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Bramwell's Lunch Beat: Dewey Fraud Trial, ‘Cadillac Tax,’ Kasich Tax Plan

Oct 16th 2015
lunch beat

Judge declines to declare mistrial in Dewey & LeBoeuf criminal trial
The judge presiding over the Dewey & LeBoeuf financial fraud case in Manhattan declined to order a mistrial on Thursday, wrote Brendan Pierson of Reuters. Andrew Frisch, the attorney representing the defunct law firm's former CFO Joel Sanders, renewed his call for a mistrial, saying he was worried the jury was feeling pressure to convict after 20 days of deliberations. Prosecutors and attorneys for the other two defendants – former Dewey Chairman Steven Davis and Executive Director Stephen DiCarmine – did not join in the call for a mistrial. Judge Robert Stolz said the jury was “very invested in this process” and has developed a bond with each other and with the court. “And I would not want to lightly take this decision away from them,” the judge said. The most serious charge the three executives face, grand larceny, carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

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Obamacare's ‘Cadillac tax' could use a tuneup
The Los Angeles Times editorial board weighed in on the controversial “Cadillac tax,” saying the 40 percent Affordable Care Act excise tax on high-cost health plans, which is slated to go into effect in 2018, may simply take the wrong approach to doing the right thing. “Congress shouldn't simply give up on the Cadillac tax,” the editorial board wrote. “Instead, it should change the trigger so that the tax falls just on plans that impose negligible out-of-pocket costs, rather than plans worth more than a specific dollar figure. That won't bring in as much revenue for Obamacare as the original Cadillac tax, but that shouldn't be the main goal. Instead, the point is to remove one of the perverse incentives in health care that's making it hard to hold down costs. That's an objective both sides of the political aisle should support.”

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‘Cadillac tax' necessary to get health costs down, White House economic chief says
Despite repeated calls for repealing the “Cadillac tax,” the top White House economic advisor says the tax is necessary to get healthcare costs down, wrote Sara Hansard of Bloomberg BNA. “A lot of what the high-cost excise tax is going to do is drive the types of alternative payment models,” Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said during a recent Brookings Institution forum. “Medicare is pushing, and the tax will give employers more incentive to exercise their market power to slow the actual cost growth of health care.” Repealing or delaying the tax “would be deeply problematic” in terms of achieving the goals of the Affordable Care Act, he said.

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Kasich tax plan aims to balance US budget in 8 years
Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Thursday called for cutting taxes for individuals and businesses while also balancing the federal budget in eight years, offering a comprehensive fiscal plan as he tries to jump-start his presidential campaign in the crowded 2016 GOP field, wrote Janet Hook of the Wall Street Journal. Kasich's tax plan – which would cut the top individual income tax rate to 28 percent from 39.6 percent and provide more relief for lower-income people through the Earned Income Tax Credit – is the latest offering in an array of tax cuts proposed by Republican presidential candidates. His plan would also distribute most federal gas tax revenue to the states to use for building highways and other infrastructure.

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No cost-of-living increase for Social Security
For the first time since 2011, Social Security recipients won't see an annual cost-of-living increase next year, the Obama administration announced on Thursday, wrote Sarah Ferris of The Hill. It's the third time in 10 years the administration has rejected a cost-of-living increase, citing a downward trend in consumer prices that has kept inflation nearly flat. The announcement, which had widely been predicted, also makes nearly certain that millions of people enrolled in Medicare Part B will see an increase in their premiums next year. Cost-of-living increases are determined by a decades-old formula that has driven up average benefits by 4.1 percent since it was enacted in the 1970s.

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Quick Links

  • Beware of tax surprises lurking in mutual funds (Wall Street Journal)
  • Donald Trump tweets photo of tax returns (CNN)
  • Jeb Bush income topped $8 million in 2014: Tax return (Bloomberg)
  • Americans for Tax Reform analysis of Rick Santorum tax plan (ATR)
  • Why we need to reform and cut taxes (The Hill)
  • What the carried interest tax loophole reveals about our corrupt political system (The Hill)
  • Getting multinationals to pay more tax (Forbes)
  • Putting numbers to a tax increase for the rich (New York Times)
  • Treasury considers plan to help Puerto Rico (New York Times)
  • Kansas may face $42 million tax tab to former Pizza Hut magnate (Associated Press)
  • France rejects ‘tampon tax' change (BBC News)
  • Why the hell are tampons still taxed? (Cosmopolitan)

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