In this policy memo, Hilary Hoynes proposes expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by raising the benefits for families with one child to be on par with the benefits for families with two children. This proposal aims to strengthen work incentives for low-income, one-child families; raise 410,000 people—including 131,000 children—out of poverty; and increase after-tax income by about $1,000 for one-child EITC beneficiaries, leading to improvements in health and children’s cognitive skills. This proposal is chapter eleven of The Hamilton Project’s Policies to Address Poverty in America, and a segment in Improving Safety Net and Work Support.
Papers: Tax Policy
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The introduction to The Hamilton Project’s new volume, Policies to Address Poverty in America, presents an overview of America’s poverty crisis, and makes the case for why poverty belongs on the national policy agenda. The introduction also frames the 14 policy proposals that are part of the volume, and the particular aspects of poverty they address. The proposals fall into four general categories: promoting early childhood development, supporting disadvantaged youth, building skills, and improving safety net and work support.
In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke of a “breakthrough year for America” and foreshadowed a “year of action.” He focused on ways to expand opportunities for Americans by enhancing employment and education options for low-and middle-income citizens, developing more robust worker training programs, investing in America through infrastructure investments and energy innovation, the importance of making progress on immigration reform, and more. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to addressing many of the policy priorities set forth in the Presidents address.
These economic facts focus on two key challenges facing lower-middle-class families: food insecurity and the low return to work for families who lose tax and transfer benefits as their earnings increase.
The current tax system hampers low- and middle-income families who add secondary earners to the workforce to augment their primary breadwinner’s income. In a new Hamilton Project discussion paper, Melissa Kearney and Lesley Turner propose a secondary earner tax deduction that would help make work pay for dual-earner families.
Adele Morris proposes a carbon tax as a new source of revenue that could also help address climate change. She suggests that a carbon tax would reduce the buildup of greenhouse gasses, replace command-and-control regulations and expensive subsidies with transparent and powerful market-based incentives, and promote economic activity through reduced regulatory burden and lower marginal tax rates.
Creating a value-added tax (VAT) in the United States could raise revenue in a manner that does not distort saving and investment choices. William Gale and Ben Harris consider how a VAT could be designed to help address the nation’s fiscal challenges.
Diane Lim’s approach to individual income tax expenditures would raise revenue more efficiently and progressively by reducing tax expenditures, limiting potential negative impacts on subsidized sectors by preserving certain tax incentives, and equalizing implicit subsidies across middle- and higher-income taxpayers.
Karen Dynan examines the design of government incentives for personal savings, outlining how reforms to these programs would improve saving and economic security for low-income households and reduce expensive and ineffective federal subsidies for high-income households.
Limiting subsidies for fossil fuels could raise revenue for the federal government while also benefiting the environment. Joseph Aldy proposes eliminating twelve subsidies to help level the playing field among fossil fuel producers relative to other businesses, and lead to potentially lower global fuel prices by providing the United States with increased leverage in negotiations over eliminating fossil fuel subsides in the developing world.
Tax reform discussions often center on tax expenditures. Alan Viard proposes to replace the mortgage interest deduction with a refundable credit as a way to reduce the artificial incentive for the construction of high-end homes by better targeting the tax breaks for housing.
As policymakers work to find solutions to reduce the federal budget deficit, The Hamilton Project presents 15 pragmatic, evidenced-based proposals that would both reduce the deficit and also bring broader economic benefits from leading experts from a variety of backgrounds.
Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone and Policy Director Adam Looney preview The Project’s forthcoming budget report, which includes fifteen pragmatic, evidenced-based proposals to reduce the deficit and achieve broad-based economic benefits.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama outlined an ambitious second-term agenda focusing on policies to help strengthen America’s middle class through broad-based economic growth. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to address many of the priorities set forth in this year’s address, which we offer as a resource to policymakers in response to specific ideas mentioned by the President this week.
To provide an economic context for tax reform, The Hamilton Project has a set of economic facts focusing on the role of our tax system in the long-run budget deficit, global competitiveness, and rising income inequality.
As tax time approaches, one focus of debate has been the progressivity of the U.S. tax code. Evidence shows that the current U.S. tax system is less progressive than the tax systems of other industrialized countries, and considerably less progressive today than it was just a few decades ago.
A popular tax myth is that a large segment of Americans do not pay taxes and instead free ride off of our society. The Hamilton Project explores this myth and finds that virtually all Americans will pay some form of tax during their lifetime.
Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address, putting forth his policy agenda to the 112th Congress on issues. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has developed targeted policy proposals that touch on many of these areas, which we offer as a resource to policymakers in response to specific ideas mentioned by the President last evening.
The U.S. corporate tax system introduced more than 100 years ago has not kept pace with changes to the economy. The growing role of financial innovation and the increasingly global nature of U.S. corporate operations are chief among these changes, necessitating reform. This paper proposes two reforms to the U.S. corporate tax system.
Akash Deep and Robert Z. Lawrence propose an affordable federal instrument that could mitigate the adverse impact of tax-revenue shocks on communities by allowing them to buy tax-base insurance.
This paper proposes increasing the return to work for low-income families through the expansion the earned income tax credit for low-income childless taxpayers and the creation of a targeted wage subsidy in certain economically depressed areas.
This paper describes a carbon tax swap that is revenue and distributionally neutral. The tax swap levies a tax on greenhouse gas emissions with revenue being used to fund a reduction in the income tax, tied to earned income.
This paper argues that the current system of taxing multinational firms generates tax distortions. It proposes a new system that would protect the U.S. tax base while alleviating problems created by the current system.
The dynamic forces of technological change, financial innovation, and globalization present new challenges for progressive taxation. This strategy paper offers several broad principles that reflect the new challenges facing our tax system in the 21st Century.
Lily Batchelder proposes replacing the estate tax with an inheritance tax. She argues that this tax would lower taxes on heirs receiving smaller inheritances and those with moderate incomes.
In this paper, Edward D. Kleinbard introduces the Business Enterprise Income Tax (BEIT), a proposal for reforming business income taxation. He argues that the BEIT would achieve comprehensive and consistent taxation of capital income.
In this paper, Austan Goolsbee proposes a program known as the "Simple Return," which would make it much easier for the millions of taxpayers with a relatively simple tax status to file their taxes.
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