The Real Tax Burden
More Than Dollars and Cents

  • Title:

    The Real Tax Burden
  • Format:

    Paperback
  • Paperback Price:

    9.95
  • Paperback ISBN:

    978-0-8447-7210-3
  • 116 Paperback pages

Citizens rightfully bear the responsibility to contribute to the existence of just government through the rendering of taxes. Because tax policy is also a reflection of values, citizens in a democratic society should be concerned with how taxes are collected and spent.

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.

 

 

 

 

Chapters in "The Real Tax Burden"

1. What is Excess Burden?
2. Excess Burden of Wage, Income, and Consumption Taxes
3. Taxation in the United States: An Overview
4. Issues in U.S. Personal Income Taxation
5. Issues in U.S. Business Taxation
6. Options for Fundamental Tax Reform

 

Introduction to "The Real Tax Burden"

When people discuss tax policy it is often to complain about it. In these discussions, the tax burden one faces is almost always assumed to be the dollars and cents of taxes paid to the government. This limited focus on tax payments threatens to obscure what many economists consider the real tax burden, which they refer to as the excess burden of taxation.

"Because tax policy is also a reflection of values, citizens in a democratic society should be concerned with how taxes are collected and spent."

Although tax payments are burdensome to taxpayers, they provide revenue to the government, which can use them to provide benefits and services that offset the burden (if the benefits and services are provided effectively and lie within government’s legitimate role). In contrast, the excess burden discussed in this book is pure waste that provides no revenue to the government. As we explain in the upcoming pages, excess burden arises when taxes interfere with the taxpayer’s freedom to choose his or her preferred behavior. This interference with freedom is, in many ways, the real tax burden, more than the dollars and cents paid to the government.

 

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About the Author

 

Alan D.
Viard
  • Alan D. Viard is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies federal tax and budget policy.

    Prior to joining AEI, Viard was a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and an assistant professor of economics at Ohio State University. He has also been a visiting scholar at the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Tax Analysis, a senior economist at the White House's Council of Economic Advisers, and a staff economist at the Joint Committee on Taxation of the US Congress. While at AEI, Viard has also taught public finance at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute. Earlier in his career, Viard spent time in Japan as a visiting scholar at Osaka University’s Institute of Social and Economic Research.

    A prolific writer, Viard is a frequent contributor to AEI’s “On the Margin” column in Tax Notes and was nominated for Tax Notes’s 2009 Tax Person of the Year. He has also testified before Congress, and his work has been featured in a wide range of publications, including Room for Debate in The New York Times, TheAtlantic.com, Bloomberg, NPR’s Planet Money, and The Hill. Viard is the coauthor of “Progressive Consumption Taxation: The X Tax Revisited” (2012) and “The Real Tax Burden: Beyond Dollars and Cents” (2011), and the editor of “Tax Policy Lessons from the 2000s” (2009).

    Viard received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and a B.A. in economics from Yale University. He also completed the first year of the J.D. program at the University of Chicago Law School, where he qualified for law review and was awarded the Joseph Henry Beale prize for legal research and writing.
  • Phone: 202-419-5202
    Email: aviard@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Regan Kuchan
    Phone: 202-862-5903
    Email: regan.kuchan@aei.org

 

Alex
Brill
  • Alex Brill is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies the impact of tax policy on the US economy as well as the fiscal, economic, and political consequences of tax, budget, health care, retirement security, and trade policies. He also works on health care reform, pharmaceutical spending and drug innovation, and unemployment insurance reform. Brill is the author of a pro-growth proposal to reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, and “The Real Tax Burden: More than Dollars and Cents” (2011), coauthored with Alan D. Viard. He has testified numerous times before Congress on tax policy, labor markets and unemployment insurance, Social Security reform, fiscal stimulus, the manufacturing sector, and biologic drug competition.

    Before joining AEI, Brill served as the policy director and chief economist of the House Ways and Means Committee. Previously, he served on the staff of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. He has also served on the staff of the President's Fiscal Commission (Simpson-Bowles) and the Republican Platform Committee (2008).

    Brill has an M.A. in mathematical finance from Boston University and a B.A. in economics from Tufts University.

  • Phone: 202-862-5931
    Email: alex.brill@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Brittany Pineros
    Phone: 202-862-5926
    Email: brittany.pineros@aei.org

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