The Search for the Best Middle-Class Tax Cut

“Using…open-source models, Brill found that doubling the standard deduction and expanding the 10 percent rate would each result in a tax cut for about 75 million middle-class Americans. Expanding the 15 percent rate would give about 30 million of them a tax cut. That’s a big gap. Expanding the 15 percent bracket, though, would deliver more than twice the added economic growth of the other options, Brill’s models projected, by incentivizing far more additional work and investment in the economy.”

Understanding Middle-Class Tax Cuts

Middle-class tax relief has widespread support across the political spectrum, but the consequences of different strategies for achieving this goal are not well understood. The analysis finds that either doubling the standard deduction or expanding the brackets for the 10 or 15 percent tax rates have quite different effects both within the middle class and across the aggregate economy.

Framework for Evaluating Tax Extenders

As you carefully define in the document setting forth this hearing, “tax extenders” are a subset of the tax provisions extended by Title VII of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010” (Public Law No. 111-312), as well as a number of other tax provisions that have expired or will expire this year.

Tales From the Unemployment Line: Barriers Facing the Long-Term Unemployed

As my testimony will describe, the recent improvement in payrolls and the unemployment rate are welcome news, but the plight of the long-term unemployed in the United States is considerable. The policies that have been executed since mid-2008 to foster an economic recovery have failed to deliver measurable results, and those most hurt by the current downturn are often the long-term unemployed. In fact, some policy actions taken by Congress and the Administration have likely exacerbated the duration of unemployment for some workers, the consequences of which are significant fiscal, economic, and social costs.

The Real Tax Burden: More Than Dollars and Cents

Using the fundamental concept of “excess burden” as their guide, in “The Real Tax Burden: More Than Dollars and Cents,” Alex Brill and Alan Viard illustrate how taxes work and their affect on such things as wages, savings, and economic growth. The authors describe past and present forms of taxation, discuss our current income and corporate tax policy, and critique various options for fundamental tax reform. “The Real Tax Burden” is a primer in the Values & Capitalism series intended for college students.

Social Security’s Finances

As the Subcommittee is well aware, the 2011 Social Security Trustees Report was released last month, and it projects that the combined Social Security trust funds will begin to be drawn down in 2023 and will be exhausted in 2036, one year earlier than projected in the 2010 Trustees Report.

The State of U.S. Manufacturing

The significance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy is undeniable, and the role and dynamics of this sector are important to study. It is critical to recognize, however, that manufacturing is but one segment of the U.S. economy, and the share of the resources dedicated to this sector should be determined by market forces, not government policy.

Retirement Security: Challenges Confronting Pension Plan Sponsors, Workers, and Retirees

Sound retirement security policy for future retirees requires planning. Ensuring the goal of adequate asset accumulation at retirement necessitates sufficient savings throughout an individual’s career. To that end, workers need to be engaged; employers need to be responsible; and policymakers must ensure that pension law, tax law, and the Social Security system operate in a manner that promotes opportunities for private saving, appropriate retirement asset management, and sustainability and predictability. Together, these programs should complement the goal to strengthen the financial security of our workforce.

An Incremental Approach to Social Security Reform

Chairman Baucus remarked at the opening of the first hearing in this series that “[a]ddressing our deficits and debts is an economic issue, a national security issue and a moral issue.” He went on to say that “we have a moral obligation to leave this place better than we found it, but today, our fiscal challenges prevent us from meeting that responsibility.”