Everyone Tries To Dodge The Tax Man, And It Keeps Getting Easier

Al Capone was busted for tax evasion. Leona Helmsley was, too. But gangsters and entitled millionaires aren’t the only ones who hold something back from the tax man. Each year, Americans of all stripes underpay the IRS by hundreds of billions, aided by the fact that the agency lacks the resources to catch all the cheaters.

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The Pay Gap Is Way Too Entrenched To Be Solved By Women Alone

Happy Equal Pay Day! (Or, as I like to call it, Women’s New Year.) Today is the day that marks roughly how far into 2018 women had to work to earn a salary equal to what men got the year before.1 We’d throw a parade and street fair, but we were too busy working to organize one.

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Economists Are Bad At Predicting Recessions

Every president’s election-year nightmare — a recession — is suddenly looming over the 2020 race. In a survey released earlier this week by the National Association of Business Economics, 38 percent of economists predicted that the country will slip into an economic downturn next year, and another recent poll of economists put the chances of a recession in the next 12 months at 1 in 3. Those predictions are getting a lot of attention, and it’s not hard to see why — an economic slowdown in the middle of the presidential election cycle could reshape the race, potentially changing the calculus of Democratic primary voters and undermining President Trump, who has made the strong economy a central selling point of his presidency.

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Tariffs Can Work — When They’re Part Of A Plan

Republicans are in revolt. Economists on the left and right are deeply skeptical. President Trump’s top economic adviser resigned rather than be party to it. The culprit: tariffs, and specifically the president’s decision to slap duties on imported steel (25 percent) and aluminum (10 percent).

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Student Loans Are Too Expensive To Forgive

Late last year, graduate students watched as legislators in the House debated giving them a hefty new tax bill: A version of the GOP tax plan proposed to treat tuition waivers as taxable income. Although that plan was later dropped, Congress is once again considering legislation that could affect graduate students’ bottom lines. And the federal government is considering ending some of its student loan forgiveness programs, which could raise the economic barrier to entering certain public service professions and leave social workers, teachers and other people in public-service fields that require graduate degrees paying thousands of dollars more for their education.

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What Issues Should Democrats Ignore In 2018?

Welcome to FiveThirtyEight’s weekly politics chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

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