Budget ‘Chaos’ Threatens Army Reset: Retired General

Budget ‘Chaos’ Threatens Army Reset: Retired General

By Yuval Rosenberg

One thing is standing in the way of a major ongoing effort to reset the U.S. Army, writes Carter Ham, a retired four-star general who’s now president and CEO of the Association of the U.S. Army, at Defense One. “The problem is the Washington, D.C., budget quagmire.”

The issue is more than just a matter of funding levels. “What hurts more is the erratic, unreliable and downright harmful federal budget process,” which has forced the Army to plan based on stopgap “continuing resolutions” instead of approved budgets for nine straight fiscal years. “A slowdown in combat-related training, production delays in new weapons, and a postponement of increases in Army troop levels are among the immediate impacts of operating under this ill-named continuing resolution. It’s not continuous and it certainly doesn’t display resolve.”

Republicans Are Still Coming After Obamacare’s Individual Mandate

House Speaker Ryan walks to news conference after Republicans pulled  American Health Care Act bill before vote on Capitol Hill in Washington
JONATHAN ERNST
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday that House Republicans are still considering a repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate as part of their tax bill. "We have an active conversation with our members and a whole host of ideas on things to add to this bill. And that’s one of the things that’s being discussed," Ryan said on Fox News. President Trump touted the idea in a tweet last week, and Sens. Tom Cotton and Rand Paul have recently spoken in favor of using the tax bill to eliminate the mandate. The move would save the government $416 billion over 10 years as roughly 15 million people go without insurance due to lower spending on subsidies and health care services, according to the CBO. Those savings could be appealing as Republicans look for revenues in their revised tax bill. But if the controversial repeal of the mandate isn’t included in the tax bill, the White House is reportedly ready to roll out an executive order weakening the requirement that taxpayers provide proof of insurance to avoid paying a penalty.

Goldman Sachs Says Corporate Tax Rate Cuts May Get Phased In

The logo of Goldman Sachs is displayed in their office located in Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo   - RTSPELC
David Gray
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Despite the challenges the Republican tax overhaul faces, Goldman Sachs still puts the chances of a plan becoming law by early next year at about 65 percent — but its analysts see some substantial changes coming before that happens. “The proposed tax cut is more front-loaded than we have expected; official estimates suggest a tax cut of 0.75% of GDP in 2018. However, we expect the final version to have a smaller near-term effect as competing priorities lead tax-writers to phase in some cuts—particularly corporate rate cuts—over time,” Goldman said in a note to clients Sunday. 

The Hidden Tax Bracket in the GOP Plan

Flickr / Chris Potter
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Politico’s Danny Vinik: “Thanks to a quirky proposed surcharge, Americans who earn more than $1 million in taxable income would trigger an extra 6 percent tax on the next $200,000 they earn—a complicated change that effectively creates a new, unannounced tax bracket of 45.6 percent. … The new rate stems from a provision in the bill intended to help the government recover, from the very wealthy, some of the benefits that lower-income taxpayers enjoy. … After the first $1 million in taxable income, the government would impose a 6 percent surcharge on every dollar earned, until it made up for the tax benefits that the rich receive from the low tax rate on that first $45,000. That surcharge remains until the government has clawed back the full $12,420, which would occur at about $1.2 million in taxable income. At that point, the surcharge disappears and the top tax rate drops back to 39.6 percent.”

Vinik writes that the surcharge would have affected more than 400,000 tax filers in 2015, according to IRS data, and that it could raise more than $50 billion in revenue over a decade. At a Politico event Friday, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said the surcharge, sometimes called a bubble rate, was included to try to drive more middle-class tax relief. 

Read the Republican Tax Bill, Plus the Talking Points to Sell the Plan

Legislation
GraphicStock
By The Fiscal Times Staff

House Republicans on Thursday released a 429-page draft of their "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act." Read the bill below, or scroll down for the House summary or a more digestible GOP list of highlights.

Another Analysis Finds GOP Tax Plan Would Balloon Deficits

By The Fiscal Times Staff

study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, using the Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM), finds that three modeled versions of the plan would raise deficits by up to $3.5 trillion over 10 years and as much as $12.2 trillion by 2040. The lowest-cost plan modeled in the study — a version that would tax corporate income at 25 percent instead of the GOP’s proposed 20 percent and pass-through income at 28 percent instead of 25 percent, among a host of other assumptions and tweaks — would lose $1.5 trillion over 10 years, or $1 trillion after accounting for economic feedback effects. (The budget adopted by Republicans last week allows for up to $1.5 trillion to the added to the deficit.) The study also found that workers’ wages would increase by about 1.4 percent over a decade, far shy of the estimated benefits being claimed by the White House.