Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My article "Welfare, Cash Grants, and Marginal Rates"

Not sure if I've posted some other link for this in the past, but this is a forthcoming article of mine, the abstract for which is as follows:

"Marginal rates are frequently analyzed based solely on taxes, without regard to benefit phase-outs that have exactly the same incentive and distributional effects as increasing positive taxes. This myopia reflects the notion, rooted in our current fiscal language, that “taxes” and “spending” are fundamentally different. In fact, however, the difference is purely one of labeling.

"Among the ill consequences of this confusion between substance and labels is the political unfeasibility of demogrant or negative income tax proposals. These proposals often are criticized for seemingly providing universal and unconditional cash grants. In fact, however, cash grants can be just as conditional or selective as benefits that are labeled as “welfare.” Clearer thinking about these matters would expand the realm of politically feasible policy choices, and make excessively high marginal tax rates on people who are escaping poverty easier to avoid."

In work this summer I've finished drafts of papers entitled "Permanent Income and the Annual Income Tax" and "Why Worldwide Welfare as a Normative Standard in U.S. Tax Policy?" To be posted in due course.

My forthcoming Cambridge U. Press book, "Taxes, Spending, and the U.S. Government's March Toward Bankruptcy," appears to be slotted now for the beginning of 2007.

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