Papers: Tax Policy

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address

January 2014 • Economic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Energy & Environment, Global Economy, Infrastructure, Poverty, State & Local, Tax Policy, Technology & Innovation

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.


A Dozen Facts about America’s Struggling Lower-Middle Class

December 2013 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. HarrisEconomic Security, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Poverty, Tax Policy

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.


Giving Secondary Earners a Tax Break: A Proposal to Help Low- and Middle-Income Families

December 2013 • Melissa S. Kearney, Lesley TurnerPoverty, Economic Security, Employment & Wages, Effective Government, Tax Policy

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.


Creating an American Value-Added Tax

February 2013 • William G. Gale, Benjamin H. HarrisTax Policy

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 designedto help address the nation’s fiscal challenges.


The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax

February 2013 • Adele MorrisTax Policy, Energy & Environment

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.


Limiting Individual Income Tax Expenditures

February 2013 • Diane M. LimTax Policy, Effective Government

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. 


Better Ways to Promote Saving through the Tax System

February 2013 • Karen DynanTax Policy, Economic Security

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.


Eliminating Fossil Fuel Subsidies

February 2013 • Joseph E. AldyTax Policy, Energy & Environment

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.


Replacing the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

February 2013 • Alan D. ViardTax Policy, Effective Government

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.


15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget

February 2013 • Economic Security, Effective Government, Tax Policy, Employment & Wages

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.


15 Ideas for Smart Deficit Reduction

February 2013 • Michael Greenstone, Adam LooneyEconomic Security, Effective Government, Tax Policy, Employment & Wages

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.


The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the State of the Union Address

February 2013 • Economic Security, Education, Effective Government, Employment & Wages, Energy & Environment, Global Economy, Health Care, Infrastructure, Poverty, State & Local, Tax Policy, Technology & Innovation

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.


A Dozen Economic Facts About Tax Reform

May 2012 • Michael Greenstone, Adam Looney, Leslie B. SamuelsTax Policy, Effective Government, Employment & Wages

To provide an economic context for tax reform, The Hamilton Project has a new paper focusing on the role of our tax system in the long-run budget deficit, global competitiveness, and rising income inequality.


Just How Progressive is the U.S. Tax Code?

April 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEconomic Security, Tax Policy

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.


The Truth about Taxes: Just About Everyone Pays Them

April 2012 • Adam Looney, Michael GreenstoneEmployment & Wages, Tax Policy

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. 


The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the State of the Union Address

January 2012 • Education, Economic Security, Employment & Wages, Energy & Environment, Infrastructure, Tax Policy, Technology & Innovation

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. 


A Modern Corporate Tax

December 2010 • Alan J. AuerbachTax Policy

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.


Stabilizing State and Local Budgets: A Proposal for Tax-Base Insurance

June 2008 • Akash Deep, Robert Z. LawrenceTax Policy, State & Local

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.


Employment-Based Tax Credits for Low-Skilled Workers

December 2007 • John Karl ScholzEmployment & Wages, Tax Policy

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.


An Equitable Tax Reform to Address Global Climate Change

October 2007 • Gilbert E. MetcalfEnergy & Environment, Tax Policy

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.


Reforming Corporate Taxation in a Global Economy: A Proposal to Adopt Formulary Apportionment

June 2007 • Kimberly A. Clausing, Reuven S. Avi-YonahTax Policy

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.


Achieving Progressive Tax Reform in an Increasingly Global Economy

June 2007 • Jason E. Bordoff, Jason Furman, Lawrence H. SummersTax Policy

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.


Taxing Privilege More Effectively: Replacing the Estate Tax with an Inheritance Tax

June 2007 • Lily L. BatchelderTax Policy

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.


Rehabilitating the Business Income Tax

June 2007 • Edward D. KleinbardTax Policy

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.


The Simple Return: Reducing America’s Tax Burden Through Return-Free Filing

July 2006 • Austan GoolsbeeTax Policy, Effective Government

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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