Social Security was designed to redistribute income from those with higher lifetime earnings to those with lower lifetime earnings. The reason is obvious: the system was created to ensure an adequate retirement income for the elderly. Less obvious is how Social Security's many provisions...

May 1, 2004
C. Eugene SteuerleAdam CarassoLee Cohen

This paper reviews why Social Security fails to lift more aged low-wage workers and people of color out of poverty. It examines the payroll tax and benefit formula and reviews literature about OASDI outcomes by race, gender, and earnings level. It describes how mortality, earnings, disability,...

November 25, 2008
Melissa M. FavreaultGordon B. Mermin

[Indianapolis Star] Women Democratic senators recently sent President Bush a letter decrying his proposal to divert some payroll taxes into individual accounts, on the grounds that women would take a financial beating. Although many feminist groups hold this view, little empirical...

August 5, 2001
Rudolph G. Penner

The Earned Income Tax Credit enjoyed marked success bringing low-income women into the labor force in recent years. At the same time, labor force participation by low-income or less-education men stagnated, and declined among young black men. In response to these labor market conditions, this...

October 22, 2008
Adam CarassoHarry HolzerElaine MaagC. Eugene Steuerle

Many elected officials emphasize reforms that would promote opportunity, but until they define how success would be measured, progress is unlikely. The federal government is scheduled to spend close to $15,000 more per household annually in another 10 years, but little of that increase goes to...

April 27, 2016
C. Eugene Steuerle

This brief builds on work that examines replacing the current formula for calculating Pell grant eligibility with one that uses only a few family characteristics. Using data from the 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, we compare our original two-factor model with Financial Aid...

April 7, 2016
Kim S. RuebenSarah GaultSandy Baum

The federal child tax credit provides a credit of up to $1,000 per child under age 17; the refundable portion of the credit, which is crucial for low-income families, is limited to 15 percent of earnings above a defined threshold. That threshold is set to increase from $3,000 to almost $15,000...

December 9, 2015
Elaine Maag

The massive financial market failures that led to the Great Recession have prompted renewed calls for a financial transaction tax (FTT) to discourage excessive risk taking and recoup the costs of the crisis. A well-designed FTT could raise up to about 0.4 percent of GDP ($75 billion in 2017) in...

January 20, 2016
Leonard E. BurmanWilliam G. GaleSarah GaultBryan KimJames R. NunnsSteven M. Rosenthal

How should governments use the considerable revenue carbon taxes can raise? There are many options for cutting other taxes, increasing spending, or reducing borrowing. We organize the options into four goals: offset the new burdens that a carbon tax places on consumers, producers, communities,...

February 22, 2016
Donald MarronAdele C. Morris

There is widespread agreement that the college financial aid system is too complicated and acts as a barrier to higher education. This brief focusses on how eight different simplification proposals for determining Pell grant eligibility and three alternatives for calculating Effective Family...

November 10, 2015
Kim S. RuebenSarah GaultSandy Baum