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Tax Reform’s Challenges and Opportunities

The U.S. tax code is too complex, riddled with loopholes, and widely perceived to be unfair. Now, a new administration faces the challenge of addressing these shortcomings while also creating a system that is judged to be simpler, fairer and more supportive of economic growth. And fast approaching are the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the growing reach of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), health reform, the search for alternative revenue sources, changes in corporate taxes, and efforts to reduce global warming.

On December 5, Brookings, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) and Tax Analysts co-hosted a day-long forum that explored timely policy recommendations to the incoming president and his transition team. TPC Director Leonard Burman provided introductory remarks and moderated the first panel on how to get tax reform off to a swift and productive start. William Gale, vice president and director of Economic Studies at Brookings and co-director of TPC, joined the first panel and offered closing comments.

Gale offered a public memo to the President-elect with advice on improving the equity, simplicity and efficiency of the tax system, the fourth of 12 Brookings memos on the most crucial policy challenges facing the new president.

Event audio is available at the Tax Policy Center »



Closing Comments


Panel One: Setting the Stage


John Buckley

Chief Democratic Tax Counsel, House Ways and Means Committee

Panel Two: Taxes and the Social Safety Net

Panel Three: Taxation of Capital Income


Lily Batchelder

Associate Professor of Law and Public Policy, New York University School of Law

Panel Four: Energy Taxes


David Weisbach

Walter J. Blum Professor of Law and Kearney Director of the Program in Law and Economics, University of Chicago Law School

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