'll tell you why thats a big deal.  Federal funding has been linked to the number of kids because the assumption is that the spending should be based on the number of children.  My child's absence does not negate my 'portion' of the federal taxation and spending on schooling, therefore I am actually (technically) paying more than my fair share as I have resources available to use that I intentionally forego and still pay for.  That is without including property tax / state tax (though I have no state tax).

The 'hate' of homeschooling is logically inconsistent from a financial standpoint which only leaves (1) the educational standpoint or (2) the religious standpoint.

To address #1, homeschoolers consistent perform better than their peers on testing and have higher college GPAs given that parents include them in some form of structured education (whether that be a structured, solo lesson plan, homeschool group, or online education such as Khan Academy).
Source 1: https://www.nmu.edu/education/sites/DrupalEducation/files/UserFiles/Moreau_Kathi_MP.pdf (page 19 specifically)
Source 2: https://www.nheri.org/research/research-facts-on-homeschooling.html See 'Academic Performance'
Source 3: Ray, Brian D. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ682480
Source 4: http://www.othereducation.org/index.php/OE/article/view/10
Source 5: https://www.parentingscience.com/homeschooling-outcomes.html
Source 6: Kunzman R. 2009. Understanding homeschooling: A better approach to regularization. Theory and Research in Education, 7: 311–330. http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ860946&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ860946
Source 7: Martin-Chang S, Gould ON, and Meuse, R E. The impact of schooling on academic achievement: Evidence from homeschooled and traditionally schooled students. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 43(3): 195-202.
Source 8: Rudner L. 1999. Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 7(1) 1-38.


....

So that leave us with #2, the religious standpoint.

Now, can someone explain to me why there is blanket condemnation of the travel ban but yet its ok to be against homechooling "Because Christianity!"

How can you rectify the disapproval on a religious-based travel ban but then disagree with homeschooling for religious (or anti-religious) reasons?  Why does one religion deserve the support of free will and exercise but another does not?

Those who are against homeschooling either (1) don't understand the data, (2) don't understand the positive financial implications or (3) disagree with it due to a religious or anti-religious viewpoint.  Show me otherwise.

A new thread is here for this discussion, because I don't want to muck up this one any more than it already is: 
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/prove-to-me-why-anti-homeschooling-attitudes-are-ok/

...
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 05:44:54 PM by TexasRunner »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1527 on: December 20, 2017, 05:46:34 PM »
edit: according to the following paragraph, it doesn't look like home-schooling expenses are allowed:
Quote
(7) TREATMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY TUITION.—Any reference in this subsection to the term ‘qualified higher education expense’ shall include a reference to expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.
How is "private" defined?  In other words, does it extend beyond non-religious, tuition-charging schools to include home schooling, which is certainly a "private" thing...?
It doesn't like they bothered to define it, but it mentions "expenses for tuition".

This Internet Lawyer reads it as an inability to expense anything other than tuition, and I don't see how a homeschooling family could realistically charge "tuition" to themselves.

This would mean no pre-tax dollars for sports or school trips either.

Glenstache

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1528 on: December 20, 2017, 05:57:08 PM »
Educating your children outside the state-run public schools is very threatening to those that want everyone to fit neatly into secular society. It is also threatening to the education complex as its seen as taking money away from public schools since school funding is linked to the number of enrolled students.

No, this isn't my objection at all. 

I'm fully supportive of religious education.  I'm fully opposed to federal subsidies going to support religious education. 

I prefer my government to stay out of my religion.  Thomas Jefferson and I are buds, in that respect.  America was founded by people who were so persecuted by state-supported religion that they felt they need to risk everything to start anew on a hostile continent, and the memory of those first settlers echoes in everything we do in America today.  We love religion, we're just REALLY opposed to state-sponsored religion, in all of it's possible incarnations.
+1

Paul der Krake

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1529 on: December 20, 2017, 05:57:51 PM »
Since money from a 529-plan can be used to pay for tuition at a religious college do you oppose that as well? Or student loans (which are even more of a direct subsidy) being used at religious colleges?
Yes, and I would rescind federal funding to institutions that overtly proselytizes any religion or doctrine, with "overtly" being TBD, but some examples are here:
https://collegetimes.co/strict-college-campuses/

Look, I have a very low view of religion in general, but you could take out the religious aspect of homeschooling away entirely and I'd still find it counterproductive because it removes good students from the general population pool.

TexasRunner

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1530 on: December 20, 2017, 06:01:38 PM »
Yes, and I would rescind federal funding to institutions that overtly proselytizes any religion or doctrine, with "overtly" being TBD, but some examples are here:
https://collegetimes.co/strict-college-campuses/

Look, I have a very low view of religion in general, but you could take out the religious aspect of homeschooling away entirely and I'd still find it counterproductive because it removes good students from the general population pool.

This is an interesting point.  I started a tangent thread up-post and actually would like to see a bit more on this or see this thought-out if your willing to expand.  Its an interesting aspect that I haven't ever considered.

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1531 on: December 20, 2017, 06:03:48 PM »
Since money from a 529-plan can be used to pay for tuition at a religious college do you oppose that as well?

Of course. 

I oppose federal dollars being used to advance religious agendas.  I oppose federal aid to seminary or religious colleges.  I oppose mandatory prayer in school.  I oppose tax breaks for churches (especially the ones that endorse political candidates). 

I want everyone, of every religion, to have complete freedom to worship as they see fit.  But with that even playing field, I think, has to come a complete abdication by the government of any control over religious matters.  Uncle Sam should not be supporting one religion over another, IMO, and it's basically impossible to support any specific one without relatively disadvantaging some others.

Now, can someone explain to me why there is blanket condemnation of the travel ban but yet its ok to be against homechooling "Because Christianity!"

I oppose the travel bans because it uses federal regulation to single out one religion over others.  It's fundamentally discriminatory against the freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution.

I am NOT against homeschooling.  I love homeschooling.  I'm just against federal regulations that support one type of religion over another, for the exact same reason that I'm against the travel ban. 

I also love churches, but I don't think they should be getting tax breaks either.  If you love your religion, whatever it is, you should support it without asking the rest of us to do so, too.


TexasRunner

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1532 on: December 20, 2017, 06:09:32 PM »
I also love churches, but I don't think they should be getting tax breaks either.  If you love your religion, whatever it is, you should support it without asking the rest of us to do so, too.

Sol, you and I actually have something we agree on.  I wish all churches (regardless of religion or lack thereof) were not tax-free entities.  From the opposite side of the fishbowl, it would be much easier on everybody inside as well.  Personal political opinions wouldn't be stifled and any giving would occur at whatever level the 'givee' sees fit in lieu of the mental block of "I don't get any benefit beyond XXX number of dollars", which I consider to be counter-productive in both secular and religious donations.

mousebandit

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1533 on: December 20, 2017, 06:18:48 PM »
I do think there's going to be challenges from homeschool parents who use accredited programs, as they do pay "tuition, books, and fees".  I do not know, however, if the traditional uses of a 529 for college expenses includes books and fees, or simply tuition.  Regardless, I do think that there will be plenty of homeschool parents who go for this, and it will probably play out in tax court upon appeal of an audit.  I can't see that the legislature will try to wade in here and define the terms.  I do believe the language to indicate a spirit of inclusiveness, however, and the intent to duplicate the college-level applications of the 529 funds to the primary level. 

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1534 on: December 20, 2017, 06:22:43 PM »
I do not know, however, if the traditional uses of a 529 for college expenses includes books and fees, or simply tuition.

I think the current 529 rules are pretty broad and include things like room and board, a laptop for school, parking passes on campus, etc.  Pretty much anything education related.

maizeman

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1535 on: December 20, 2017, 06:38:44 PM »
There's no reason for a chosen level of local services to impact your federal tax liability.  Just as a random example, say town A has a voter referendum and decides it wants to levy an additional 30 mills to the property tax rate to construct and run some public pools in town (and assume that works out to an average of $100 for property tax bill).  And say the adjacent Town B has a voter referendum and rejects additional taxes for public pools, under the logic that people that want to swim can build their own pool or join a pool, and peopel that don't want to swim shouldn't have to pay for it.  Both decisions seem pretty squarely within the realm of reasonable choices for a town.  Why should Residents of Town A get a tax break for choosing to have public pools?  They are getting $100 worth of benefits on average and paying for $80.  Town B residents are essentially paying more taxes because they are not running their swimming pool costs through the local government.  It's just a ridiculous policy. 

There are plenty of inequitable parts of the tax code, and peopel from high tax jurisdictions like to point to other inequities to justify SALT deductions, but they're really unrelated, and there's no reason to not address unjustifiable policy just because there are other poor policies not being addressed.

Let's imagine that the $100/property spending was not on a pool, but was instead on productivity-enhancing programs (let's say job training and infrastructure), and that the resultant productivity differentials between Town A and Town B were such that the Town A folks earned enough more that they paid higher federal taxes than the Town B people, even after taking into account the federal deduction of the Town A property taxes. I'm curious---would it be ridiculous for the federal government to incentivize that Town A spending, if it made federal receipts higher?

Now you're getting back into the debate over whether or not higher tax rates CAUSE higher state economic productivity.

I thought we put this to bed back on page 8 of this thread.

If we could show a causal relationship between higher state SALT taxes and higher per capita state GDP (after controlling for variation in cost of living*), I would agree that there was a good justification for the deduction to encourage states to raise sales, income, and property taxes. However I haven't seen evidence to suggest that such a causal relationship exists.

*You need higher salaries and hence have to pay higher taxes to support the same level of economic productivity if the cost of living is higher.

Wise Virgin

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1536 on: December 20, 2017, 07:10:03 PM »
Looks like this made it in the final bill.

Jesus saves, bitches.

Please do not use that name disrespectfully.

JLee

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1537 on: December 20, 2017, 07:29:52 PM »
Looks like this made it in the final bill.

Jesus saves, bitches.

Please do not use that name disrespectfully.

And I would like religion to not influence law or politics, but we can't have everything we want.

Wise Virgin

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1538 on: December 20, 2017, 07:41:19 PM »
Looks like this made it in the final bill.

Jesus saves, bitches.

Please do not use that name disrespectfully.

And I would like religion to not influence law or politics, but we can't have everything we want.
I don't expect anything. I am bound to speak up for the One I love, who also loves me. So I did.

Undecided

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1539 on: December 20, 2017, 08:07:45 PM »
There's no reason for a chosen level of local services to impact your federal tax liability.  Just as a random example, say town A has a voter referendum and decides it wants to levy an additional 30 mills to the property tax rate to construct and run some public pools in town (and assume that works out to an average of $100 for property tax bill).  And say the adjacent Town B has a voter referendum and rejects additional taxes for public pools, under the logic that people that want to swim can build their own pool or join a pool, and peopel that don't want to swim shouldn't have to pay for it.  Both decisions seem pretty squarely within the realm of reasonable choices for a town.  Why should Residents of Town A get a tax break for choosing to have public pools?  They are getting $100 worth of benefits on average and paying for $80.  Town B residents are essentially paying more taxes because they are not running their swimming pool costs through the local government.  It's just a ridiculous policy. 

There are plenty of inequitable parts of the tax code, and peopel from high tax jurisdictions like to point to other inequities to justify SALT deductions, but they're really unrelated, and there's no reason to not address unjustifiable policy just because there are other poor policies not being addressed.

Let's imagine that the $100/property spending was not on a pool, but was instead on productivity-enhancing programs (let's say job training and infrastructure), and that the resultant productivity differentials between Town A and Town B were such that the Town A folks earned enough more that they paid higher federal taxes than the Town B people, even after taking into account the federal deduction of the Town A property taxes. I'm curious---would it be ridiculous for the federal government to incentivize that Town A spending, if it made federal receipts higher?

Now you're getting back into the debate over whether or not higher tax rates CAUSE higher state economic productivity.

I thought we put this to bed back on page 8 of this thread.

If we could show a causal relationship between higher state SALT taxes and higher per capita state GDP (after controlling for variation in cost of living*), I would agree that there was a good justification for the deduction to encourage states to raise sales, income, and property taxes. However I haven't seen evidence to suggest that such a causal relationship exists.

*You need higher salaries and hence have to pay higher taxes to support the same level of economic productivity if the cost of living is higher.

I don't see anything on page 8 (or anywhere in this thread) that put anything to bed.
I asked my question to better understand whether Jrr85 objects on philosophical grounds or on the basis of (supposed) outcomes. It seems like you object on the basis of (supposed) outcomes. I'm not aware of evidence of a causal relationship between spending in aggregate and economic growth, but you may want to check out this paper, regarding the education component.http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.366.5485&rep=rep1&type=pdf

maizeman

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1540 on: December 20, 2017, 08:46:02 PM »
I'm not aware of evidence of a causal relationship between spending in aggregate and economic growth, but you may want to check out this paper, regarding the education component.http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.366.5485&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Well that is a giant paper. I will admit up front that don't pretend to understand most of the math behind their models, so I'd be interested to hear more of your own thoughts on the validity of their model, particular the way they are looking at migration and how close states are to the technological production possibility frontier. And why don't economists believe in abstracts?

The TL;DR version for people who don't want to read (or skim) through it themselves: The authors conclude that in the average state, increased funding for 4 year colleges produces additional economic growth beyond the stimulatory effects of the additional government spending itself, but increased funding for 2 year colleges does not. The result seems plausible to me. But if correct, that would suggest some state spending stimulates economic growth and other spending does not, so a more targeted program (for example a federal matching program for state spending on the most advanced educational institutions in the state or other spending shown to produce excess economic growth) would be much more cost effective at promoting the desired behavior than a SALT income tax deduction.

Also this bit from the discussion is a fascinating idea that could explain part of the difference in both state tax burdens and and in how much different states are willing to support their own public research institutions.

Quote
We find that exogenous shocks to research-type education have positive growth effects only in states fairly close to the technological frontier. In part, this is because research-type investment shocks induce the beneficiaries of such education to migrate to close-to-the frontier states from far-from-the-frontier states. Put another way, Massachusetts, California, or New Jersey may benefit more from an investment in Mississippi's research universities than Mississippi does.

I have several concerns about SALT deductions, including the fact that they make the federal tax code less progressive than it otherwise would be. But to me the weirdest bit is that the same people tend to argue opposite and contradictory positions when it comes to individuals and states.

Generally it is people who strongly support the idea that rich people should pay more federal taxes than poor people (a position I share) are the same ones who turn around and what to reduce the difference between the amount rich states pay in federal taxes (per person) and the amount poor states pay in federal taxes (a position I don't share).
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 09:17:01 PM by maizeman »

FIREchiefsr

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1541 on: December 20, 2017, 09:13:00 PM »
Looks like this made it in the final bill.

Jesus saves, bitches.

Please do not use that name disrespectfully.

And I would like religion to not influence law or politics, but we can't have everything we want.
I don't expect anything. I am bound to speak up for the One I love, who also loves me. So I did.

Thank you for this.  Well put.  God bless you brother.

Mr Mark

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1542 on: December 21, 2017, 03:27:22 AM »
Since money from a 529-plan can be used to pay for tuition at a religious college do you oppose that as well? Or student loans (which are even more of a direct subsidy) being used at religious colleges?
Yes, and I would rescind federal funding to institutions that overtly proselytizes any religion or doctrine, with "overtly" being TBD, but some examples are here:
https://collegetimes.co/strict-college-campuses/

Look, I have a very low view of religion in general, but you could take out the religious aspect of homeschooling away entirely and I'd still find it counterproductive because it removes good students from the general population pool.

Fox and Friends should have done a story about how President Trump was planning to give a HUUUUGE tax cut to Muslims to teach their kids the Quran and attend Madrasses...

sherr

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1543 on: December 21, 2017, 06:16:41 AM »
Looks like this made it in the final bill.

Jesus saves, bitches.

Please do not use that name disrespectfully.

And I would like religion to not influence law or politics, but we can't have everything we want.
I don't expect anything. I am bound to speak up for the One I love, who also loves me. So I did.

Thank you for this.  Well put.  God bless you brother.

Sigh, since this thread has turned towards religion in several ways...

As a fellow Christian, I have to speak out against this. You control your own behavior, you do not control the behavior of those around you. Christianity is supposed to be attractive (a "shining city on a hill"), not prescriptive ("do what I say regardless of your beliefs"). The people Jesus hated (if that's the right word) most in the world were the Pharisees who were shoving their religious laws down other people's throats. This behavior is not helpful, at best.

Now hopefully we can get back to the actual topic at hand.

Undecided

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1544 on: December 21, 2017, 09:48:17 AM »
I have several concerns about SALT deductions, including the fact that they make the federal tax code less progressive than it otherwise would be. But to me the weirdest bit is that the same people tend to argue opposite and contradictory positions when it comes to individuals and states.

Generally it is people who strongly support the idea that rich people should pay more federal taxes than poor people (a position I share) are the same ones who turn around and what to reduce the difference between the amount rich states pay in federal taxes (per person) and the amount poor states pay in federal taxes (a position I don't share).

To live in the United States is to live and work in one or a couple of the individual states. So long as those states make different contributions to the nation, focusing on the federal tax obligations of taxpayers alone seems curiously narrow to me. I've never heard an argument that SALT deductions should allow similarly situated taxpayers in a high-tax state to pay less in total taxes than a taxpayer in a low-tax state. But neither have I heard much challenge to the claim that a relative handful of states, which tend to be high-tax ones, host disproportionate amounts of the nation's productivity and innovation. The SALT deductions seem to me no more than a recognition that the willingness of states (and state populations) to subject themselves to higher-tax (and spending) environments has spillover benefits for the nation as a whole. Certainly those relationships could be studied more closely, but I've heard no convincing reason to drop a feature that has heretofore been in the federal tax code throughout its history, and believe instead that it is a politically-motivated decision that will be detrimental to the nation.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 09:56:25 AM by Undecided »

sol

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1545 on: December 21, 2017, 10:49:11 AM »
it is a politically-motivated decision that will be detrimental to the nation.

It may have been unintentional, but this seems a particularly apt summary for the whole topic of this thread.

maizeman

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1546 on: December 21, 2017, 10:59:16 AM »
But neither have I heard much challenge to the claim that a relative handful of states, which tend to be high-tax ones, host disproportionate amounts of the nation's productivity and innovation. The SALT deductions seem to me no more than a recognition that the willingness of states (and state populations) to subject themselves to higher-tax (and spending) environments has spillover benefits for the nation as a whole.

It would seem then that your position boils down to the fact that your default assumption is indeed that higher tax rates do CAUSE higher productivity unless you see evidence to the contrary, and my default assumption is that tax rates and productivity don't have direct causal relationships with each other* unless there is evidence to demonstrate that they do.

In the absence of evidence, it seems unlikely that we are going to reach an agreement on this topic.

*And I do agree it is likely that certain types of state spending do increase innovation and productivity. But if we wanted to promote those specific types of spending, we could do it directly rather than subsidizing all types of state taxation/spending.

Undecided

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1547 on: December 21, 2017, 12:01:41 PM »
But neither have I heard much challenge to the claim that a relative handful of states, which tend to be high-tax ones, host disproportionate amounts of the nation's productivity and innovation. The SALT deductions seem to me no more than a recognition that the willingness of states (and state populations) to subject themselves to higher-tax (and spending) environments has spillover benefits for the nation as a whole.

It would seem then that your position boils down to the fact that your default assumption is indeed that higher tax rates do CAUSE higher productivity unless you see evidence to the contrary, and my default assumption is that tax rates and productivity don't have direct causal relationships with each other* unless there is evidence to demonstrate that they do.

In the absence of evidence, it seems unlikely that we are going to reach an agreement on this topic.

*And I do agree it is likely that certain types of state spending do increase innovation and productivity. But if we wanted to promote those specific types of spending, we could do it directly rather than subsidizing all types of state taxation/spending.

I suspect causality, but don't think it's essential to finding a reason to think federal tax law should grant the SALT deductions:  Even with only a correlation between state taxes and the positive factors we're talking about, once those states exist, decreasing marginal disincentives to migration toward those states can be positive for the nation as a whole, regardless of whether the state taxing and spending caused the advantages. A different approach might be to adjust standard deductions based on cost of living, or change the bracket borders based on cost of living, but offering a system in which taxpayers had the real ability to itemize some of the most common increased costs (larger mortgages, greater taxes) seemed plausible to me, too.

I don't see state and local property and sales taxes quite the same way as income taxes, though, in that income taxes are a direct cost of income production, which seems to be the whole justification for preserving businesses' ability to deduct state and local taxes. It would have seemed more internally coherent to me (considered against business treatment) to eliminate property and sales tax deductions, eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, but keep state and local income tax deductions.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 12:22:55 PM by Undecided »

RangerOne

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1548 on: December 21, 2017, 01:01:42 PM »
It would have seemed more internally coherent to me (considered against business treatment) to eliminate property and sales tax deductions, eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, but keep state and local income tax deductions.

The problem is these breaks have been intertwined because of the nature of itemizing versus the standard deduction. If you wanted to be more fair about these deductions everyone would start from the baseline of a standard deduction. Then further deductions would simply go on top as added intensives to, have kids, buy a home, get educated or avoid double taxation in states that chose to tax income instead of property.

For some reason we are stilled tied to this complicated system of creating a gateway to get to itemizing to access deductions which it would seem we should get by default. How many people in California have suffered through a "double tax" because they never had enough deductions to break past the standard deduction? Its a really stupid system and its only purpose as I can see it is to lessen the amount of people who can access deductions changing the true cost of the tax break.

Buying a home should have never been a gateway to other tax breaks. Each break needs to stand on its owns or not exist.

maizeman

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Re: Republican Tax Plan 2017
« Reply #1549 on: December 21, 2017, 01:05:08 PM »
I suspect causality, but don't think it's essential to finding a reason to think federal tax law should grant the SALT deductions:  Even with only a correlation between state taxes and the positive factors we're talking about, once those states exist, decreasing marginal disincentives to migration toward those states can be positive for the nation as a whole, regardless of whether the state taxing and spending caused the advantages.

So your view is that it's inherently good for the nation as a whole if more people move to New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut? (As these are the four states which combine significantly higher SALT taxes paid per capita and higher federal taxes paid per capita.) I'm not clear why packing more people into those four states is a desirable goal in your view, though. Moving more people from low cost of living states to extremely high cost of living states -- which all four of those already are -- is going to drive up cost of living in those four states even higher which would decrease happiness for both current residents and new migrants. But yes, if your goal is to encourage migration to those four states, a SALT deduction is a good thing. But that's a different argument from saying the SALT deduction encourages increased economic growth.

And even here, if you decide that this is your goal, there are more cost effective means to achieve the same result. In the economic models I'm familiar with, cost of living is a much bigger barrier to migration to major coastal cities than higher tax rates. Changes to zoning and permitting processes can dramatically increase how fast cities add new housing stock and reduce the riskiness of starting new projects, which brings down rents and property purchase prices. So if as a society we want to encourage more people to move to greater NYC and Boston, we could create federal tax incentives for cities to make getting permits for new high rises both faster and more predictable.

would have seemed more internally coherent to me (considered against business treatment) to eliminate property and sales tax deductions, eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, but keep state and local income tax deductions.

Here I am in complete agreement with you. When it comes to both SALT tax deductions and interest charge deductions, the treatment should be the same for individuals and businesses, whether that is providing a deduction or not providing a deduction.