The Treasury Department has taken down from its website a 2012 analysis that found that business owners and shareholders — not workers — bear most of the burden of corporate taxes. The findings of the report run counter to the argument Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been making in selling the benefits of a reduction in the corporate tax rate. The Trump administration’s tax reform framework calls for dropping the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.
The 2012 report from the Office of Tax Analysis found that “workers pay 18 percent of the corporate tax while owners of capital pay 82 percent” — figures that are “in line with many economists’ views and close to estimates from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation and Congressional Budget Office,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
A Treasury spokeswoman told the Journal: “The paper was a dated staff analysis from the previous administration. It does not represent our current thinking and analysis.”
Jason Furman, who was chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, tweeted that the goal of the technical paper series that included the removed study “was to be more transparent about the methodology Treasury used for its modeling and analysis.”
Federal, state and local governments spent about $441 billion on infrastructure in 2017, with the money going toward highways, mass transit and rail, aviation, water transportation, water resources and water utilities. Measured as a percentage of GDP, total spending is a bit lower than it was 50 years ago. For more details, see this new report from the Congressional Budget Office.
The GOP tax cuts have provided a significant earnings boost for the big U.S. banks so far this year. Changes in the tax code “saved the nation’s six biggest banks $3.3 billion in the third quarter alone,” according to a Bloomberg report Thursday. The data is drawn from earnings reports from Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.
We told you Thursday about the Trump administration’s announcement that average premiums for benchmark Obamacare plans will fall 1.5 percent next year, but analyst Charles Gaba says the story is a bit more complicated. According to Gaba’s calculations, average premiums for all individual health plans will rise next year by 3.1 percent.
The difference between the two figures is produced by two very different datasets. The Trump administration included only the second-lowest-cost Silver plans in 39 states in its analysis, while Gaba examined all individual plans sold in all 50 states.
The cap on Social Security payroll taxes will rise to $132,900 next year, an increase of 3.5 percent. (Earnings up to that level are subject to the Social Security tax.) The increase will affect about 11.6 million workers, Politico reports. Beneficiaries are also getting a boost, with a 2.8 percent cost-of-living increase coming in 2019.