Focus on Tax Policy

Focus on Tax Policy

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On December 22, the Institute for the Study of Labor published a working paper on the impact of progressivity on taxpayer morale. It finds that progressivity improves morale.


On December 21, the Joint Committee on Taxation published its annual report on tax expenditures, including estimates of their distribution by income class.


On December 17, the Mackinac Center published a study of cigarette smuggling. The state with the highest smuggling rate is Arizona, where more than 50 percent of all cigarettes consumed evade cigarette taxes.


In a December 16 commentary, MIT economist Simon Johnson argued that we need tax reform primarily for the purpose of raising revenues as a share of GDP.

In the winter issue of the journal Democracy, published on December 15, MIT political scientist Andrea Louise Campbell has an article that urges adoption of a progressive value added tax to deal with our budgetary problems.

Also on December 15, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published new data on taxation in its member countries.

A December 13 ABC News/Washington Post poll found surprising opposition to cutting the Social Security payroll tax. Only 39 percent of people support the proposal, with 57 percent opposed.

Also on December 13, the Mercatus Center published a working paper which supports the Republican argument that uncertainty over future tax policy is highly detrimental to economic growth.

And on December 13, the National Bureau of Economic Research published a working paper by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis economist Ellen McGrattan, who found that high taxes on capital during the Great Depression were a more important drag on growth than previously believed.

On December 8, the OECD published a study on the role of tax policy in fiscal consolidation. It urges countries to use the necessity of raising revenues to reform their tax systems by reducing tax expenditures and shifting more toward the taxation of consumption, real property and “externalities” such as pollution.

I last posted items on this topic on December 10.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.