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Author: Gale, William G.

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Fiscal Myopia (Research Report)
Alan J. AuerbachWilliam G. Gale

While political leaders remain tied up in discussions of government shutdowns and debt ceiling increases, we focus on the medium- and long-term budget outlook, where more serious challenges lie. With the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the imposition of the sequester, and changes in health care cost projections, some observers are claiming that fiscal issues have been resolved. The release of several new reports provides an opportunity to re-examine these issues. Our overarching conclusion is that, while the nation faces many other pressing economic and social issues, we are still far from attaining a sustainable fiscal policy.

Published: 10/01/13
Availability:   PDF


Don't Let Them Fool You, We Still Have Debt Problems  (Commentary)
William G. Gale

Your uncle, Sam, has ignored his chronic health condition – let's say he's diabetic – for a long time. Then he suddenly has a heart attack, followed by a long, slow painful recovery. As he is recovering, he is feeling good about his health – after all, he got though a crisis. But he is not actually healthier than he was before. He's still diabetic, and now he has to deal with the cautions of being a heart attack victim as well. I think of a situation like that whenever I hear or read people saying that our debt problems are behind us.

Published: 06/01/13
Availability: HTML


Small Business, Innovation, and Tax Policy: A Review (Research Report)
Samuel BrownWilliam G. Gale

Small businesses occupy an iconic place in American public policy debates. This paper discusses interactions between the federal tax code, small business, and the economy. We summarize the characteristics of small businesses, identify the tax provisions that most affect small businesses, and review evidence on the impact of tax and other policies on entrepreneurial activity. We also examine evidence suggesting that it is young firms, not small ones, where job growth and innovation tend to occur. Policies that aim to stimulate young and innovative firms are likely to prove different than policies that subsidize small businesses.

Published: 04/08/13
Availability:   PDF


Carbon Taxes as Part of the Fiscal Solution (Research Report)
Samuel BrownWilliam G. GaleFernando Saltiel

The U.S. faces substantial and unsustainable budget deficits, which will require tax increases and spending cuts to resolve. A carbon tax could raise revenues, with several positive effects: it would improve environmental outcomes, increase economic efficiency, and allow the elimination of selected tax subsidies and spending programs. While a carbon tax imposes a larger burden on lower-income households, the opposite applies for many of the other options like scaling back tax expenditures. A long-term deficit reduction package that included a reduction in income tax expenditures as well as a carbon tax and offsetting payments could provide a balanced distributional effect.

Published: 03/12/13
Availability:   PDF


Fiscal Fatigue: Tracking the Budget Outlook as Political Leaders Lurch from One Artificial Crisis to Another  (Research Report)
Alan J. AuerbachWilliam G. Gale

With the passage of the recent tax act, many observers are claiming that fiscal issues have been, essentially, resolved and that the nation should move on to other issues. The February 2013 release of the Congressional Budget Office’s Budget and Economic Outlook provides an opportunity to re-examine these issues and to provide new estimates of the fiscal status of the country. Our overarching conclusion is that, while the nation faces many other pressing economic and social issues – including boosting the strength and pace of the current recovery – we are still far from attaining a sustainable fiscal policy.

Published: 02/28/13
Availability:   PDF


Creating an American Value-Added Tax (Research Report)
Benjamin H. HarrisWilliam G. Gale

In this chapter, we propose a value-added tax (VAT) to contribute to the U.S. fiscal solution. A 5 percent broad-based VAT, paired with subsidies to offset the regressive impacts, could raise about 1 percent of GDP per year. International experience suggests that the VAT can raise substantial revenue, is administrable, and is minimally harmful to economic growth. Additionally, a properly designed VAT might help the states deal with their own fiscal issues. Although a VAT would be regressive relative to current income, this regressivity can be easily offset by transfers that would make the net burden progressive.

Published: 02/26/13
Availability:   PDF


What You Should Know About the Budget Outlook (Research Report)
William G. Gale

The Congressional Budget Office released its latest Budget and Economic Outlook earlier this week. As always, the Outlook provides insight into the fiscal status of the federal government. The Outlook shows that, while we do not face an imminent budget crisis, we are not out of the woods. The 10-year budget outlook remains tenuous. Even if seemingly everything goes right – in economic terms and in political terms – we are still on the edge of dangerously high debt and deficit levels with little room to spare.

Published: 02/08/13
Availability:   PDF


Let's All Jump Off the Fiscal Cliff (Commentary)
William G. GaleAdditional Authors

With less than four weeks left, reaching an agreement to avoid the negative short-term economic impact of the so-called fiscal cliff might be beyond the ability of the strained U.S. political system.

Published: 12/06/12
Availability: HTML


Taxing the Wealthiest Could Go a Long Way (Commentary)
William G. Gale

In a contribution to The New York Times' Room for Debate, Bill Gale responds to the question: can policy makers make a dent in the deficit without affecting the majority of taxpayers?

Published: 12/05/12
Availability: HTML


Tax Reform for Growth, Equity, and Revenue  (Research Report)
Samuel BrownWilliam G. Gale

This paper examines the fiscal outlook and tax reform options in the United States. The major conclusions include: the United States faces a substantial fiscal shortfall in the medium- and long-term; both spending cuts and tax increases should contribute to the solution; tax increases need not do significant harm to economic growth; and there are sensible ways to both reform tax structure and raise revenues, including tax expenditure reform, the creation of a value-added tax, the creation of a carbon tax, or an increase in the gasoline tax.

Published: 11/30/12
Availability:   PDF

1-10 of 206     Back to Authors Next>>