The corporate windfall from the great GOP tax scam will go for share buybacks, executive pay and bonuses, along with greater ability to grow larger and more powerful through mergers and acquisitions
First off, what is inflation? We all recognize it as increasing prices when we buy things. The spinner heads will tell you that no, according to the dictionary, inflation is an increase in the money supply. So let me ask, do we have the dictionary description of what inflation is? Let’s see:
Normally characterized by slow, steady growth, the U.S. money supply has grown 20% from $15.33 trillion at the end of 2019 to $18.3 trillion at the end of July.
Well dang! It looks to me like there’s been a quite hefty increase in the money supply, what says you? You agree?
Here’s the thing, though: the federally funded weekly payments ($600 last year, $300 this) — like state UI benefits — are taxable by the IRS at a minimum.
Most states tax UI benefits as well. Of the 40 states that tax income, only five — California, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia — fully exempt UI benefits.
Emily Peck writes that “inflation adjustments are kind of sexy again.” I’m not sure I agree with that specific characterization, but I definitely get her point.
After decades of underwhelming relevance, cost of living adjustments (aka COLAs) for 2023 will likely be higher than they've been in many years and could actually lower the income taxes many Americans owe in 2023.
As Peck observes, COLAs on certain taxes, social security payments and wages have hardly been noticed since the late 1970s and early 80s.
For example, social security COLAs from 1979-1982 were 9.9%, 14.3%, 11.2% and 7.4%, respectively (an average of 10.7% – reflecting that high CPI).
But they’re critical now, especially for less well-off Americans coping with the effect of the highest inflation in over 40 years.
Take social security again. Over the 20-year period of 2000-2019, the average annual COLA was about 2.2% (including no COLA adjustment in 2010, 2011 and 2016 and a 0.3% increase in 2017).
Granted, not all salaries – particularly in the private sector – are subject to COLAs; those workers have to depend on promotions, bonuses or new, higher-paying jobs at other companies to keep up with rising prices.
And many taxes and deductions aren’t adjusted for inflation at all (the U.S. tax code is a bit of a hodgepodge).
In fact, the Wall St. Journal recently remarked, "These inflation adjustments can hardly be called a silver lining, as Americans are paying more for everything from housing to food and energy.”