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Real specifics: 15 ways to rethink the federal budget–Part II: Addressing entitlements, taxation, and revenues

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Budget battles continue in Washington even after the White House and Congress cut a last-minute deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.” With the imminent threat of default removed for now, the next potential challenge to the economy could come from sequestration, set to go into effect on March 1.

The Hamilton Project asked experts from a variety of backgrounds—the policy world, academia, and the private sector—and from both sides of the political aisle, to provide innovative, pragmatic proposals for lowering the deficit by reducing expenditures or raising revenues, and that take into account impacts to the economy at large.

The resulting 13 proposals range across budget groups, and include options to reduce mandatory and discretionary programs, to improve economic efficiency, and touch on topics as wide ranging as immigration, transportation, healthcare, and mortgage interest. This diverse group of authors convened in at a forum on February 26th in Washington, DC to discuss their ideas in a series of roundtable discussions.

The first forum in this series was held on February 22nd at the Brookings Institution and focused on opportunities to create greater efficiency in the defense budget.



Robert E. Rubin
Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary

The State of the Budget: Prospects, Challenges, and Opportunities

Discussant:  Donald Marron
Director, Tax Policy Center

Discussant: Robert D. Reischauer
Distinguished Institute Fellow and President Emeritus, The Urban Institute

Discussant: Alice M. Rivlin
Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Facilitator: Roger C. Altman
Founder & Chairman, Evercore Partners

Overview of the Budget Book

Michael Greenstone
Senior Fellow and Director, The Hamilton Project, The Brookings Institution

Panel 1: An Enduring Social Safety Net

Author: Michael Chernew
Professor of Health Care Policy in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School

Author: Edward Thomas
President, Natural Hazard Mitigation Association

Author: Jonathan Gruber
Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Author: Jeffrey B. Liebman
Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Discussant: Paul N. Van de Water
Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Moderator: Laura D’Andrea Tyson
S.K. and Angela Chan Professor of Global Management, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

Working Lunch

Lunch will be provided for registered attendees

Panel 2: Innovative Approaches to Tax Reform

Author: Joseph E. Aldy
Assistant Professor of Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Author: Karen Dynan
Vice President and Co-Director, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution

Author: Diane Lim
Chief Economist, Pew Charitable Trusts

Author: Alan Viard
Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Discussant: Adam Looney
Policy Director, The Hamilton Project

Moderator: Robert Greenstein
President, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Panel 3: New Sources of Revenue and Efficiency

Author: Tyler Duvall
Associate Principal, McKinsey & Company

Author: Benjamin H. Harris
Senior Research Associate, The Urban Institute

Author: Adele Morris
Fellow and Policy Director, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution

Author: Pia Orrenius
Assistant Vice President and Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Author: Phillip Swagel
Professor of International Economics, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

Moderator: Michael Greenstone
Senior Fellow and Director, The Hamilton Project, The Brookings Institution

Event Forum

Capital Hilton Hotel


Follow @hamiltonproj and see the conversation using #RethinktheBudget

Available Downloads

Full Transcript (unedited)pdf


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