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Comments on Assessing the Bush Administration's Tax Agenda

25 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2004  

Linda Sugin

Fordham University School of Law


This article, written as part of a symposium on "The State of the Federal Income Tax: Rates, Progressivity, and Budget Processes," discusses the legal issues raised by data presented by economists Drs. William Gale and Peter Orszag. It proposes the adoption of pay-go procedural rules for tax lawmaking that favor tax cuts that decrease income inequality, in response to biases in distributional tables and distortions in the political process. It suggests that the failure to use present value analysis in the budget process has had unfortunate, unintended consequences for progressivity, in particular, in encouraging a Congressional preference for a prepaid consumption tax. It argues that efforts to index the AMT should not deflect attention from the AMT's most fundamental distributional problem - its failure to treat dividends and capital gains as preference items. It considers possible institutional advantages in global sunsets of important tax legislation, even when the legislation is not intended to expire.

In addition, this article considers the intersection of budget processes and progressivity in the tax expenditure budget. It argues that the Administration's recent changes in the treatment of the corporate tax and its incomplete analysis of comprehensive tax bases, undermine the usefulness of the tax expenditure budget, and have made tax expenditures suddenly appear more progressive, even though they are not. This part of the article was previously published as What is Happening to the Tax Expenditure Budget? 104 TAX NOTES 763 (2004).

Suggested Citation

Sugin, Linda, Comments on Assessing the Bush Administration's Tax Agenda. Boston College Law Review, Vol. 45, 2004. Available at SSRN:

Linda Sugin (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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