Charging Through the Back Door

Provision in cliff bill raises effective tax rate, could hurt charities
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden make a statement regarding the passage of the fiscal cliff bill / AP

A change in how itemized deductions are calculated is raising concerns among economists and nonprofits that the government has unlocked a back-door revenue raiser and could hurt charitable giving.

Joe Biden’s Estate Tax Guru

VP adviser, former lobbyist has close ties to industries benefitting from estate tax reform
Ricchetti, Biden / digplanet.org , AP

Vice President Joe Biden secured estate tax hikes as part of the final fiscal cliff package while employing a former top lobbyist for the life insurance industry, which is set to benefit from the legislation.

Meathead Wins Again

Column: Tax deal is a victory for Hollywood cronyism
AP

My least favorite political cliché—that liberal donors don’t ask for anything in return for campaign contributions—was exposed as laughably false by the Kick the Can Down the Road Act of 2012, also known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act, or the “fiscal cliff deal.”

Compromise with a Side of Pork

Fiscal cliff bill full of excessive spending, unspecified cuts
Flickr

Republicans expressed dismay at the amount of excessive spending in the fiscal cliff deal that Congress passed Tuesday evening.

Higher Taxes Matter More to Obama Than UI

Job seekers wait in line to see employers at a National Career Fairs' job fair in New York / AP

Without an extension of unemployment insurance as part of a fiscal cliff compromise, more than 2 million Americans, or roughly 43 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits, will lose Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits at the end of the year, according to a report from the Department of Labor.