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Taxes & Budget

Coverage of the national budget and your taxes.

If confirmed as budget director, Mick Mulvaney will oversee the first blueprint from President Trump, who has made extravagant and conflicting promises. (Associated Press)

Feuds spell trouble for Donald Trump's first national budget

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

President Trump's pick to be White House budget director ran into a bipartisan buzz saw on Capitol Hill on Tuesday with Democrats blasting Rep. Mick Mulvaney's support for raising the Social Security retirement age and Republicans fretting that the South Carolinian would decimate the military -- both reactions serving as early indicators of the difficulties Mr. Trump faces in putting together his first national budget. Published January 24, 2017

Recent Stories

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with retail industry leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. From left are, Trump, Jo-Ann Craft Stores CEO Jill Soltau, Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck, and Jeremy Katz, an adviser to National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump tells retail executives tax cuts are coming soon

- The Washington Times

Brushing aside questions about his advisers' connections to Russia, President Trump told retail executives Wednesday that he's concentrating on cutting taxes and regulations to create more jobs for the middle class and stronger business growth.

Conservatives had pushed for impeachment, saying John Koskinen cannot be allowed to get away with having misled Congress into the investigation into the IRS tea party targeting. (Associated Press)

IRS prioritized Obamacare over taxpayer customer service, IG report says

- The Washington Times

The IRS made the 2015 tax season more painful for taxpayers than it should have been, the agency's inspector general said in a report Thursday that accused the agency of cutting money for customer service and ignoring phone calls while moving the money over to keep Obamacare and other administration priorities on track.

In this Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, file photo, Eric Denker and his wife, Jalen Denker, of Irvine, take advantage of sales to buy suits for business school interviews at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. On Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, the U.S. government issues the November jobs report. (Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP, File)

U.S. employers add 178K jobs as unemployment sinks to 4.6 percent

- Associated Press

U.S. employers added a solid 178,000 jobs in November, reflecting the steady economy President-elect Donald Trump will inherit. And the unemployment rate hit a nine-year low of 4.6 percent, though mainly because many people stopped looking for jobs and were no longer counted as unemployed.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

House pushes ahead with $611 billion defense policy bill

- Associated Press

The Republican-led House is pushing ahead with a $611 billion defense policy bill that prohibits closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forbids the Pentagon from trimming the number of military bases and awards U.S. troops their largest pay raise in six years.

Job seekers attend the New York Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) 2016 job fair, Wednesday Nov. 2, 2016, in New York. U.S. employers added solid 161,000 jobs in October 2016, as unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent.(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

U.S. employers add solid 161K jobs; unemployment at 4.9 percent

- Associated Press

U.S. employers added a decent 161,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate dipped to 4.9 percent from 5 percent. It was the final major report on a lukewarm but durable economy before Americans choose a new president next week.

Tea partiers are casting their lot with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, even though analysts say his fiscal plan will explode the deficit. (Associated Press)

Tea partyers back Donald Trump, hold out hope for fiscal plan

- The Washington Times

Donald Trump's tax and spending plans would explode the deficit, according to independent analyses, but tea party voters, the political movement born as a protest against government debt, are still willing to roll the dice with the billionaire businessman, saying he is the closest thing they have to a political home this year.

In this Jan. 11, 2013, file photo, the Social Security Administration's main campus is seen in Woodlawn, Md. More than 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children rely on monthly Social Security benefits. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Social Security recipients to get tiny increase in benefits

- Associated Press

Millions of Social Security recipients and federal retirees will get only tiny increases in benefits next year, the fifth year in a row that older Americans will have to settle for historically low raises.

(Associated Press/File)

Judge orders IRS to clear tea party application backlog within month

- The Washington Times

A federal judge has ordered the IRS to finally clean up the tea party targeting mess, giving the tax agency less than a month to decide on a handful of applications that are still pending more than three years after officials first admitted they were targeting the conservative groups and subjecting them to intrusive scrutiny.

A police official, right, escorts two men outside the court in Thane, outskirts of Mumbai, India, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Indian police have arrested 70 people and are questioning hundreds more after uncovering a massive scam to cheat thousands of Americans out of millions of dollars by posing as U.S. tax authorities and demanding unpaid taxes. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Indian police arrest 70 for targeting Americans in IRS tax scam

Associated Press

Indian police have arrested 70 people and are questioning hundreds more after uncovering a massive scam to cheat thousands of Americans out of millions of dollars by posing as U.S. tax authorities and demanding unpaid taxes, a police officer said Thursday.

HHS outlines plans for new Zika money

- The Washington Times

The Obama administration said Monday it can start developing better ways to detect the Zika virus and knock out mosquitos that carry the disease, while forging ahead with a vaccine trial that began in August, now that Congress has broken a months-long stalemate and posted $1.1 billion for the fight.

Field office: Patrick Hanley retired on disability after being wounded in Iraq, only to face co-worker discrimination when he entered the federal workforce.

Veterans facing hostility in federal workplace

- The Washington Times

An Iranian-designed bomb on a route south of Baghdad shattered Patrick Hanley's arm, skull and life on March 29, 2008, sending the Army soldier to shifting addresses on a grueling tour of military hospitals and mental health centers that strive to make service members whole again.

How Hillary plays the class warfare card

Hillary Clinton keeps bashing the Trump tax plan as "Trumped up trickle down economics." This class warfare card has become the standard and tired response to every Republican tax plan reform for 30 years. No wonder we haven't cleaned out the stables of the tax code since the Reagan era. Democrats have no interest.

President Barack Obama steps from his motorcade vehicle to board Air Force One, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama signs bill to keep government open

- The Washington Times

President Obama signed a short-term spending measure Thursday afternoon to keep the government funded through Dec. 9, averting a potential shutdown that would have occurred Friday.

FILE - This Jan. 17, 2008 file photo, South bound vehicles leave El Paso, Texas and enter Juarez, Mexico at the Bridge of the Americas international port of entry. Immigrant advocates are complaining about U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers' actions toward residents along the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso and New Mexico. A coalition of advocacy groups said Tuesday, May 17, 2016, that they filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security alleging at least 13 residents have experienced abuse, including being falsely accused of being prostitutes to having legal document seized for no reason. (Rudy Gutierrez/El Paso Times via AP, File) OUT EL PASO, EL DIARIO OUT, JUAREZ, MEXICO, EL DIARIO DE EL PASO OUT

Mass immigration costs government $296 billion a year, depresses wages

- The Washington Times

Immigration is a massive drain on the government, with immigrants taking as much as $296 billion more in benefits than they pay in taxes, according to a new authoritative study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, which found the record level of newcomers is straining the country.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, prior to testifying before the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearing. Commissioner Koskinen has been accused by Republicans of failing to provide information demanded by Congress and lying under oath as it investigated allegations the agency targeted tea party groups that had applied for tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

IRS chief John Koskinen says he was misled, doesn't deserve impeachment

- The Washington Times

He admitted that the IRS bungled tea party applications and that he gave wrong information to Congress, but Commissioner John Koskinen told lawmakers Wednesday he didn't mean to mislead anyone and said ousting him from the troubled tax agency would stall the progress he has made in cleaning things up.

In this Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, photo, a worker reaches for a steel beam during construction of a new high school and civic center in Watford City, N.D. An oil boom that's drawn thousands of workers to the region has stretched public services to their limits, and drilling is expected to continue despite the recent sharp drop in oil prices. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

Feds should end protectionist steel tariffs

Despite slow growth in the global economy, some countries -- most notably China -- are producing large amounts of steel. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimated that global steelmaking capacity last year exceeded global demand by approximately 700 million metric tons

In this Dec. 9, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., right, during a commemoration ceremony for the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States, in Emancipation Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ** FILE **

Obama, Hill leaders meet ahead of federal funding deadline

- The Washington Times

President Obama is meeting with the top four leaders of Congress Monday afternoon to negotiate an election-season agreement to keep the government open beyond Sept. 30, including the likely addition of more than $1 billion to address the Zika crisis.

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.