Taxation and the New 'Progressives'

3 Pages Posted: 22 May 2020

Date Written: April 26, 2020


Larry Summers would like to portray himself as a progressive. In a paper he co-authored for the centrist Hamilton Project with his former PhD student Natasha Sarin and their research assistant Joe Kupferberg, Summers announced a “pragmatic approach” for making the tax system more progressive. Summers and his co-authors (SSK) take care to contrast their approach with the proposals of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and claim that the “pragmatic” approach can raise over $4 trillion in 2020-29. But a closer look at the SSK proposals shows that theirs is not a progressive approach at all, and that it is unlikely to generate the revenues they claim.

Keywords: progressively, wealth tax, mark to market

JEL Classification: H26

Suggested Citation

Avi-Yonah, Reuven S., Taxation and the New 'Progressives' (April 26, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734-647-4033 (Phone)

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