Policy Backgrounders

Policy Backgrounders are designed as briefing papers on public policy issues for people with limited time and a need to know about public policy issues.

Will The New Budget Package Create A Recession?

The United States has experienced the longest peacetime economic expansion in its history, due to tax reductions enacted during the 1980s.

Rethinking the Clean Air Act Amendments

The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 and has been amended on several occasions.  Recent amendments proposed by President Bush have been so altered in the Senate and the House of Representatives that t…

State Governments Turn to New Taxes

This year 25 states -- leb by California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York -- have approved roughly $10 billion in new taxes, making 1990 the second-largest state tax increase year on record. …

Do We Need New Taxes?

In budget summit negotiations, the President and Congress originally had agreed in principle to reduce the federal deficit by $50 billion next year and $500 billion over the next five years.  About ha…

How to Stimulate Economic Growth and Reduce the Deficit at the Same Time

President Bush and congressional leaders have agreed that any new budget package must contain incentives for investment and capital formation.  The overriding reason for the budget summit is to reduce…

Would a Capital Gains Tax Cut Increase or Reduce Government Revenue?

Last year the House passed a capital gains tax cut which subsequently died in the Senate.  The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) prediceted the bill would reduce federal revenues by about $60 billion…

Should Income Tax Rates For Wealthy Taxpayers Be Increased?

Lower personal income tax rates are Ronald Reagan's most significant legacy.  The highest rate was 70 percent in 1980.  Tax reform in 1981 reduced it to 50 percent and in 1986 to 28 percent that preva…

Should 85 Percent of Social Security Benefits Be Taxed?

The elderly pay income taxes on up to one-half of their Social Security benefits if their total income exceeds $25,000 (individual) or $32,000 (couples).  They pay taxes on 50 cents of benefits for ea…