You are here

Nick Kasprak

Nick Kasprak is trying to learn how to Drupal.

Clean URLs

Note: I've since upgraded the site to Drupal, so the specifics below are no longer accurate.

Part of the reason I built this website was to practice my web development skills and experiment with new techniques. So, instead of installing some off-the-shelf blogging software, I wrote my own bare-bones blogging platform. It's still a work in progress, but I think I've got all the basics covered, and I learned a lot in the process - especially about regular expressions, mod_rewrite and clean URLs, all of which are subjects I'm relatively new to.

Netroots Nation

Morning-After Pill

Netroots Nation Day #1

The first day of exhibiting at Netroots Nation is going well - we're pushing our work on film tax credits and sales tax holidays, and the progressives here are receptive. I've been framing things as a transparency argument - using the tax code for social policy is bad because it hides the true cost of what you're doing, and to the extent the government is trying to enact social policy it should be on the spending side, not the tax side.

Also, our offical Tax Foundation keychains/tape measurers/levels are inexplicably incredibly popular.

Edward Tufte

That $250,000 Threshold: How does it Work?

President Obama's proposal to let the Bush tax cuts expire for married taxpayers making over $250,000 and single taxpayers making over $200,000 sounds simple enough. If you make under those amounts, nothing changes, and if you make more, you pay the old Clinton-era tax rates. Right?

As with anything related to the federal income tax code, things are much more complicated than they seem. For one thing, the Bush tax cuts included much more than just marginal rate reductions – they also changed the way dividend income is taxed, reduced capital gains tax rates, and phased out various limitations on exemptions and deductions for upper income taxpayers.  Additionally, marginal tax rates apply to taxable income, while Obama's thresholds apply to adjusted gross income (AGI). Finally, Obama first proposed those $200,000/$250,000 thresholds back in 2009; using the same numbers four years later in 2013 would cause this tax increase to affect significantly more taxpayers than initially intended because of inflation, and the official proposal in his 2013 budget indexes those thresholds using a 2009 base year. So when Obama talks about letting the Bush tax cuts expire for families earning over $250,000 and single filers earning over $200,000, he really means $267,000 and $213,600.

The marginal rate increases are relatively simple to understand, but it requires knowing the difference between taxable income and AGI. Taxable income is simply AGI minus personal exemptions ($3,900 per dependent in 2013 plus an additional $3,900 for the head of the household) and deductions (in 2013, a minimum of $6,100 for single filers and $12,200 for married filers, plus more if the taxpayer itemizes.) So for an AGI of $267,000 (remember, that's the $250,000 threshold adjusted for inflation to 2013), the applicable taxable income threshold is $267,000 - $12,200 – (2 x $3,900): that's subtracting the standard deduction for married filers and two personal exemptions (one for each spouse.) That comes out to $247,000.

Shameless Self Promotion

I haven't updated this thing in a while what with buying a condo and moving and all that but I'm going to make a real effort to start blogging regularly again. I also am going to try and add blog comments in the near future, partly because the programming aspect of doing that from scratch will be a good exercise. But for now I'm going to just link a few recent highlights:


Subscribe to RSS - Nick Kasprak