Tax Policy Center


Benjamin H. Harris

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Research report

To encourage better retirement saving, President Obama recently proposed policies that would require firms without retirement savings plans to automatically enroll their workers in IRAs. In addition, the president proposed an expansion of the Saver's Credit to be fully refundable and available...

August 31, 2009
Benjamin H. Harris, Rachel M. Johnson
Research report

The largest tax preferences for housing, health care, and retirement saving reduce federal revenues by about 3 percent of GDP. They raise after-tax income proportionally more for higher income groups than lower income groups, but raise income proportionately less for those at the very top. The...

July 21, 2009
Benjamin H. Harris, Katherine Lim, Eric Toder
Research report

The financial crisis has provoked calls for a fundamental reform of the nation's retirement saving structure. This article argues that rather than dismantle the existing system, policymakers should build on existing reforms and expand the automatic 401(k) to help eligible workers save more and...

June 11, 2009
Benjamin H. Harris, Lina Walker
Research report

This report card evaluates the provisions of the Finance and Ways & Means Committees' conference tax stimulus bill (the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009"). The evaluation is preliminary and does not include all of the provisions in the bill most notably we omit provisions...

February 13, 2009
Rosanne Altshuler, Leonard E. Burman, Howard Gleckman, Dan Halperin, Benjamin H. Harris, Elaine Maag, Kim S. Rueben, Eric Toder, Roberton C. Williams
Research report

The Tax Policy Center has graded the key tax provisions of the pending Senate stimulus bill (the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Plan of 2009"). Our grades, which rely on the bill's legislative language, focus on how well these measures would boost the economy in the short run....

January 29, 2009
Rosanne Altshuler, Leonard E. Burman, Howard Gleckman, Dan Halperin, Benjamin H. Harris, Elaine Maag, Kim S. Rueben, Eric Toder, Roberton C. Williams
Research report

From an economic perspective, marginal tax rates play a critical role in determining the consequences of a change in tax policy. In an uncomplicated tax system the marginal rate is simply equal to the statutory rate. For millions of taxpayers, however, marginal tax rates differ markedly from...

November 21, 2008
Benjamin H. Harris, Ruth Levine
Research report

Tax policy has been a major issue in the Presidential election campaign, with both candidates proposing extensive changes. The candidates take very different approaches to tax policy. The main differences are two: first, McCain's plans would reduce revenues by significantly more than Obama's;...

November 3, 2008
William G. Gale, Benjamin H. Harris

One promising aspect of retirement saving policy in recent years is the "automatic" or opt-out features in 401(k) plans. Automatic 401(k)s enable saving even if the worker makes no effort to participate in their 401(k) plan. Prior research has shown that automatic enrollment increased...

October 30, 2008
Christopher Geissler, Benjamin H. Harris
Research report

The tax code limits the extent to which individuals may take advantage of the tax benefits associated with traditional and Roth IRAs. The only eligibility criteria for contributing to a Roth IRA are income and filing status. In contrast, eligibility for deducting contributions to a traditional...

March 7, 2008
Benjamin H. Harris, Christopher Geissler

From TaxVox