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Tax Reform and Deficit Reduction: Proposals of Recent Budget Commissions

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Noon-1:30 p.m. ET

First Tuesdays

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  • Howard Gleckman, resident fellow, Urban Institute; editor, “TaxVox” blog (moderator)
  • Donald Marron, director, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center; former member, President’s Council of Economic Advisers 
  • Rudolph Penner, Institute fellow, Urban Institute; co-chair, Committee on the Fiscal Future, National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Public Administration
  • Bruce Reed, executive director, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
  • Alice Rivlin, senior fellow, Brookings Institution; co-chair, Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force

On November 10, the co-chairs of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, released a draft proposal to stabilize and then reduce the nation’s growing debt burden. The full commission’s report is due December 1. In a parallel exercise, the Bipartisan Policy Center, a private group headed by former Senate majority leaders of both political parties, released its proposals November 17. And a National Academy of Sciences–National Academy of Public Administration panel released its proposals for deficit reduction in 2009.

All of these deficit reduction plans include specific proposals to generate additional receipts and reform the federal income tax system. Panelists who have participated in these debt reduction efforts will discuss the tax changes their groups have proposed and the role of tax reform in shrinking deficits. They will address such questions as

- Why do we need to raise additional revenues instead of relying simply on spending restraint?
- Why is the current federal tax system inadequate to the task of raising additional revenues?
- How should tax changes be structured to reduce the debt without harming the economy?
- To what extent should new taxes, such as a value-added tax or a tax on carbon-based fuels, be part of the solution?

- Bios (pdf)

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