So long, for now
The energetic young packers have just left my home, as if it had been hit by a super-organized tornado. Almost all of our possessions are hidden from view, piled in boxes. (Fortunately, I prevented the movers from packing my laptop.)
So I guess this is really happening. I’m no longer director of the Tax Policy Center. Friday was my last day. I’m moving to Syracuse University to become the first Daniel Patrick Moynihan Professor of Public Affairs at the Maxwell School. I’ll need extra large business cards to fit the title.
As tax geeks, you will know that this is a tremendous honor. Moynihan was a former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and, as an adviser to President Nixon, one of the architects of the EITC, among many, many other accomplishments. He was renowned (and sometimes reviled) for his independence and integrity. And he started and ended his career on the faculty of Syracuse University, where he found a wonderful community of scholars with compatible interests.
I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to try to live up to the Moynihan name at Syracuse.
But I’m also taking on a new job as Affiliated Scholar at the TPC, which means that you’ll still see my occasional blog posts and working papers and I’ll show up for TPC events when I can.
Thinking back on my tenure at TPC, I feel very proud of what we have accomplished. In seven short years, we have helped usher in a new era of sensible tax policy and responsible federal budgeting.
That was a little joke.
But in seven short years we have become a respected Washington institution. We are the source for timely, accessible, and credible analysis of tax policy issues. Our website now hosts an encyclopedic volume of data and resources for journalists, policy analysts, and the public. Our blog, TaxVox, has a large and growing base of loyal readers.
When we started the TPC, on April Fools Day, 2002, the idea of a nonpartisan tax policy center was highly speculative: Could we make tax policy comprehensible and engaging? Could we build a model up to (or better than) the standards of official government scorekeepers using public use data? Could we produce accurate estimates in time to inform the public debate? The Urban Institute and Brookings Institution and a generous consortium of foundations bet that we could, and we did.
It couldn’t have happened without an incredibly dedicated staff, many of whom write for this blog. They work tirelessly, are extraordinarily knowledgeable and smart. They really care about good tax policy, and they really, really care about getting things right. They are also some of the nicest people I’ve ever known. They made all the hard work fun. I’m so grateful to have had the chance to work with them
Finally, thank you. TPC was the ultimate “field of dreams.” We built it, knowing that there was a desperate need for good tax policy information, hoping that if we built it, they would come. You did, validating our efforts, and helping us to spread the slightly seditious message that good tax policy matters.
When the political establishment is ready to tackle serious tax reform again, TPC will be ready to enlighten and inform the debate. It can’t happen too soon.
And I expect to be a part of it, from TPC North.
Thanks. And keep in touch.