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On the Margin

AEI scholars have contributed to the federal tax news and analysis publication, Tax Notes, through a special column called On the Margin for the last five years. This column has featured some of the most profound and current AEI tax research.

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Mathur proposes two modifications to the tax code to allow families to supplement income during family leave. She suggests allowing workers to claim child-related tax credits when they go on family leave rather than when they file their tax returns, and making the child and dependent care credit refundable.

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Brill explains how federally sanctioned state Medicaid provider taxes operate and affect federal Medicaid spending. He proposes that Congress prohibit these taxes and either put the federal savings back into Medicaid or use them to reduce federal healthcare taxes.

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In On the Margin’s seventh annual survey of public opinion on tax issues, Bowman and Sims discuss current polls on the IRS, tax reform, the tax burden, and the president’s tax policies.

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Viard explains that the Pease provision does not limit the benefits of making charitable contributions or other expenditures that give rise to itemized deductions. Instead, it raises effective marginal tax rates on adjusted gross income, as does the personal exemption phaseout.

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Viard describes the realization principle’s flaws and the federal tax system’s incremental movement toward mark-to-market taxation.

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Viard discusses recent assertions that corporations are subsidized when they claim ordinary business expense deductions for payments of performance-based executive compensation. 

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In On the Margin’s sixth annual survey of public opinion on tax issues, Bowman and Marsico discuss attitudes about federal and state tax burdens, return filing, and the priority the public places on tax reform. 

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E-cigarettes should not be subjected to tobacco taxes at this time, because the current medical evidence does not point to any significant adverse health effects. 

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In addition to environmental externalities such as air pollution, driving imposes other externalities such as congestion and accidents that are not internalized by individual drivers. An increase in driving-related taxes provides a better way to address those externalities than some of the regulations currently used.

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Viard explains that tax increases cause the overall price level to rise if they are accommodated by the Federal Reserve. A tax increase is likely to be accommodated only if it significantly reduces the real wages employers are willing to pay, as would be true for the introduction of a large VAT or retail sales tax.

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