Roosevelt Institute Releases Tax Principles for 2016

By Chris Linsmayer |

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March 10, 2016                                                        Chris Linsmayer, 720-212-488

Roosevelt Institute Releases Tax Principles for 2016

New Tax Brief Calls for Overhaul of Tax Code to Reduce Inequality and Increase Investment

New York, NY— The Roosevelt Institute today released a new brief on tax policy calling for a rewrite of the tax code to encourage productive economic activity and discourage risky and shortsighted behavior. Together, these reforms aim to reduce inequality while increasing economic growth.

The brief, which builds on Roosevelt Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz’s Reforming Taxation to Promote Growth and Equity, comes as Republican and Democratic candidates for president are releasing their tax plans and congressional action on tax reform continues to stall on the Hill. It is intended to help leaders develop tax policies that level the playing field and grow the middle class, and Roosevelt will evaluate all candidates and proposals using these metrics.

For the last forty years U.S. tax policy has favored wealthy individuals and large, multi-national corporations under the assumption that tax cuts for the wealthiest would create economic growth. Despite these predictions, the results are in and there is no correlation between lower tax rates and economic growth.

The brief imagines a different tax code with new policy priorities. Increasing rates on top earners and capital gains will provide revenue for significant investments in critical public services. Taxing multi-national corporations as unitary entities will prevent them from hiding profits overseas, which costs US taxpayers $50-70 billion annually. Instituting a financial transaction tax will discourage speculative short-term trading and raise revenue. Reducing taxes on low-income Americans and small businesses will allow them to buy more consumer goods or create jobs, increasing economic productivity.

“The last forty years of trickle-down tax policies have failed America by increasing inequality and preventing critical investments in areas like education and transportation,” Roosevelt President & CEO Felicia Wong said. “Candidates and elected officials should be following these guidelines when they think about how to get our tax system working for all Americans again. Incentivizing good behavior to level the playing field isn’t just good economics; it’s good politics and it’s time for policy makers to act.”

Polling conducted by the Roosevelt Institute has consistently found likely 2016 voters support increasing taxes on top earners, including 72 percent who agreed “increasing taxes on the richest 1 percent to fund investments that will grow the economy in the long term like in public education, scientific research, and infrastructure” would produce a better economy.

To schedule an interview with Felicia please contact Chris Linsmayer at 720-212-4883 or


About the Roosevelt Institute

Until economic and social rules work for all Americans, they’re not working. Inspired by the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor, the Roosevelt Institute reimagines the rules to create a nation where everyone enjoys a fair share of our collective prosperity. We are a 21st century think tank bringing together multiple generations of thinkers and leaders to help drive key economic and social debates and have local and national impact.