American Tax Resisters
Romain D. Huret Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HJ2362.H87 2014 | Dewey Decimal 336.200973
American Tax Resisters gives a history of the anti-tax movement that, for the past 150 years, has pursued limited taxes on wealth and battled efforts to secure social justice through income redistribution. It explains how a once-marginal ideology became mainstream, elevating individual entrepreneurialism over sacrifice and solidarity.
Behavioral Public Finance
Edward J. McCaffery Russell Sage Foundation, 2006 Library of Congress HJ141.B42 2006 | Dewey Decimal 336.0019
Behavioral economics questions the basic underpinnings of economic theory, showing that people often do not act consistently in their own self-interest when making economic decisions. While these findings have important theoretical implications, they also provide a new lens for examining public policies, such as taxation, public spending, and the provision of adequate pensions. How can people be encouraged to save adequately for retirement when evidence shows that they tend to spend their money as soon as they can? Would closer monitoring of income tax returns lead to more honest taxpayers or a more distrustful, uncooperative citizenry? Behavioral Public Finance, edited by Edward McCaffery and Joel Slemrod, applies the principles of behavioral economics to government's role in constructing economic and social policies of these kinds and suggests that programs crafted with rational participants in mind may require redesign. Behavioral Public Finance looks at several facets of economic life and asks how behavioral research can increase public welfare. Deborah A. Small, George Loewenstein, and Jeff Strnad note that public support for a tax often depends not only on who bears its burdens, but also on how the tax is framed. For example, people tend to prefer corporate taxes over sales taxes, even though the cost of both is eventually extracted from the consumer. James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian, and Andrew Metrick assess the impact of several different features of 401(k) plans on employee savings behavior. They find that when employees are automatically enrolled in a retirement savings plan, they overwhelmingly accept the status quo and continue participating, while employees without automatic enrollment typically take over a year to join the saving plan. Behavioral Public Finance also looks at taxpayer compliance. While the classic economic model suggests that the low rate of IRS audits means far fewer people should voluntarily pay their taxes than actually do, John Cullis, Philip Jones, and Alan Lewis present new research showing that many people do not underreport their incomes even when the probability of getting caught is a mere one percent. Human beings are not always rational, utility-maximizing economic agents. Behavioral economics has shown how human behavior departs from the assumptions made by generations of economists. Now, Behavioral Public Finance brings the insights of behavioral economics to analysis of policies that affect us all.
Recent economic crises have made the centrality of debt, and the instability it creates, increasingly apparent. This realization has led to cries for change—yet there is little popular awareness of possible alternatives.
Beyond Debt describes efforts to create a transnational economy free of debt. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Malaysia, Daromir Rudnyckyj illustrates how the state, led by the central bank, seeks to make the country’s capital Kuala Lumpur “the New York of the Muslim world”—the central node of global financial activity conducted in accordance with Islam. Rudnyckyj shows how Islamic financial experts have undertaken ambitious experiments to create more stable economies and stronger social solidarities by facilitating risk- and profit-sharing, enhanced entrepreneurial skills, and more collaborative economic action. Building on scholarship that reveals the impact of financial devices on human activity, he illustrates how Islamic finance is deployed to fashion subjects who are at once more pious Muslims and more ambitious entrepreneurs. In so doing, Rudnyckyj shows how experts seek to create a new “geoeconomics”—a global Islamic alternative to the conventional financial network centered on New York, London, and Tokyo. A groundbreaking analysis of a timely subject, Beyond Debt tells the captivating story of efforts to re-center international finance in an emergent Islamic global city and, ultimately, to challenge the very foundations of conventional finance.
State legislators are constantly making tradeoffs between changing taxes and providing public services. Not only must they reconcile their own policy preferences with the preferences of their constituents, but they must consider the impact of actions taken by both the federal government and competing states. Glenn Beamer uses a series of in-depth case studies in eleven states to show how legislators made decisions dealing with taxation, economic development, education financing, and Medicaid.
Beamer identifies six factors that influence legislators' decisions: accountability, dependability, equity, obscurability, and horizontal and vertical transferability. Within the context created by citizen demands, intergovernmental politics, policy histories, court interventions, and state constitutions, this study analyzes how legislators employ these principles to develop and enact policies.
In addition to modeling state politics within the context of federalism, Creative Politics, reflecting the author's extensive interviews with legislators, is novel in its focus on politicians' views about public services, the strategies to finance them, and efforts to develop and maintain political support for them.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars of political science, economics, and public administration, and, more specifically, of federalism, state politics and policy, and legislative decision-making.
Glenn Beamer is Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research, University of California, Berkeley, and Assistant Professor of Government, University of Virginia.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, most of the discussion has been focused on questions of debt. And the response, almost uniformly, has been austerity and privatization: cuts to services that have been painted as forms of reckless spending by a bloated public sector. In Debt or Democracy, Mary Mellor turns the whole conversation upside down, showing that the important question is not who owes what, but who controls the creation and circulation of money in the first place. When the problem is examined from that angle, it becomes clear that privatization, far from being the answer to our problem, is the very source of it—the subordination of public finance to private interest.
A direct challenge to conventional economic thinking, Debt or Democracy offers a bracing new analysis of our economic crisis and offers cogent, radical alternatives to create a more just and sustainable economic future.
As the federal government has cut back its support for domestic services, state governments increasingly have been forced to assume a leadership position. In this book, prominent experts describe and analyze how state governments in the 1990s have coped with fiscal stress through changes in tax and spending policies, as well as through attempts to "reinvent government" by abandoning long-established policies.
In an era when state budgets verge on the brink of deficit, state governments face the difficult task of reconciling the public's wish for low taxes with its desire for increased services—better schools, improved health systems, more prisons. This volume provides both a comparative overview of the fifty states as they try to meet conflicting needs and incisive case studies of six states with a reputation for being national leaders—California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota. It explores how much substance there is to claims that states were successful in developing innovative policies.
The Fiscal Crisis of the States draws upon research to analyze what is really happening in the state capitols. Boiling down the diverse experiences of various states into a number of important lessons, this book will be a valuable resource for academics, policymakers, and public administrators, as well as the general reader, to understand the reality of state fiscal policies.
The Founders and Finance
Thomas K. McCraw Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress HJ261.M37 2012 | Dewey Decimal 330.97304
In 1776 the U.S. owed huge sums to foreign creditors and its own citizens but, lacking the power to tax, had no means to repay them. This is the first book to tell the story of how foreign-born financial specialists—the immigrant founders Hamilton and Gallatin—solved the fiscal crisis and set the nation on a path to long-term economic prosperity.
Two and a half centuries after the American Revolution the United States stands as one of the greatest powers on earth and the undoubted leader of the western hemisphere. This stupendous evolution was far from a foregone conclusion at independence. The conquest of the North American continent required violence, suffering, and bloodshed. It also required the creation of a national government strong enough to go to war against, and acquire territory from, its North American rivals.
In A Hercules in the Cradle, Max M. Edling argues that the federal government’s abilities to tax and to borrow money, developed in the early years of the republic, were critical to the young nation’s ability to wage war and expand its territory. He traces the growth of this capacity from the time of the founding to the aftermath of the Civil War, including the funding of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. Edling maintains that the Founding Fathers clearly understood the connection between public finance and power: a well-managed public debt was a key part of every modern state. Creating a debt would always be a delicate and contentious matter in the American context, however, and statesmen of all persuasions tried to pay down the national debt in times of peace. A Hercules in the Cradle explores the origin and evolution of American public finance and shows how the nation’s rise to great-power status in the nineteenth century rested on its ability to go into debt.
In 1978, determined to combat fraud, waste, and abuse in government programs, Congress overwhelmingly approved the creation of special Offices of Inspectors-General (OIGs) in many federal departments. Moore and Gates here provide the first evaluation of this important institutional innovation. Clearly and objectively, they examine the powerful but often imprecisely defined concepts—wastefulness, accountability, performance—that underlie the OIG mandate. Their study conveys a realistic sense of how these offices operate and how their impact is affected by the changing dynamics of politics and personality. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation's Social Science Perspectives Series
The U.S. government is the world’s largest financial institution, providing credit and assuming risk through diverse activities. But the potential cost and risk of these actions and obligations remain poorly understood and only partially measured. Government budgetary and financial accounting rules, which largely determine the information available to federal decision makers, have only just begun to address these issues. However, recently there has been a push to rethink how these programs are valued and accounted for, and some progress has been made in applying modern valuation methods—such as options pricing, risk-adjusted discount rates, and value at risk—to these types of obligations.
This book contains new research, both empirical and methodological, on the measurement and management of these costs and risks. The analyses encompass a broad spectrum of federal programs, including housing, catastrophe insurance, student loans, social security, and environmental liabilities. Collectively, the contributions gathered in Measuring and Managing Federal Financial Risk demonstrate that the logic of financial economics can be a useful tool for studying a range of federal activities.
With a new foreword by New York's former governor, Mario Cuomo, this revised and updated edition of Memos to the Governor is a concise guidebook that takes the reader behind governmental fiscal gobbledygook to explain in clear, understandable prose the technical, economic, and political dynamics of budget making. At all levels of government, the budget has become the battleground for policymaking and politics. This book helps current and future public administrators untangle the knotty processes of budget preparation and implementation.
Dall W. Forsythe, who served as budget director under Governor Cuomo, outlines the budgeting process through a series of memos from a budget director to a newly elected governor—a format that helps readers with little or no background to understand complicated financial issues. He covers all of the steps of budget preparation, from strategy to execution, explaining technical vocabulary, and discussing key topics including baseline budgeting, revenue forecasting, and gap-closing options.
Forsythe brings fresh insights into such issues as the importance of a multiyear strategic budget plan, the impact of the business cycle on state budgets, the tactical problems of getting budgets adopted by legislatures, and, of course, the relationship between governor and budget officer. Memos to the Governor is a painless, practical introduction to budget preparation for students of and practitioners in public administration and public-sector financial management.
This revised and updated edition of Memos to the Governor is a concise and highly readable guidebook that explains in clear, understandable prose the technical, economic, and political dynamics of budget making. Updated with many new examples of budget quandaries from recent years, this book helps current and future public administrators untangle the knotty processes of budget preparation and implementation.
Authors Dall W. Forsythe and Donald J. Boyd outline the budgeting process through a series of memos from a budget director to a newly elected governor—a format that helps readers with little or no background understand complicated financial issues. They cover all of the steps of budget preparation, from strategy to execution, explaining technical vocabulary, and discussing key topics including baseline budgeting, revenue forecasting, and gap-closing options.
Forsythe and Boyd bring fresh insights into such issues as the importance of a multiyear strategic budget plan, the impact of the business cycle on state budgets, the tactical problems of getting budgets adopted by legislatures, and, of course, the relationship between governor and budget officer. Memos to the Governor is a painless, practical introduction to budget preparation for students of and practitioners in public administration and public-sector financial management.
A New Architecture for the U.S. National Accounts brings together a distinguished group of contributors to initiate the development of a comprehensive and fully integrated set of United States national accounts. The purpose of the new architecture is not only to integrate the existing systems of accounts, but also to identify gaps and inconsistencies and expand and incorporate systems of nonmarket accounts with the core system.
Since the United States economy accounts for almost thirty percent of the world economy, it is not surprising that accounting for this huge and diverse set of economic activities requires a decentralized statistical system. This volume outlines the major assignments among institutions that include the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Labor, the Census Bureau, and the Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
An important part of the motivation for the new architecture is to integrate the different components and make them consistent. This volume is the first step toward achieving that goal.
Wenkai He shows why England and Japan, facing crises in public finance, developed the tools and institutions of a modern fiscal state, while China, facing similar circumstances, did not. He’s explanation for China’s failure at a critical moment illuminates one of the most important but least understood transformations of the modern world.
Winner of the 2004 Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award
The authors provide an eye-opening account of recent battles over publicly financed stadiums in some of America’s largest cities. Their interviews with the key decision makers present a behind-the-scenes look at how and why powerful individuals and organizations foist these sports palaces on increasingly unreceptive communities.
Delaney and Eckstein show that in the face of studies demonstrating that new sports facilities don’t live up to their promise of big money, proponents are using a new tactic to win public subsidies¾intangible “social” rewards, such as prestige and community cohesion. The authors find these to be empty promises as well, demonstrating that new stadiums may exacerbate, rather than erase, social problems in cities.
Who and what a government taxes, and how the government spends the money collected, are questions of primary concern to governments large and small, national and local. When public revenues pay for high-quality infrastructure and social services, citizens thrive and crises are averted. When public revenues are inadequate to provide those goods, inequality thrives and communities can verge into unrest—as evidenced by the riots during Greece’s financial meltdown and by the needless loss of life in Haiti’s collapse in the wake of the earthquake.
In The Public Good and the Brazilian State, Anne G. Hanley assembles an economic history of public revenues as they developed in nineteenth-century Brazil. Specifically, Hanley investigates the financial life of the municipality—a district comparable to the county in the United States—to understand how the local state organized and prioritized the provision of public services, what revenues paid for those services, and what happened when the revenues collected failed to satisfy local needs. Through detailed analyses of municipal ordinances, mayoral reports, citizen complaints, and financial documents, Hanley sheds light on the evolution of public finance and its effect on the early economic development of Brazilian society. This deeply researched book offers valuable insights for anyone seeking to better understand how municipal finance informs histories of inequality and underdevelopment.
Retrospectives on Public Finance contains original analyses by internationally recognized public finance scholars, including Carl Sumner Shoup, one of the discipline’s most famous practitioners. Shoup, along with Richard Musgrave and his students, pioneered the “prescriptive” or “political economy school” of public finance known for its hands-on approach and its commitment to applying theory to real world problems. Each contributor provides a retrospective on Shoup’s various contributions to the field, reviewing the literature and assessing its relevance to current problems in public finance theory and policy. The essays highlight and analyze fiscal theory and public policy developments from the 1930s to the present in four areas: the Shoup tax missions to Japan, Venezuela, and Liberia; the tax mix; the expenditure mix; and macro public finance.
Contributors. Lorraine Eden, Carl S. Shoup, Malcolm Gillis, Minoru Nakazato, Charles E. McLure Jr., John Bossons, Richard Goode, William Vickery, Wayne Thirsk, John Graham, Stanley Winer, W. Irwin Gillespie, Melville L. McMillan, Cliff Walsh, John G. Head, Enid Slack, Edwin G. West, Richard M. Bird, Peggy B. Musgrave, Douglas A. L. Auld, John B. Burbidge, Jack M. Mintz, John Sargent, Richard A. Musgrave
Government spending has increased dramatically in the United States since World War II despite the many rules intended to rein in the insatiable appetite for tax revenue most politicians seem to share. Drawing on examples from the federal and state governments, Rules and Restraint explains in lucid, nontechnical prose why these budget rules tend to fail, and proposes original alternatives for imposing much-needed fiscal discipline on our legislators.
One reason budget rules are ineffective, David Primo shows, is that politicians often create and preserve loopholes to protect programs that benefit their constituents. Another reason is that legislators must enforce their own provisions, an arrangement that is seriously compromised by their unwillingness to abide by rules that demand short-term sacrifices for the sake of long-term gain. Convinced that budget rules enacted through such a flawed legislative process are unlikely to work, Primo ultimately calls for a careful debate over the advantages and drawbacks of a constitutional convention initiated by the states—a radical step that would bypass Congress to create a path toward change. Rules and Restraint will be required reading for anyone interested in institutional design, legislatures, and policymaking.
Since the Reagan Revolution of the early 1980s, Republicans have consistently championed tax cuts for individuals and businesses, regardless of whether the economy is booming or in recession or whether the federal budget is in surplus or deficit. In Starving the Beast, sociologist Monica Prasad uncovers the origins of the GOP’s relentless focus on tax cuts and shows how this is a uniquely American phenomenon.
Drawing on never-before seen archival documents, Prasad traces the history of the 1981 tax cut—the famous “supply side” tax cut, which became the cornerstone for the next several decades of Republican domestic economic policy. She demonstrates that the main impetus behind this tax cut was not business group pressure, racial animus, or a belief that tax cuts would pay for themselves.
Rather, the tax cut emerged because in America--unlike in the rest of the advanced industrial world—progressive policies are not embedded within a larger political economy that is favorable to business. Since the end of World War II, many European nations have combined strong social protections with policies to stimulate economic growth such as lower taxes on capital and less regulation on businesses than in the United State. Meanwhile, the United States emerged from World War II with high taxes on capital and some of the strongest regulations on business in the advanced industrial world. This adversarial political economy could not survive the economic crisis of the 1970s.
Starving the Beast suggests that taking inspiration from the European model of progressive policies embedded in market-promoting political economy could serve to build an American economy that works better for all.
In fiscal year 1981-82, state and local government spending actually exceeded federal nondefense spending. However, past research in public finance has focused on federal spending and policies and paid little attention to the economic problems of state and local governments. Studies in State and Local Public Finance goes far in correcting this omission.
Developed from a National Bureau of Economic Research conference on state and local financing, the volume includes papers summarizing and extending recent research as well as commentaries. Covering a wide range of topics, the papers share an empirical orientation and a concern with policy issues. The first two papers look at the role of tax-exempt bonds in local public finance. Their findings suggest that tax policies significantly affect municipal borrowing practices and that financial advantage can be achieved under certain of these practices. Other papers address specific issues related to state and local tax policy: the impact of local taxes on location decisions; efficient road-use charges for trucks; and the relation of income and general sales tax systems over time. Examining issues related to United States federalism, the last paper focuses on the impact of federal grant aid to states.
The research and findings these papers report make an important contribution to the study of local public finance and should be of particular interest to policymakers and those involved in private and public financing at the local, state, or federal level.
The Theory of Public Choice - II
James M. Buchanan and Robert D. Tollison, Editors University of Michigan Press, 1984 Library of Congress HJ192.T47 1984 | Dewey Decimal 330
That economics can usefully explain politics is no longer a novel idea, it is a well-established fact brought about by the work of many public choice scholars. This book, which is a sequel to a similar volume published in 1972, brings together a fresh collection of recent work in the public choice tradition. The essays demonstrate the power of the public choice approach in the analysis of government. Among the issues considered are income redistribution, fiscal limitations on government, voting rules and processes, the demand for public goods, the political business cycle, international negotiations, interest groups, and legislators.
James M. Buchanan is University Distinguished Professor and direct, Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University.
Robert D. Tollison, formerly director, Bureau of Economics, Federal Trade Commission, is now Abney Professor of Economics at Clemson University.
Why do American state economies grow at such vastly different rates and manifest such wide differences in living standards? Volatile States identifies the sources of rising living standards by examining the recent economic and fiscal history of the American states. With new insights about the factors that contribute to state economic success, the book departs from traditional analyses of economic performance in its emphasis on the role of volatility.
Volatile States identifies institutions and policies that are key determinants of economic success and illustrates the considerable promise of a mean-variance criterion for assessing state economic performance. The mean-variance perspective amends applications of growth models that rely on the mobility of productive factors keyed to income levels alone. Simply measuring the level of growth in state economies reveals an incomplete and perhaps distorted picture of performance. Taking the volatility of state economies explicitly into account refines the whole notion of "economic success."
This book is essential reading for economists, political scientists, and policy-makers who routinely confront questions about the consequences of alternative institutional arrangements and economic policy choices.
W. Mark Crain is Professor of Economics and Research Associate, James M. Buchanan Center for Political Economy, George Mason University.