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Desperately Seeking Revenue

Katharine Graham Conference Center, Urban Institute
2100 M Street, NW, Washington, DC

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Noon - 1:30 p.m. ET,
light lunch served at 11:45 a.m.

Listen to the event Audio Recording

The numbers are, simply put, mind numbing. The federal deficit will total $6.7 trillion this decade under current law, the Congressional Budget Office projects. The figure will nearly double to $12.7 trillion if the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are not allowed to sunset as scheduled in 2011 and Congress, once again, “patches” the alternative minimum tax.

That rate of debt increase is unsustainable, but is it reversible? A new Tax Policy Center study, "Desperately Seeking Revenue," asks whether incremental income tax reforms could reduce federal deficits to manageable levels and reaches a pessimistic conclusion. Could we fill the gap with a value added tax, revenues from climate initiatives, or a major overhaul of the income tax? Join us as panelists wrestle with whether and how much we can shrink our deficits with taxes alone.

  • Rosanne Altshuler, director, Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute; coauthor, “Desperately Seeking Revenue”
  • Ted Gayer, codirector, Economic Studies program, Brookings Institution; former deputy assistant secretary for economic policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • David Leonhardt, economics columnist, New York Times (moderator)
  • James Nunns, tax policy director, New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department; former director for individual taxation, Office of Tax Analysis, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Victoria Perry, chief, Fiscal Affairs Department’s Tax Policy Division, International Monetary Fund; coauthor, The Modern VAT