Research Report Tax Policy and the Size of Government
Donald Marron, Eric Toder
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Measuring the size of government is not simple. Standard measures omit important aspects of government action such as the many deductions, credits, and other tax preferences used to influence resource allocation. We argue that many tax preferences are effectively spending. Traditional measures of government size thus understate both spending and revenues. Reductions in spending-like tax preferences are tax increases in traditional budget accounting but are effectively spending reductions; increasing marginal tax rates raises both taxes and spending in our expanded measure. Some tax increases thus reduce government, while others expand it. (Presented at the National Tax Association 2011 Annual Conference)
Research Areas Economic mobility and inequality Taxes and budgets
Tags Fiscal policy Individual taxes Taxes and business Federal budget and economy
Policy Centers Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center