Tuesday November 25, 2014
March 12th, 2014
In today's bitterly polarized environment, the Internal Revenue Service has become even more of a whipping boy for politicians as it struggles with deep budget cuts and accusations of incompetence and, some say, illegal actions.
That makes the tax-collection agency an ideal situation for John Koskinen.
Put aside for a moment the geopolitical issues and cries of "Munich" and "Sudetenland" that surround Russia's ongoing annexation of Crimea: In human terms, Crimea's Tatars are the reason to care.
The Muslim Tatars have suffered repeated persecution since the Ottomans ceded their peninsula to the Russian Empire, including an attempted genocide under Stalin. In 1944, the entire population was deported to central Asia and Siberia, and as many as half were killed.
Are conservatives interested in new ideas, or are they merely infatuated with the idea of new ideas? Are they really reappraising their approach, or are they trying to adjust their image just enough to win elections?
We who applaud the boldness of Rep. Dave Camp's tax reform plan need not like everything in it. The part that would repeal the deduction for state and local taxes is an abomination, to put it mildly.
The Michigan Republican, head of the House Ways and Means Committee, largely delivers on his vow to simplify the tax code, cut marginal rates and close loopholes.
When the new Ukrainian prime minister visits the White House this week, President Obama should offer continued support -- but also ask pointedly why several far-right ultra-nationalists have such prominent roles in Ukraine's new government.
I don't know of any reason to doubt Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's commitment to democracy and pluralism. The same cannot be said for some other members of the provisional regime that is trying to reverse Russia's grab of the Crimean Peninsula.
NATO members in emergency talks pledged "solidarity" in the Ukrainian crisis on Tuesday, but there are signs of division in the West over how to respond to Russia President Vladimir Putin.
Among the biggest obstacles to consensus: a Europe where old Cold War fears are running up against the economic clout of the new Russia.
Rex W. Tillerson, a resident of Bartonville, Texas, like many of his neighbors was upset with his city council. That’s not unusual. Many residents get upset at their local governing boards. And so they went to a city council meeting to express their concerns that the council was about to award a construction permit.
Remember the "death tax"? The estate tax is quite literally a millionaire's tax - a tax that affects only a tiny minority of the population, and is mostly paid by a handful of very wealthy heirs. Nonetheless, right-wingers have successfully convinced many voters that the tax is a cruel burden on ordinary Americans - that all across the nation small businesses and family farms are being broken up to pay crushing estate tax liabilities.
Reading all the positive foreign reactions to the Olympics, I can't help imagining how a flunky of Russian President Vladimir Putin would put together a selection of quotes to please the boss - to make the president feel as though he had won all of Russia's world-beating 33 medals, including 13 golds.
Republicans are unhappy that President Obama is invoking his executive powers to govern in the face of a do-nothing-in-2014 House of Representatives. To hear them talk, you would think our chief executive is modeling himself on the late Hugo Chavez and wants to seize dictatorial control.
This, of course, is nonsense. In fact, Obama has in many ways been less aggressive in his use of executive authority than his predecessors.