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Blog Posts: Tax Policy & Budget

Blog Post Mar 27, 2014

New Tax Legislation Would Increase the Return to Work for Low-and Middle-Income Working Families

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray introduced legislation that would provide tax relief for working families by establishing a deduction for two-earner families and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless individuals.The proposed legislation closely follows the secondary earner deduction outlined in a Hamilton Project paper by Melissa Kearney and Lesley Turner.

Blog Post Mar 26, 2014

A New Approach to Making Work Pay

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray introduced the "21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act" to establish a new deduction for married couples who are both employed and have young children, and to increase the earned income tax credit (EITC) for childless workers.The Act would implement the policies introduced by two Hamilton Project proposals designed to help “make work pay” by allowing low- and middle-income families keep more of what they earn.

Blog Post May 29, 2013

America’s Rehearsals for Retirement

In her latest Project Syndicate column, Advisory Council member Laura D’Andrea Tyson discusses the nation’s retirement system. Tyson highlights policies that would make saving easier and more financially rewarding, including better-targeted tax incentives, matching government contributions and state-wide retirement plans. In a recent, Hamilton Project paper, “Better Ways to Promote Saving through the Tax System” Karen Dynan explores 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.

Blog Post May 24, 2013

Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur Cites a THP Proposal

Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur cited a THP proposal in his testimony before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on "The Shifting of Profits Offshore by U.S. Multinational Corporations". Discussing the corporate profit shifting and its effects on tax revenues, he cited “Reforming Corporate Taxation in a Global Economy: A Proposal to Adopt Formulary Apportionment” and its estimates of how sales-based apportionment could reduce tax avoidance and raise revenues in the corporate tax system. To read the full testimony, click here.

Blog Post May 23, 2013

How To Close The Loopholes That Made Apple’s Tax-Dodging Completely Legal

In two stories on this week’s testimony by Apple CEO Tim Cook before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Quartz’s Tim Fernholz and ThinkProgress’ Alan Pyke highlighted a paper released by The Hamilton Project and the Center for American Progress, “A Modern Corporate Tax”. In the paper, Alan Auerbach of the University of California, Berkeley, proposes two reforms to the U.S. corporate tax system: first, an immediate deduction for all investments that would replace the current system of depreciation allowances, and second, replacing the current approach to taxing foreign-source income with a system that ignores all transactions except those occurring exclusively in the United States. Pyke wrote that the proposal “would seem to balance both government and corporate interests.” For the ThinkProgress story, click here. For the Quartz story, click here.

Blog Post May 21, 2013

American Consumers’ Disposable Incomes Shrinking

In a recent article on Americans’ disposable income, the Epoch Times’ Heide Malhotra highlights data from The Hamilton Project’s “Better Ways to Promote Saving through the Tax System,” by Karen Dynan. In the proposal, 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. Malhotra discusses findings from the paper that show the personal saving rate has declined dramatically over the past several decades. Americans saved about 4 percent of after-tax personal income in 2012, down from average saving rates of 5.5 percent in the 1990s, 8.6 percent in the 1980s, and 9.6 percent in the 1970s. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post May 8, 2013

Carbon tax is best option Congress has

A recent Washington Post editorial on tax reform suggests “a carbon tax is one of the best ideas in Washington almost no one in Congress will talk about.” The editorial highlights the Hamilton Project's "The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax," in which Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution proposes a carbon tax as a new source of revenue that could also help address climate change.” The editorial notes Morris’ finding that even a modest carbon tax could help reduce the federal budget deficit by almost a trillion dollars over two decades. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Mar 11, 2013

Budget ideas that Democrats and Republicans might agree on

In a recent Washington Post column on federal budget negotiations, Ruth Marcus highlights several proposals from The Hamilton Project’s “15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget.” Marcus offers the proposals as “suggested reading” for policymakers and suggests that there are several ideas that could be appealing to both parties. Marcus features ““Transitioning to Bundled Payments in Medicare,” by Michael Chernew and Dana Goldman; “Restructuring Cost Sharing and Supplemental Insurance for Medicare,” by Jonathan Gruber; “Replacing the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction,” by Alan Viard; and “Better Ways to Promote Saving through the Tax System,” by Karen Dynan. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Mar 4, 2013

Breaking the logjam

A recent Washington Post editorial highlights the Hamilton Project's "The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax," in which Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution 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. The editorial argues that the plan should be politically attractive to both parties as it would "cut future deficits, slash taxes, eliminate wasteful government spending and reduce climate change." To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Feb 27, 2013

How to Not Cut Stupidly

Last night on MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” Ezra Klein highlighted his top five proposals from The Hamilton Project’s “15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget.” Klein featured “The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax,” by Adele Morris; “Transitioning to Bundled Payments in Medicare,” by Michael Chernew and Dana Goldman; “Limiting Individual Income Tax Expenditures,” by Diane Lim, “Funding Transportation Infrastructure with User Fees ,” by Tyler Duvall and Jack Basso; and “Making Defense Affordable,” by Cindy Williams. For more information on all fifteen policy proposals, or to download all the proposals in a single volume, either in PDF format or as a free ebook, click here. For the video clip, click here.

Blog Post Jan 2, 2013

2012: The Year in Graphs

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog highlights work from The Hamilton Project and selections by several Advisory Council members in its feature titled, “2012: The Year in Graphs.” The piece quotes Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone and highlights two graphs from The Project on costs associated with various sources of electricity generation and the change in family earnings of children. Wonkblog also quotes Advisory Council members Robert Greenstein, Peter Orszag and Alice Rivlin who weigh in on charts and graphs they felt best represented the year. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Dec 26, 2012

Seeing the forest in the fiscal cliff: 3 ways tax policy must be reformed

In a Quartz opinion piece, Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone and Policy Director Adam Looney discuss three challenges facing lawmakers as they negotiate on the fiscal cliff and work to reform the tax code. Greenstone and Looney write that any successful plan will need to address the nation's daunting outlook for budget deficits, the increasingly competitive global economy, and rising income inequality. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Nov 26, 2012

Inside America’s Tax Battle

In Project Syndicate, Advisory Council member Laura D’Andrea Tyson discusses the challenges to achieving a balanced deficit-reduction plan that includes both increases in revenue and cuts to spending. Tyson says that despite the bipartisan support for a balanced approach, there has not been agreement on tax rates for high-income Americans. She highlights President Obama’s proposal to let 2001 and 2003 rate cuts for the top 2-3% of taxpayers be allowed to expire at the end of the year, while the rate cuts for other taxpayers are extended. She notes that Republicans want the rate cuts to be extended for all taxpayers, arguing that increases in top rates would discourage job creation. Tyson discusses recent research suggesting no link between tax cuts for high-income taxpayers and job creation, and highlights findings from a Hamilton Project paper, “A Dozen Economic Facts About Tax Reform,” which show that the federal tax system has become less progressive at the same time as the biggest tax cuts have gone to high-income Americans.

Blog Post Nov 13, 2012

The Fiscal Delusion

In a New York Times opinion piece, Advisory Council member Robert E. Rubin suggests that the focus on reducing or eliminating tax expenditures to address the fiscal cliff and the nation’s long-term fiscal trajectory is misguided. Rubin argues that many of these cuts would hit important and popular policy programs and ultimately would not create enough savings to have a significant impact on tax rates or the budget deficit. He also suggests that continuing to discuss proposals that would reduce tax rates and deficits, such as the Simpson-Bowles plan, could backfire. Rubin highlights data from a Hamilton Project paper, “A Dozen Economic Facts About Tax Reform,” that show lowering individual income tax rates would modestly increase the earnings of the typical American family while substantially increasing the federal budget deficit. Read the full piece here.

Blog Post Nov 7, 2012

How Obama’s Reelection Could Shape Budget Talks

Advisory Council members Peter Orszag and Laura D’Andrea Tyson were among those discussing how President Obama’s reelection will affect budget negotiations going forward. Tyson, in an interview with Wall Street Journal Live, said the “key challenge is to find a way to avoid going over the fiscal cliff to provide time to really make a long-run deal.” Orszag in his Bloomberg column said the main obstacle will be determining how to handle the expiring Bush-era tax cuts and suggests that the Obama administration should have been working with one of three options over the past few months to move forward.