Just in time for Tax Day, the for-profit tax preparation industry is about to realize one of its long-sought goals. Congressional Democrats and Republicans are moving to permanently bar the IRS from creating a free electronic tax filing system.Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), passed the Taxpayer First Act, a wide-ranging bill making several administrative changes to the IRS that is sponsored by Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa).In one of its provisions, the bill makes it illegal for the IRS to create its own online system of tax filing. Companies like Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, and H&R Block have lobbied for years to block the IRS from creating such a system. If the tax agency created its own program, which would be similar to programs other developed countries have, it would threaten the industry’s profits.
IN A CLOSED-DOOR meeting with activists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday, presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., spoke about working closely with the organization and his desire to create a “unified voice from Congress” against the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, or BDS.
“We need to go on the offense,” Milstein said two years ago in response to a question about how to defeat BDS, the Palestinian-led movement that targets Israel over its military occupation of Palestinian land, building of illegal settlements, and denial of Palestinian refugee rights. “We should teach them that anyone that attacks us, there is a price, there is accountability. We need to go on the attack.”
Yet another war of words on Twitter over Article 13 has delivered one of the great ironies of recent times. After Pirate MEP Julia Reda called on kids to ‘lobby’ their parents over the controversial legislation, she got a “shame on you” from IFPI for “manipulating minors”. Trouble is, the entertainment industries have been doing the same for well over a decade.
Disney has now been put in the possibly awkward position of complaining about “overzealous copyright holders,” and talking about the importance of user rights and fair use to protect free speech and the First Amendment. No, really.Disney, of course, owns ABC. Back in May (though the complaint appears to incorrectly state March), ABC aired a two-hour program entitled The Last Days of Michael Jackson. The Michael Jackson Estate was not pleased and sued for copyright infringement. The complaint itself is quite a read.
A NEW STUDY from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is making headlines for projecting that Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” bill is estimated to cost $32.6 trillion — a number that’s entirely in line with 2016 projections, and is literally old news. But what the Associated Press headline fails to announce is a much more sanguine update: The report, by Senior Research Strategist Charles Blahous, found that under Sanders’s plan, overall health costs would go down, and wages would go up.
THE RESTAURANT LOBBY IS making a masked pitch to kill Initiative 77, a ballot measure designed to gradually raise the minimum wage in Washington, D.C., for bartenders, waitstaff, and other “tipped” employees, to $15 an hour by 2025.The current federal floor for “tipped” workers — defined as employees who receive at least $30 a month in tips — is $2.13 per hour. Tipping, originally embraced by Reconstruction-era Americans as a way to avoid paying salaries to newly freed slaves, now supports a two-tiered system in which tipped workers experience some of the lowest pay of any industry. (Waitresses are twice as likely to use food stamps than the general population).But you’d never glean any of that from the restaurant lobby’s pitch.
The character of Drew Cloud ran a “independent, authoritative news outlet” named the The Student Loan Report, which was created after Cloud purportedly “had difficulty finding the most recent student loan news and information all in one place.” How nice. But like so many things in 2018 Cloud wasn’t real, something only confirmed with the company that created him after The Chronicle spent more than a week trying to verify Cloud’s existence.