The logistics of taxing unrealized capital gains are probably easier than the politics of getting regular taxes higher, so we should try the former. You don't really even need mark-to-market, we can get boat loads of revenue from regular capital gains
Larry Summers of all people thinks there's $1 trillion more revenue in raising capital gains than it's usually scored as, so long as we make smaller changes like ending stepped up basis
This paper has some interesting discussion of mark-to-market. Seems like the way to go is combining it with retrospective accrual taxes for non-publicly traded assets…

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More from @jdcmedlock

26 May
Alcohol taxes are good. They’re progressive (rich people drink more, and more expensively), and they work (they reducing drinking, and the associated externalities)
I’m not a fan of “sin taxes” - we shouldn’t tax things because of value judgements about those things. But I’m a fan of pigouvian taxes - we should tax things we want less of to reduce broader harm to society
This distinction turned out to be controversial. It's true there's no escaping value judgements, and the line is thin, my point is that we should make value judgements based on demonstrable harm to society rather than an intrinsic sense of morality. For a concrete example:
Read 4 tweets
17 May
I've always been fascinated by marginal tax rate charts, and so to celebrate tax day, I'm starting a running thread of them (as well as other tax related charts). They're often interesting on purely aesthetic grounds, though in many cases reflect terrible policy
This is the effective marginal tax rate for a middle aged couple with three children in Australia. Their welfare state relies on means-testing more than any other, and @DPlunky creates some incredible charts
This one looks like a house with a chimney!
Read 14 tweets
15 May
Their continued existence is at odds with having a functioning tax system. We should buy out investors, possibly fold some of the employees and software into the IRS, and do free automatic filing for everyone…
This is especially important as we expand our reliance on tax credit-based welfare programs. A lot of administrative costs are hidden because we’ve outsourced them to private companies, but they still impose real costs on individuals…
Read 4 tweets
15 May
This article argues cash > health insurance for poor people, as uninsured people already get a lot of free care. But the real takeaway here should be that it’s cheaper to expand health insurance than we realize, b/c the system is paying 60% of it already…
That is to say, a lot of expanding health insurance is about a reallocation of resources from public and private charity care to programs like Medicaid, rather than brand new spending, and we should take those savings into account
And it should be emphasized that the stress of not being covered and finding charity care or negotiating down huge bills is a real cost to individuals (and an administrative cost to hospitals)
Read 4 tweets
9 May
Happy Mother’s Day, remember that our high single mother poverty rate is a policy choice
There are a number of policies we should implement. Lengthy paid parental leave with benefit levels above the poverty line and including those out of the labor force is a great step
Guaranteed child support, where the government acts as a intermediary and guarantees child support payments regardless of if the (generally) father pays is a great step
Read 6 tweets
5 May
Interesting piece on public option design. All too often the public option gets treated like it’s one policy rather than a wide range of possible policies that can either be good or barely impactful
Of particular importance is setting prices administratively rather than through negotiation. If not lowering prices, a PO doesn’t have a major impact, but I do think implementing one would give future policy makers something to build on
I do think that the lower degree of utilization management they cite is a real policy advantage of a PO. It may save money, but as they note, evidence with Medicare Advantage suggests it reduces high value care just as much as low…
Read 4 tweets

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