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Taxes & Budget

Coverage of the national budget and your taxes.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks in his home in Upperco, Md. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Ben Carson calls for 14.9 percent flat tax

By Seth McLaughlin - The Washington Times

GOP presidential contender Ben Carson detailed his plan Monday to overhaul the federal tax code, calling for it to be scrapped in favor of a 14.9 percent flat tax on individual and business income. Published January 4, 2016

Recent Stories

President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, to commemorate the 7th Anniversary of the Signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Federal debt hits $19 trillion; new record set

- The Washington Times

The federal government is now officially $19 trillion in debt, according to the latest figures released by the Treasury Department Monday that show the Obama administration crossed that ignominious line late last week.

President Barack Obama smiles during his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

Obama misled Congress on debt limit: House report

- The Washington Times

The government could have continued to pay Social Security and other critical payments in the event it reached its debt limit, but the Obama administration intentionally misled Congress about that to force Republicans to hike the borrowing ceiling, a House panel said Monday, citing internal Treasury Department documents.

The grim news comes with less than a year left for President Obama to put the Affordable Care Act on firmer footing as he seeks to head off what is likely to be a last effort at repealing the act after November's elections. (Associated Press)

Feds foresee $30 trillion debt, blame looming tax hikes and Obamacare

- The Washington Times

The federal government will be flirting with $30 trillion in debt within a decade, the Congressional Budget Office reported Monday, blaming an aging population, new spending and tax cuts approved on Capitol Hill, and the growing burden from Obamacare for erasing the progress Washington had made over the past few years.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Democrats push fixes to 'crushing' student debt

- The Washington Times

Rising college costs and heaps of student-loan debt are a direct threat to America's future, according to Senate Democrats who proposed legislative fixes Thursday and challenged Republicans to either join them or come up with a plan of their own in a pivotal election year.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, left, addresses the Maryland House of Delegates as House Speaker Michael Busch, center, and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford stand nearby, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Annapolis, Md. Maryland lawmakers gathered for the start of their annual 90-day legislative session. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

Surplus in Hogan's budget plan sparks debate on spending

- The Washington Times

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan proposed a $42.3 billion budget Wednesday that would fully fund the Democrat-led General Assembly's mandates on education, health care and other priorities, and leave hundreds of millions of dollars in savings — prompting debate on how best to spend the surplus.

President Barack Obama stands with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. in Emancipation Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, during an event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 13th amendment that abolished slavery. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Federal deficit to soar in 2016 after Ryan-Obama tax deal

- The Washington Times

The federal budget deficit will soar this year, the Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday, after President Obama and Congress gave up on austerity late last year, embracing spending hikes and massive new tax cuts that have left the government awash in red ink.

"The American people deserve better. We must do more to ensure the IRS treats all Americans fairly, holds employees responsible for these abuses accountable and implements procedures to prevent this abuse from ever happening again," said Rep. Peter J. Roskam, an Illinois Republican who helped lead one of the investigations into the IRS targeting. (Associated Press)

IRS lets individual employees decide what's 'fair' in audits

- The Washington Times

The IRS leaves it up to individual employees to decide what's "fair" in audits, meaning the tax agency sometimes uses arbitrary criteria in deciding whom to review, the government's chief watchdog said Wednesday in a report Republicans seized on as proof that unfair targeting could still be going on.

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, examines a printout of the $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government for the 2016 budget year and extend $680 billion in tax cuts for businesses and individuals, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the legislation. (Associated Press)

House approves more than $600 billion in tax cuts

- The Washington Times

The House approved a $620 billion deal Thursday that solidifies a laundry list of tax breaks for businesses and families while pausing Obamacare's tax on medical device sales, part of a one-two punch against the overhaul as Congress scrambles to finish its work before the year ends.

"It's the best we can do with what we have," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers. (Associated Press)

House approves debt deal, spending hikes

- The Washington Times

With Democrats leading the way, the House passed a budget agreement Wednesday to boost spending in 2016 and 2017 and grant a debt holiday allowing for unlimited federal borrowing into the next president's term -- but not before conservatives mounted one last vote of defiance against outgoing Speaker John A. Boehner.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this Oct. 21, 2015, file photo. Lawmakers are pushing to finalize a sweeping deal to fund the federal government before Boehner leaves Congress at the end of this week. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

John Boehner pushes for budget deal before leaving House

- Associated Press

Speaker John Boehner is pushing to finalize the outlines of a deal to fund the federal government before he leaves Congress this week and hands the top House job over to Paul Ryan, congressional officials said Monday.

An analysis by The Wall Street Journal found that if Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders is elected president in 2016 and gets all of his wishes for free college and health care and more social programs, the costs would be in the trillions. (Associated Press)

Bernie Sanders' socialist agenda carries price tag in the trillions

- The Washington Times

Sen. Bernard Sanders' socialist views have made him a colorful and enticing presence in the Democratic presidential race, but he's under increasing pressure to explain his political philosophy as his plans for massive social programs and huge tax increases start to sink in with voters.

The Golden Hammer

IRS spends millions to upgrade to outdated version of Windows

- The Washington Times

If you were a half-dozen years behind on your taxes, Uncle Sam would almost certainly be knocking at the door. But at the Internal Revenue Service, millions of dollars are still being spent to upgrade computers to the 6-year-old Windows 7 operating system, which is two generations outdated.

President Barack Obama gives remarks at the National Clean Energy Summit at the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, in Las Vegas. The President used the speech to announce a set of executive actions and private sector commitments to accelerate America’s transition to cleaner sources of energy and ways to cut energy waste. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Fed spending soars in 2015; taxes spike

- The Washington Times

After several years of GOP-imposed constraints the federal government opened the spending floodgates again in 2015, setting a new record with outlays of $3.688 trillion in the just-ended fiscal year.

This Thursday, Jan. 9, 2013, photo, shows a 2013 1040-ES IRS Estimated Tax form at H&R Block tax preparation office in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) ** FILE **

Billions in income leaving D.C. region for low-tax states

- The Washington Times

Billions of dollars worth of income once destined for tax collectors in Virginia, Maryland and the greater District of Columbia has instead bankrolled official government business elsewhere as new statistics highlight migration patterns among money-makers out of the mid-Atlantic.

Social Security Victims Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Flat disability insurance benefit would save Social Security fund and anti-poverty goal

The trust fund that helps pay for disability insurance under Social Security is on track to run out of money next year, a shortfall that would trigger a 19 percent cut in benefits. To avert these painful cuts, policymakers should overhaul the program by dropping the progressive benefit structure and replacing it with a flat benefit that will keep recipients out of poverty.

Recent Opinion Columns

In this Oct. 20, 2014, file photo, Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press in Baltimore. Gov.-elect Hogan says he remains committed to pursuing tax relief in his first year as governor, despite a projected budget shortfall of more than a half a billion dollars. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

A bad tax law puts the government in the preaching business

Flawed and cumbersome tax laws afflict taxpayers everywhere, but few are as irksome, as silly and as constitutionally dangerous as Maryland's "stormwater remediation fee," also known as "the rain tax," including whatever penumbras and emanations that followed. Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, a Republican, vowed during his campaign to free taxpayers from the overreaching state law that claims to protect the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways from polluted runoff, flooding and erosion. Together with others, he argues persuasively that it amounts to little more than a weather levy, with accompanying clouds.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

Lame-duck Congress may lay golden eggs for crony capitalists

The lame-duck Congress that will meet after the Nov. 4 election could lay a few golden eggs that will hatch into a new flock of crony capitalist ducklings. The gold would actually come from taxpayers. The politically well-connected are especially eager about an $18 billion giveaway to wind farms, a tax credit that benefits mostly millionaires and billionaires.

DUBAY: How to make a promising tax reform even better

Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida recently laid out their vision of tax reform. They are right to push for reform. Our burdensome tax code is one of the major obstacles holding the economy back from reaching its potential. In the process, it is denying countless American families the opportunities they deserve.