Reality Check: Raising Revenue for Structural Reform and Large-Scale Public Investment

By Lenore Palladino, Marybeth Seitz-Brown |

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Our debate about what is possible in U.S. policy is severely constrained by the assumption that our public resources are scarce and already overspent, meaning we are not capable of the large-scale social investments needed to provide every American with income security and a dignified life. This assumption is misguided and false. Implementing tax policies that would curb the disproportionate concentration of wealth in the corporate and financial sectors could simultaneously create the capacity for real public investment and promote economic growth. Even if the policies we analyze for their revenue potential raised no revenue, they would still be worthwhile reforms to create a healthier economy with proper incentives. We analyze in detail a variety of tax policy reforms and gather a range of government and academic estimates of their potential revenue.

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Lenore Palladino is the Senior Economist and Policy Counsel at the Roosevelt Institute, where she brings expertise to Roosevelt’s work on inequality and finance. Palladino earned a PhD in economics from The New School University and a JD from Fordham Law School. Her research and writing focus on financial reform, financial taxation, labor rights, and fiscal crises. Her publications have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, State Tax Notes, and other venues.

Marybeth Seitz-Brown is a Program Associate for the New Economy project at the Roosevelt Institute.