We learn from Jesse Eisinger and Paul Kiel at ProPublica that the IRS has had a tough time going after ultrawealthy tax-dodgers. Congress deserves some of the blame, for repeatedly slashing IRS funding and thus helping drive experts out of the agency, but of course the bad actors who design these labyrinthine tax-avoidance schemes deserve most of the blame. And dig the chutzpah of at least one IRS target proclaiming (successfully, it seems!) that the IRS's detailed questions about his dealings were themselves a "burden." As if their schemes aren't a burden for the rest of us!
In a peripherally-related note, another ProPublica report wonders why a particular impoverished Mississippi county has the highest IRS audit rate in America. You won't like the answer: because more than half the county uses the Earned Income Tax Credit (or EITC), and the IRS audits EITC recipients more than anyone but the very richest taxpayers. The article doesn't say it, but I would guess that EITC audits are pretty easy pickings for the IRS -- you don't exactly have an army of folks getting the EITC who know how to game the system as well as a billionaire does.
Sen. Wyden (D-OR) proposes taxing capital gains more like income, since it is, in fact, income. Details are scant at present, but the Wyden plan would go after the "appreciation of assets owned by the very wealthy as income each year" as income; if that strikes you as "taxing folks for the sin of holding onto their property," consider that letting the wealthy build up tens of billions of dollars this way essentially taxes folks for the sin of working, since we don't generally get the opportunity to buy property and sit on it. Also consider that wealthy folks frequently set up deals so that it doesn't look like they're selling their property when they actually are. (Mr. Wyden's plan would also eliminate capital gains tax cuts for the very wealthy, which would make that tax more progressive.)
Ho hum, our President promised that corporate
tax amnesty repatriation would bring back as much as $4 trillion, but corporations have brought back less than $700 billion, and they're bringing the money back a lot more slowly now. Promise made, promise kept! Still, if his eventual Democratic opponent is just another Democrat who doesn't mean what they say, then this moron of a President will still get re-elected no matter how many promises he breaks.
Speaking of which, noted pre-emptive compromiser Barack Obama worries about a "circular firing squad" that could torpedo the next Democratic nominee. Uh, no: liberals demanding what they want and demanding that their elected officials actually fight for it will get us far better policy in America, and Mr. Obama certainly shouldn't act as if liberals being liberal "weakens the movement." The man piddled away his 2008 mandate from the voters by "reaching out" to an opposition party that did nothing but stamp its feet and yell no, so he has no standing to lecture us on the importance of compromise. You compromise from strength, not weakness.
Finally, if you're wondering how right-wingers and their enablers will attack Sen. Warren's proposal to break up big tech corporations, the incomparable David Dayen provides us with a primer on all their bad arguments. Go and study the whole thing, from the multitudinous conflicts of interest antitrust critics have to the irrelevant worst-case scenarios they concoct, and also note that breaking up big corporations is an honorable American tradition, over a century old, no matter how many corporatists call it "radical." Of course you already know that calling something "radical," like calling something "socialist," is a signal that the person doing the name-calling already knows they can't win the argument on the merits.