In the News

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Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Edward Kleinbard and Laura Tyson: California tax reform should reflect shift to service economy

San Jose Mercury News • January 6, 2015 • Sen. Bob Hertzberg, Edward Kleinbard and Laura Tyson

As the new Legislature settles in, students are protesting tuition increases while the state faces yet another funding crisis for higher education. This has set lawmakers abuzz about what tax plan should replace Gov. Jerry Brown's temporary increase that will soon wind down and that he vows not to renew.

Does Immigration Harm Working Americans?

The Atlantic • January 5, 2015 • David Frum

"...It's said again and again that immigrants do not take jobs from natives. Here’s National Journal, reporting just last year, under the headline "Left and Right Agree: Immigrants Don't Take American Jobs": "...Most economists don’t find immigrants driving down wages or jobs, the Brookings Institution’s Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney wrote in May. In fact, “on average, immigrant workers increase the opportunities and incomes of Americans,” they write..." 

Are low oil prices an opening for a carbon tax?

MarketPlace • January 5, 2015 • Scott Tong

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, now an economist at Harvard University, argued today in the Washington Post and the Financial Times that the case for a carbon tax is “overwhelming” given the low price of gasoline. The average price per gallon in the U.S. is $2.20. Adding a $.25 tax would take it to $2.45. “Doing that against a backdrop where gas prices have declined $1.50, it’s a very rare opportunity,” says energy and environment economist Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman professor at the University of Chicago. Even at the University of Chicago, a shrine to free-market theories, taxing carbon is a mainstream concept, Greenstone says.

State and local governments finally end years of anti-stimulus

Daily Kos • January 4, 2015 • Jon Perr

"...The destructive austerity policies of state and local governments created an "anti-stimulus," with layoffs of public sector workers and cuts to spending that only served to undermine the gains from ARRA (see the second chart above). By May 2013, the Hamilton Project estimated those austerity policies cost 2.2 American million jobs and resulted in the slowest recovery since World War II.

Let this be the year when we put a proper price on carbon

The Financial Times • January 4, 2015 • Lawrence Summers

The case for carbon taxes has long been compelling. With the recent steep fall in oil prices and associated declines in other energy prices it is overwhelming. There is room for debate about the size of the tax and about how the proceeds should be deployed. But there should be no doubt that starting from the current zero tax rate on carbon, increased taxation would be desirable.

Are More Criminal Justice Reforms on the Horizon in 2015?

The Huffington Post • December 29, 2014 • Lauren-Brooke Eisen

The Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project also shed light on the country’s $80 billion a year in direct corrections expenses in a recent report. And, more than a million people viewed the VlogBrothers’ four-minute video focusing on how the war on crime is failed policy and that, “It’s cruel, it’s shortsighted, and to continue this policy of mass incarceration would be foolish. We’re living inside of a massive $75 billion per year failed experiment.

Obamacare and Effective Government

Project Sundicate • December 29, 2014 • Laura Tyson and Lenny Mendonca

"When historians look back on the United States’ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Barack Obama’s controversial 2010 health-care reform, we predict that they will not devote much attention to its regulations, its troubled insurance exchanges, or its website’s flawed launch. Instead, we think that they will focus on how “Obamacare” encouraged a wave of innovation that gradually tamed the spiraling costs of a dysfunctional system, even as millions of previously excluded Americans gained access to health insurance..."

MTV has done more for the US teen birthrate than decades of policy

Quartz • December 26, 2014 • Phil Schneider

"...A recent study by Melissa Kearney, University of Maryland economics professor and director of the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project, showed a powerful connection linking 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom with a plunging birth rate for teenage women in the US..."

The Steep Cost of America’s High Incarceration Rate

Wall Street Journal • December 25, 2014 • Robert E. Rubin and Nicholas Turner

One of us is a former Treasury secretary, the other directs a criminal-justice institute. But we’ve reached the same conclusions. America’s overreliance on incarceration is exacting excessive costs on individuals and communities, as well as on the national economy. Sentences are too long, and parole and probation policies too inflexible. There is too little rehabilitation in prison and inadequate support for life after prison.

How a simple change to the tax code could help the middle class

Washington Post • December 24, 2014 • Melissa Kearney

The figure below, reproduced from a document prepared by The Hamilton Project, shows how the tax and transfer system changes the distribution of income for working-age families with children. The effect of the tax and transfer system is to expand the middle class by reducing the number of families located at either end of the income distribution and raising the number of families in the middle range.

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A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.