Closing the “tax gap,” or revenue owed to the federal government that goes uncollected, has long been a favorite deus ex machina for lawmakers who want more revenue without having to raise rates. But Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Chuck Rettig really put dollar signs in lawmakers’ eyes when he claimed the tax gap could be as large as $1 trillion. Always eager to appear knowledgeable on policy issues, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is putting forward a plan to collect extra revenue that only gets worse the deeper you dig into it.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand how far off on an island Rettig is with his estimate. The IRS’s last official estimate of the size of the tax gap placed it at a far, far lower $381 billion. Even considering that this estimate may not have factored in underpayment from cryptocurrencies, offshore holdings, and pass-through businesses, the tax gap still remains far closer to $500 billion than to $1 trillion.
Alabama will soon cease participating in the federal government’s unemployment insurance program that grants out-of-work Americans an extra $300 per week, the state’s governor said.
Republican Gov. Kay Ivey announced that the state would withdraw from the coronavirus relief program by June 19, 2021, arguing that the $300 in additional weekly payments was incentivizing people not to look for jobs. She suggested that the labor shortages reported in states across the country have been caused by the unemployment boost.
“As Alabama’s economy continues its recovery, we are hearing from more and more business owners and employers that it is increasingly difficult to find workers to fill available jobs, even though job openings are abundant,” Ivey said in a statement.
Is the economy booming or is it riding a wave of paper money with no real underlying sustainability? That is the question which policy makers in Washington, DC should be considering.
The truth is no one actually knows, but that is exactly why this discussion must be had.
Since the China virus was inflicted upon the world, it is indisputable that the federal government has authorized $5 Trillion between the Trump spending of $3.1 Trillion to meet the crisis and Biden’s recently passed additional $1.9 trillion so he could sign checks to people too. This is on top of the $1 Trillion in planned deficits during the 2020 fiscal year.
Along with a working vaccine, Joe Biden inherited a V-shaped economic recovery, but he is now planting the seeds of its destruction. Inflation, federal deficits, high taxes, incentives for workers to stay home, and incentives to avoid investment – they’re all coming back. Together, these elements create the perfect brew for a Lyndon Johnson-style stagflation. If Biden and the Democrats so quickly wreck the good economic path they were given, it will be one of the worst examples of government malpractice in U.S. economic history.
In the first, dark days of the COVID-19 national economic shutdown last spring, there was a clear need for major stimulus. Both parties united to pass an effective and much-needed response.
The U.S. gross domestic product saw a 33.4% surge in the July-September third quarter of 2020, after plunging 31.4% in the April-June second quarter. The economy continued to grow at a 4% rate in the fourth quarter, and the stock market (despite COVID) ended 2020 with the S&P 500 index up 16% for the year as a whole.