December 12, 2007

Exploring Issues in Tax Policy - Sweeping Changes: Tax Reform in 1986

Garett Jones

Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Garett Jones - Professor of Economics George Mason University

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 reviews 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 analyzes 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.