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Posts Tagged ‘taxes

Haha: Why Don’t Broadcasters Pay Taxes?

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First Franken (or his accountant, who he blames), now Keith Olberman, from the highly unbiased blog “Olbermann Watch“:

New York State has issued a tax warrant against Keith Olbermann for failure to pay taxes on his humbly named personal corporation, Olbermann Broadcasting Empire, Inc. Olbermann is listed in legal records as the President of Olbermann Broadcasting Empire, Inc.

The amount appears to be fairly trivial for a man who recently closed on a $4.2m condo ($2,269.50). Must be the damn accountant’s error again. Of course, in the accounting trade, we’re all negligent like that.

Its laughable that someone who is so well off had a warrant issued for such a trivial amount. Why not just avoid paying all of your tax bill? States require your Federal 1040 numbers to determine theirs, so maybe he just couldn’t bear to take advantage of W’s tax cuts. Its painful, I know.


Written by walonline

May 31, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Ways the Next President Can Fix the Economy

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Many talking heads have said that the economy will be a major issue this election cycle. When electing a President–in my book–the economy should always be a big issue. James Pethokoukis, writing at his Capital Commerce blog, notes a Time magazine article prescribing what the next President should do to fix the economy. He summarized the Time article (by Justin Fox) saying:

Insecure Americans want higher taxes and more regulation. Government should spend more on infrastructure to combat income inequality. Get rid of the Bush tax cuts even if it weakens the economy. Raise energy taxes. Increase regulation on Wall Street. Nationalize healthcare, pretty much.

Then he adds five ideas of his own, which he thinks are more agreeable to the free-market liberals and conservatives:

  1. Eliminate corporate income taxes, especially if you are also going to hit companies with all these energy taxes.
  2. Get companies out of the business of providing healthcare benefits.
  3. Index Social Security benefits to inflation, and extend the retirement age, allowing a big cut in payroll taxes for the middle class.
  4. Create government-funded “innovation prizes” for key technology challenges.
  5. Give universities incentives to create more science geeks, and offer grad students free-floating fellowships to choose whatever field they see as the best market match for their skills.

The key thing that all free-market folk will agree with is maintaining American competitiveness. This idea is not new to this cycle and is well publicized through books such as Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat. As developed nations continue to move towards service-based economies, it is important that the U.S. government do whatever it can to foster the development of ideas, intelligence and technologies that are of high value in the global market. A government that impedes the development of those and fosters Americans’ satisfaction with their status quo will bring about the downfall of the country as a world market leader.

Do readers have any suggestions other than the ones given by Mr. Pethokoukis? I would support a fair tax, but in light of the current political situation, that is basically impossible. Some simplification of individual taxes would be helpful to all, though.

Written by walonline

May 19, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Google Predicting Higher Future Taxes?

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It would appear that way. A look at their FY07 financials indicate that they are trying to pay down their taxes now. Any good tax adviser would recommend paying off taxes early only in the case that tax rates will rise. Otherwise, it is best to defer taxes because of inflation, which cause dollars in the future to be worth less.

From Google’s form 10-K, filed February 15th, we find the following information:






$ 506,322

$ 812,280

$ 1,288,310









Total Current













Total Deferred




Provision for income taxes




The negative deferred taxes is normally an odd thing to see. In this situation, it leads me to believe Google is predicting a Democrat victory and an increased corporate tax rate. In light of a President with a historically-low approval rating, a switch of parties in office is a real possibility. Also, with the Republican candidate looking to continue the current tax policy, Google is only losing possible gains via interest and inflation as opportunity costs.

Written by walonline

April 24, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Markets, Regulation

Tagged with , , ,

Tax Day Opt-Ed Roundup

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“People say all the time: ‘We can’t pick winners and losers.’ Well then fine. Take every single dollar of subsidy out of the federal tax code. Get rid of it all. . . . Let’s have a real level playing field where nobody gets a penny in subsidy.”

– Hillary Clinton, quoted in USA Today, April 5, 2008

Happy tax day to all Americans. Its bittersweet, isn’t it? Of course, there are plenty of opt-eds from the conservative media on the topic today. Investor’s Business Daily believes we should move election day to April 16th. RealClearMarkets has Steven Malanga to tow their conservative line that the rich have a heavier tax burden. The Wall Street Journal looks at the ballooning tax code and its loopholes with a relatively straight-forward metric more familiar to grad students like myself: pages of text. Meanwhile, conservative blogger Rachel Lucas has quite the screed regarding taxes, finally saying she paid enough to “Still want to drink whiskey and blow shit up.” Luckily, this year I didn’t have to feel the pain of self-employment tax, like Lucas and other bloggers. Maybe next year? The New York Times takes its familiarly liberal line of abolishing “taxes” (in the push for more, as I might infer), as Richard Coniff writes,

I propose we stop saying “taxes” and start calling them “dues.”


the word “dues” also plays into the psychology of group identity, and that can work to the benefit of conservatives and liberals alike. Consider that “tax” comes from the Latin for “appraise” with punitive overtones of “censure” or “fault,” as if wage-earners have done something wrong by their labors. “Dues,” in contrast, is rooted in social obligation and duty.

His less than serious tone noted, I still find myself wondering whether Coniff is familiar with Shakespeare and his “rose by any other name” line–or the IRS’ idea of economic substance. These hold in the case of his “dues,” too.

Tax day is not bad for us all. If you’re not paying in though, why not file early and not give the government a few months more of free interest? You’ll have your money quicker and the whole idea of “tax day” will be over with.

Just don’t look at you tax liability that you’ve already paid. The greatest thing the government ever did was take away the money before we ever get our mits on it through mandatory withholdings. Now many of us only see the rapidly growing number at the bottom of our weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly pay stubs.

If anyone still needs to do their taxes, I recommend Turbo Tax (what I used).

Written by walonline

April 15, 2008 at 9:27 am

Posted in Regulation

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90’s Boom Tax or Productivity Related?

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James Pethokoukis, writing at the US News & World Reports Capital Commerce blog, asked McCain advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin about Clintonomics and the economic boom of the 90’s. Holtz-Eakin did not believe it to be correlated with the raise in taxes, but the productivity growth of the Reagan-era deregulation:

There was a lot of investment in IT through the late ’80s, and finally in the mid-’90s we start to see stuff take off…. And what should not be forgotten out of that era is that even though we had the IT bubble in [stock market] valuations, we had real productivity growth, and that was the good thing. The economy survived higher taxes—that doesn’t mean the higher taxes caused it. I am sure it was not true, and it doesn’t mean the higher taxes were a good idea.

I recommend reading the entire entry. It is very difficult to determine the actual success of party and presidential economic policies, because of the time period it takes to recognize it and our perception of correlations.

Note: this is an economic policy/political story, so it is not filed under the “economics” category.

Written by walonline

April 7, 2008 at 8:39 am

Like Pork?

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The U.S. Congress sure does. I’m talking spending, not meat. Both of them seem to be heathen to some cultures. From the spending type, the Citizens Against Government Waste, who obviously would rather be miserly and keep their money to themselves, have released their 2008 Pig Book Summary that documents how well our Congressmen bring home the big money to their districts.

Top five Senators:

  • Thad Cochran (R-MS), $892.2 million
  • Ted Stevens (R-AK), $469.4 million
  • Richard Shelby (R-AL), $464.5 million
  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA), $458.5 million
  • Robert Byrd (D-WV), $386 million

Top five Representatives:

  • Roger Wicker (R-MS), $176.3 million 
  • Bill Young (R-FL), $169.5 million
  • Jack Murtha (D-PA), $159.1 million
  • Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), $153.6 million
  • Steny Hoyer (D-MD) , $149.1 million

In total, $17.2 billion was allocated in twelve spending bills that put money to 11,610 projects. The Democrats aren’t the only ones on top, as you can see, but as a total dollar amount per party, they do out-pork their comrades across the aisle despite the Republicans trying real hard.

Written by walonline

April 2, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , ,

Wednesday Link Roundup

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I’ve been running around like crazy today between meetings, class, etc. and haven’t had enough time to write a topical post, so here’s a link roundup for today.

  • Tax time approaches and Lifehacker has a timely Turbo Tax vs. Human Accountant feature. As someone with a little tax knowledge, I made use of Turbo Tax because of its ease. The article has some pretty good analysis, too.
  • The New York Sun‘s editorial board looks at whether the price of oil has changed, or whether its just the case of dollar deflation and a dollar-priced commodity.
  • The SportsBiz blog looks at the credit crunch with respect to the NFL how it might play out in player compensation issues this coming season.

Happy reading!

Written by walonline

April 2, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Posted in The Web

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