Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Another article draft that I may post soon

I've recently completed another article draft, one more of the things that I've committed to do before getting back to work on my literature book.  This one was commissioned for an edited volume that is being put together by a friend at another leading law school, on issues related to timing and legislation. My book from 15 years ago, When Rules Change, is well within the topic range of the new volume, but as it happened I didn't want to return to the issues I discussed there.

While the editors have a book contract, I'm not 100% sure this is public information yet, so I will hold off on giving more details.

The piece I've written is a short one by legal standards - under 10,000 words, as indeed was specified by the invite.

Article title: "The More It Changes, The More It Stays the Same? Automatic Indexing and Current Policy."

Opening sentence: "The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously remarked that you cannot step into the same river twice, to which a disciple supposedly replied that you cannot do so even once."

My topic is automatic adjustment rules in the income tax and Social Security.  E.g., apart from inflation indexing in both, I discuss such automatic indexing possibilities (or actualities) as:

--In the income tax, indexing the rate brackets to prevent real bracket creep, or to respond to vertical distributional changes via the "Rising Tide Tax System," or to provide automatic tax smoothing when a measure of the fiscal imbalance changes.

--In Social Security, disputes over how to measure inflation for indexing purposes, wage indexing in actual Social Security, and proposals to index the normal retirement age for life expectancy changes.

The aim here is conceptual, rather than to endorse specific proposals.  E.g., I discuss indexing's general appropriateness (I consider it just fine if one happens to agree with the policy it advances), the difficulty of defining current policy if that is what one is trying to maintain, and the links between particular proposals that might be debated on seemingly technical grounds and separately conceived policy preferences that might lead one either to support or oppose them.

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