The Geographic Variation in the Cost of the Opioid Crisis

As the opioid epidemic worsens in the United States, the toll it imposes on the US economy has risen to staggering heights. The White House Council of Economic Advisers recently estimated the economic burden, inclusive of the value of statistical lives lost, to be $504 billion in 2015. More narrowly constructed estimates find cost burdens as high as $95 billion in 2016.

MGA’s Alex Brill on CNBC’s Squawk Box

While discussing the recent job report and unemployment rate, Alex Brill said “it’s a phenomenal number in terms in job creation. Unemployment rate another phenomenal number. Our unemployment rate is basically stuck at 4.1. Last time it was five months in a row was back to 2012 when it was double the rate it is today. So we are seeing an economy near full employment with numbers that are really surprising this late in the cycle.”

MGA’s Alex Brill Serves as a Panelist at the Tax Foundation’s “Tax Reform Isn’t Done”

Alex Brill joined the Tax Foundation for a panel discussion on what the federal tax policy debate will look like over the next decade. He shared, “the idea that tax reform will need more work, saying that a sound policy must be sustainable and predictable. And he argued that Congress should consider new ways to broaden the tax base to afford more sound, pro-growth reforms.”

Brief of Brill, Knoll, Mason, and Viard as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.

The passage of time and changing circumstances have rendered the physical-presence requirement articulated in National Bellas Hess, Inc. v. Department of Revenue, 386 U.S. 753, 758 (1967), and Quill Corporation v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298, 324-15 (1992), a harmful anachronism. Standard tools of economic analysis that the Court considered in Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne reveal that South Dakota’s sales and use tax regime, as amended by S.B. 106, promotes neutral treatment of in-state and interstate commerce. By contrast, the bright-line physical-presence requirement set forth in Bellas Hess and Quill forces states to extend what is in practice a discriminatory subsidy in favor of a specific class of out-of-state sellers, namely, those sellers who lack a physical presence within the state. On the facts of the challenged statute, there is no valid economic reason to mandate such a discriminatory subsidy.

Economist Warns Against Undoing Corporate Rate Cut

[Alex] Brill noted that other developed countries have already begun to reduce, or have proposed reducing, their corporate rates in response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97), which has in turn prompted some concerns of a “race to the bottom” of countries competing with each other by shrinking their corporate tax revenue base. If the United States reverted to a 35 percent corporate rate or even just partially undid the rate cut, it could put itself at an even greater competitive disadvantage than it was in before the TCJA’s passage, Brill said.”

If Entitlement Reform is Too Hard, Lawmakers Can Take Baby Steps

The Washington Post reports that the U.S. deficit is headed to $1 trillion this year, the highest level since 2012. Republicans were furious about the large deficits under President Obama while he sought little to no spending constraint, but recently their focus has been elsewhere. How can we steer the fiscal outlook back toward sanity? As I see it, there are two options.

The Political Economy of a Carbon Tax: A County-By-County Investigation

This report investigates the impact of a revenue-neutral carbon tax whereby revenues raised from a $25/ton carbon tax are used to reduce the tax rate on wage income by a commensurate amount. Recognizing that such a reform is not revenue-neutral for every single taxpayer, nor even revenue-neutral in every county, we investigate the degree of spatial variation across all counties and sort results by the historical partisan preferences of those counties.

The Partisan Divide Over the Carbon Tax is all Smoke

Republican lawmakers who oppose a carbon tax are usually motivated by a belief that their constituents will get a raw deal. But standard political commentary on carbon taxation focuses on the higher costs for goods such as gasoline and electricity. Looking at who wins and who loses from a revenue-neutral carbon tax — one that also cuts existing taxes on work — yields a very different answer.