Last night I posted on SSRN the two just-completed article drafts that have occupied most of my time (other than teaching) this fall. Each was prepared for a conference that I am attending in early March. Their topics are rather distinct, both from each other and from the work on international tax policy that has occupied a fair amount of my time over the last couple of years.
First, I've posted here an article entitled "Should Social Security and Medicare Be More Market-Based?" It will be the basis for the Ann F. Baum Memorial Lecture on Elder Law that I am delivering at the University of Illinois Law School on March 4, 2013. The abstract is as follows:
"Contemporary political debate about Social Security and Medicare often conflates the issue of the programs’ long-term fiscal sustainability with that of whether their design should be made more market-based, such as by transforming Social Security into a private accounts program and Medicare into a voucher-based program. In fact, the sustainability and design issues are fundamentally separate.
"This article assesses the case for making the programs more market-based by using two main conceptual vehicles: (1) the model for understanding the programs’ substantive features and rationales that I offered in my books, Making Sense of Social Security Reform and Who Should Pay for Medicare?, and (2) Paul Samuelson’s classic description of Social Security as providing what we would now call an implicit financial instrument that reflects an intergenerational compact. In the end, it reaches largely skeptical conclusions about altering the programs to use either private accounts or vouchers."
Second, I've posted here an article entitled "The Forgotten Henry Simons." I will be presenting this one at a "One Hundred Years of the Federal Income Tax Conference," being held at the Florida State University College of Law on March 1-2, 2013, and described here. I will also be presenting it at a similarly themed conference, to be held at USC Law School on February 7-8, 2013. The abstract for this one is as follows:
"Surely just about everyone in the U.S. federal income tax field has heard of Henry Simons, if only for his famous definition of “personal income.” Few may realize, however, that this proponent of 'drastic progression' in a broad-based income tax was also a self-described libertarian who generally denounced government economic regulation and was arguably the chief architect of the pro-free market law and economics movement at the University of Chicago. This article provides a brief intellectual history of Simons’ work, aiming in particular to explain how and why he combined these seemingly disparate sets of beliefs, and what we may learn from them today."