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The loophole already existed, in much smaller form, before the Trump tax overhaul, but after the Trump law, the tax savings roughly tripled, to about 11%.

The 2017 tax cuts made it more attractive for certain company owners to be paid in profits instead of wages - so some cut their own wages, expanding a loophole that was already costing the U.S. billions. Read more»

Like many, the Fertilizer Institute, a trade group, has extended its condolences to the people of West, Texas, where a blast at a fertilizer plant Wednesday evening killed at least a dozen and injured about 200. The Washington-based institute, however, has lobbied against legislation that would require high-risk chemical facilities – including some of its members – to consider using safer substances and processes to lower the risk of catastrophic accidents and make such facilities less inviting to terrorists. Read more»

DOD competition rate for all contract obligations from fiscal years 2008 through 2012.

The cold reality, as spelled out in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, is that the Pentagon’s use of competitively-bid contracts has been declining steadily for the past five years and last year stood at just 57 percent of its total contract spending. In fiscal year 2008, it was 62.6 percent. Read more»

A plane lands at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas. Most of the Federal Aviation Administration budget will be subject to the sequester cuts. Fully included in those cuts is the FAA’s 'operations' account, which goes largely toward paying the salaries of our nation's 15,000 air traffic controllers who prevent our aircraft from running into one another in the skies.

There is a right way and a wrong way to cut federal spending, but the sequestration plan about to go into effect is perhaps the most boneheaded approach that could possibly be concocted. Read more»

Charred remains of trees dot the area just beyond the Big Lake Recreation Area in eastern Arizona in the wake of the Wallow Fire.

A new Government Accountability Office report says that 30 wildfires near the Arizona-Mexico border between 2006 and 2010 could be traced back to illegal border crossers. The report was seized on by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who came under fire this summer for saying that immigrants caused some of the state’s wildfires. Read more» 2

The tax deal between President Obama and Congress is missing a requirement that Congress evaluate the effectiveness of special business tax breaks that it renews on a year-to-year basis. Read more»

While policymakers debate how to keep Social Security solvent over the long-term, a Government Accountability Office report says there could be unintended consequences by raising the earliest eligible retirement age. Read more»

After breaking his wrist snowboarding and twisting his knee playing soccer, Georgetown University law student Aaron Smith racked up $925.69 in medical bills, his share of the cost under the student health plan. Read more»

Afghan National Police receiving small arms training, March 2.

America has spent more than $6 billion since 2002 in an effort to create an effective Afghan police force, buying weapons, building police academies, and hiring defense contractors to train the recruits—but the program has been a disaster. Read more»