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Tackling the tax code: Efficient and equitable ways to raise revenue

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The United States needs additional revenue sources for investments that support broadly shared growth, for fiscal balance, and for a more equitable tax code. As policymakers address these challenges, important questions about taxes arise—who pays them, what effects do they have on the economy, and how much revenue can they raise? Therefore, it is necessary to examine how our nation’s tax code can most effectively provide for a strong government that promotes not only growth, but also widespread economic well-being and reduced inequality.

On January 28, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution hosted a forum exploring efficient and equitable ways to raise revenue. The forum began with a panel discussion between former U.S. Treasury Secretaries Timothy F. Geithner of Warburg Pincus, Robert E. Rubin of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Lawrence H. Summers of Harvard University. The discussion was moderated by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker of PSP Partners.

The event also included roundtable discussions that explored: options for taxing wealth; proposals for a national value added tax and a financial transactions tax; enhancing tax enforcement and broadening the tax base in a progressive way; and reforming both domestic and international corporate taxation. Roundtable panelists included Kimberly Clausing of Reed College, Kate Davidson of The Wall Street Journal, Jason Furman of the Harvard Kennedy School, William Gale of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Greg Leiserson of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, Catherine Mann of Citi, Catherine Rampell of The Washington Post, Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute, and Antonio Weiss of the Harvard Kennedy School, among other distinguished experts and scholars.

The event coincided with the release of a new book from The Hamilton Project titled, “Tackling the Tax Code: Efficient and Equitable Ways to Raise Revenue,” which offers a menu of policy proposals for raising revenue in a progressive and efficient manner.


12:00 p.m. Registration opens (lunch provided)

12:30 p.m. Opening remarks

Jay Shambaugh
Director, The Hamilton Project, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution

12:40 p.m. Roundtable discussion: Efficient and equitable ways to raise revenue

Timothy F. Geithner 
President, Warburg Pincus

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

Lawrence H. Summers
Charles W. Eliot University Professor, Harvard University

Moderator: Penny Pritzker
Founder and Chairman, PSP Partners; 38th U.S. Secretary of Commerce

1:30 p.m. Roundtable discussion: From a financial transactions tax to a VAT: Policy options to raise revenue

William G. Gale
Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution; Co-director, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

Catherine L. Mann
Global Chief Economist, Citi

Antonio Weiss
Research Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School

Moderator: Jay Shambaugh
Director, The Hamilton Project, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution

2:20 p.m. Roundtable discussion: Increasing compliance and other options to raise revenue

Natasha Sarin
Assistant Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Moderator: Kate Davidson
Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

2:45 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. Roundtable discussion: What is the optimal approach to taxing wealth?

David Kamin
Professor of Law, NYU School of Law

Greg Leiserson
Director of Tax Policy, Chief Economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Michael R. Strain
Director, Economic Policy Studies; Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Ray D. Madoff
Professor, Boston College Law School

Moderator: Catherine Rampell
Opinion Columnist, The Washington Post

3:50 p.m. Roundtable discussion: What’s next for corporate tax reform?

Jason Furman
Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Kimberly Clausing
Thormund A. Miller and Walter Mintz Professor of Economics, Reed College

Moderator: Mark J. Mazur
Robert C. Pozen Director, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

4:30 p.m. Forum adjourns and closing reception begins

5:00 p.m. Reception concludes

Event Forum

The Brookings Institution


Follow @hamiltonproj and see the conversation using #TaxPolicy


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