Exploring Issues in Tax Policy

Dec 11, 2007Dec 13, 2007

Event Video


Session One: Tuesday, December 11th
Tax 101: An Overview of Taxation

Dr. Garett Jones 
Professor of Economics
George Mason University 

Click Here to view Dr. Jones PDF.

Session Two: Wednesday, December 12th
Sweeping Changes: Tax Reform in 1986

Dr. Garett Jones
Professor of Economics
George Mason University 

Click Here to view Dr. Jones PDF.

Session Three: Thursday, December 13th
Elements of Corporate Taxation

Professor Daniel Shaviro
Professor of Taxation   
New York University, School of Law

Click Here  to view Dr. Shaviro's PDF.

Taxation has always been a major part of American politics and continues to be the focus for debate and discussion, especially when reform is desired.  To understand this complex issue the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is pleased to present a three-day course on current tax policy and past reform movements. 

Lawmakers strive to create "the best" tax systems, but policies may yield surprising results in practice.  To better comprehend the basics of taxation, Dr. Garett Jones of George Mason University will review the current tax system from an economic perspective and explore how shifts in tax policy affect individual behavior and the economy as a whole in Tax 101: An Overview of Taxation.

Today, presidential candidates clamor to voice their opinions on tax policy while Representative Rangel's tax proposal offers some of the most ambitious reforms of recent years.  Similarly, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 provided for some of the most extensive changes in recent decades.  Dr. Jones will return to present Sweeping Changes: Tax Reform in 1986 as an overview of this historical piece of bipartisan legislation to discuss how the economic conditions and political players of the time induced policy change and find out what lessons lawmakers can learn from this period. 

Additionally, debate in tax reform persists as concerns about tax loopholes, offshore accounts and the global competitiveness of American enterprise continue.  Consequently, changes in corporate tax policy are often highlighted as ways to address these issues. Yet such reforms may affect how businesses and individuals invest their time and resources.   Professor Daniel Shaviro, a leading scholar on taxation from New York University Law School, will analyze how the various elements of the U.S. corporate tax system operate as a whole while describing how these policies affect the U.S. economy with Elements of Corporate Taxation.

These insights will help policy makers understand the issues surrounding the debate over tax reform by addressing some of the following questions:

  • How do tax rates and tax incentives direct decision making? Do small changes in tax policy affect individual behavior or the economy as a whole?
  • What lessons can be drawn from the 1986 tax reforms to help us understand tax reform today? Are there any comparisons that may be drawn? Why did the 1986 reforms take place and what did it mean for the economy?
  • What role does the corporate income tax play in the overall tax structure? How do corporate tax rates affect international competition, the decisions corporations make, and the U.S. economy as a whole?