Policymakers often look at the distribution of benefits and burdens when considering changes in taxes, but the distributional effects of changes in federal spending usually go unmeasured.This is largely because of analytical and data limitations, but it means that policymakers’ deliberations are often based on incomplete information. Establishing the ability to examine the distributional effects of both spending and tax policies (and how they interact) might make it easier for policymakers to design more efficient policies using all the policy instruments at their disposal. For example, it might reduce the reliance on tax policy alone to attain specific distributional targets.
Molly Dahl and Kevin Perese of the Congressional Budget Office will discuss their recent study, The Distribution of Federal Spending and Taxes in 2006, followed by a panel discussion. Panelists include: Gerald Prante, Lynchburg College, author of a Tax Foundation report, A Distributional Analysis of Fiscal Policies in the United States, 2000-2012; and Elaine Maag of the Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute and Melissa Favreault of the Income and Benefits Policy Center and the Urban Institute. Len Burman of the Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute will moderate the discussion.