Category Archives: Taxation
News Coverage of a New Report: Tax Cuts For The Poor And Middle Class — Not The Rich — Create Jobs, Research Shows
New Article: “Exploding Wealth Inequalities: Does Tax Policy Promote Social Justice or Social Injustice?”
New Article: Phyllis C. Taite, Exploding Wealth Inequalities: Does Tax Policy Promote Social Justice or Social Injustice?, 36 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 201 (2014). Abstract below:
This essay discusses how tax policies work in concert to contribute to the wealth and income inequality that disadvantage the poor and middle class in favor of the wealthy. While there is current and past discourse on wealth and income inequality, and impact of the same, as well as discussions of multiple causes of wealth and income inequality, there is little discussion on how various tax policies work together as a common force to perpetuate income and economic inequality. This Essay briefly discussed how certain tax policies work in concert to systematically shift wealth to the wealthiest taxpayers. This social arrangement is counter to what many would perceive as social justice. Social justice requires that those who are of greater means and receive greater benefits of tax policy should be responsible for a greater weight of the tax burdens. This Essay furthered discussed proposed limitations that should be placed on certain tax subsidies and defined benefits and burdens that should attach for the benefits received from these tax subsidies.
New Article: “For Goodness’ Sake: A Two-Part Proposal for Remedying the U.S. Charity/Justice Imbalance”
New Article: Fran Quigley, For Goodness’ Sake: A Two-Part Proposal for Remedying the U.S. Charity/Justice Imbalance, SSRN 2015. Abstract below:
The U.S. approach to addressing economic and social needs strongly favors individual and corporate charity over the establishment and enforcement of economic and social rights. This charity/justice imbalance has a severely negative impact on the nation’s poor, who despite the overall U.S. wealth struggle with inadequate access to healthcare, housing, and nutrition. This article suggests a two-part approach for remedying the charity/justice imbalance in the U.S.: First, the U.S. should eliminate the charitable tax deduction, a policy creation that does not effectively address economic and social needs, forces an inequitable poverty relief and tax burden on the middle class, and lulls the nation into a false sense of complacency about its poverty crisis. Second, the U.S. should replace the deduction with ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This two-part process would reverse the U.S. legacy of avoiding enforceable commitments to economic and social rights. Charity would take a step back; justice a step forward.
New Article: Susannah Camic Tahk, The Tax War on Poverty, 56 Ariz. L. Rev. 791 (2014). Abstract below:
In recent years, the war on poverty has moved in large part into the tax code. Scholarship has started to note that the tax laws, which once exacerbated the problem of poverty, have become increasingly powerful tools that the federal government uses to fight against it. Yet questions remain about how this new tax war on poverty works, how it is different from the decades of non-tax anti-poverty policy and how it could improve. To answer these questions, this Article looks comprehensively at the provisions that make up the new tax war on poverty. First, this Article examines each major piece of the tax war on poverty. The Article looks at its mechanics of each, its political history and its effectiveness at addressing poverty. Second, this Article analyzes the tax war on poverty as a whole, identifying commonalities across its different provisions and highlighting its distinctive features. Third, this Article proposes ways that the tax war on poverty could be more effective. In particular, this Article examines how tax lawmakers and tax lawyers could approach this task. In so doing, this Article conceptualizes tax law as the new poverty law and proposes a growing role for public-interest tax lawyers.
New Article: Tracey M. Roberts, Brackets: A Historical Perspective, 108 Nw. L. Rev. 925 (2014). Abstract below:
This Article surveys the history of the U.S. income tax system from 1913 to the present, examining changes in the structure of the graduated rates system over the past 100 years, using inflation-adjusted dollars. By connecting these changes to key events in the history of the United States, the Article contextualizes modifications Congress has made to the income tax over time as well as the current debate surrounding several proposals for reform. First, the Article demonstrates that the rate structure has become more flat (with lower rates and fewer brackets than in the past), compressed (with less graduation, steeper jumps between brackets, and less penetration of the rate schedule into the income strata), and complex (with the proliferation of tax expenditures) over time. Second, the Article reveals that the structures that would result from two of the tax reform proposals being discussed in the popular media resemble historical rates and brackets. Because these proposals for tax reform have analogs in earlier versions of the income tax, the Article argues that analysis of economic data from prior periods may help inform tax policy and identifies an agenda for future research.
Symposium Issue Published: “50 Years After the “War on Poverty”: Evaluating Past Enactments & Innovative Approaches for Addressing Poverty in the 21st Century”
Symposium Issue Published by the Boston College Journal of Law and Social Justice: “50 Years After the “War on Poverty”: Evaluating Past Enactments & Innovative Approaches for Addressing Poverty in the 21st Century”:
Introduction by Emily F. Suski
by Ann Cammett
Abstract: Since the 1960s, racialized metaphors describing dysfunctional parents have been deployed by conservative policymakers to shape the way that the public views anti-poverty programs. The merging of race and welfare has eroded support for a robust social safety net, despite growing poverty and economic inequality throughout the land. This Article begins by describing the […]
by Davida Finger
Abstract: The Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”), formed as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, was one of many initiatives aimed at providing low-income individuals with equal access to justice. Today, the increasing number of people living in poverty, coupled with decreased funding for legal services, has resulted in a significant justice gap […]
by Alex J. Hurder
Abstract: This Article examines the changes to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), which were intended to reconcile the Act with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the effect those changes have had on the education of children with disabilities. The Article highlights the important role that parents were given in […]
by Francine J. Lipman & Dawn Davis
Abstract: Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty. Since then, the federal tax code has been a fundamental tool in providing financial assistance to poor working families. Even today, however, thirty-two million children live in families that cannot support basic living expenses, and sixteen million of those live in extreme […]
by Patricia E. Roberts
Abstract: Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty. The Legal Services Program of 1965, along with the Legal Services Corporation formed in 1974, considerably increased civil legal aid to America’s poor. Yet today, there is only one legal aid attorney for every 6,415 people living in poverty. Veterans, comprising 4.6% […]
New Article: “Reducing Inequality on the Cheap: When Legal Rule Design Should Incorporate Equity as Well as Efficiency”
New Article: Zachary Liscow, Reducing Inequality on the Cheap: When Legal Rule Design Should Incorporate Equity as Well as Efficiency, 123 Yale L.J. 2478 (2014). Abstract below:
This Note develops a framework for understanding when policymakers should use equity-informed legal rules—rather than taxes—to redistribute. First, policymakers should choose the most efficient way to reduce income inequality, which may involve allocating legal entitlements to the poor, depending upon several factors described in the Note. Second, sometimes legal rules ought to account for non-income characteristics based upon which the tax system would be poorly equipped to redistribute.
New Article: Francine J. Lipman & Dawn Davis, Heal the Suffering Children: Fifty Years after the Declaration of War on Poverty, 34 B.C. J. L. & Soc. Change 1 (2014). Abstract below:
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the War on Poverty. Since then, the federal tax code has been a fundamental tool in providing financial assistance to poor working families. Even today, however, thirty-two million children live in families that cannot support basic living expenses, and sixteen million of those live in extreme poverty. This Article navigates the confusing requirements of an array of child-related tax benefits including the dependency exemption deduction, head of household filing status, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit. Specifically, this Article explores how altering the definition of a “qualifying child” across these tax benefits might provide financial relief for working families. The Article concludes that the elimination of the outdated requirement that a “child” be a citizen of the United States or a resident of North America would reduce tax-payer confusion and result in more tax benefits to help lift working families out of poverty.
New Article: Jennifer Bird-Pollan, Unseating Privilege: Rawls, Equality of Opportunity, and Wealth Transfer Taxation, 59 Wayne L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2014). Abstract below:
This Article is the second in a series that examines the estate tax from a particular philosophical position in order to demonstrate the relevance and importance of the wealth transfer taxes to that position. In this Article, I explore Rawlsian equality of opportunity, a philosophical position that is at the heart of much American thought. Equality of opportunity requires not only ensuring that sufficient opportunities are available to the least well-off members of society but also that opportunities are not available to other members merely because of their wealth or other arbitrary advantages. Therefore, an income tax alone, even one with high rates on the wealthy, would be insufficient to achieve these goals. While revenue raised via the income tax should be used to provide additional opportunities to low-income members of society, wealth transfer taxes provide the additional safeguard of preventing the heirs of wealthy individuals from inheriting wealth that would provide them with additional, unwarranted and unjust, opportunities. Given the importance of the wealth transfer taxes, this Article also examines the question of what form of tax is most consistent with Rawls’ position, ultimately determining that an inheritance or accessions tax best fits the role.