Len Burman

BIO
Leonard Burman is the director of the Tax Policy Center, the Paul Volcker Chair at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a senior research associate at Maxwell School's Center for Policy Research. He co-founded the Tax Policy Center in 2002. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Analysis at the Treasury from 1998 to 2000 and as Senior Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. He is past-president of the National Tax Association. Burman is the author of Taxes in America: What Everyone Needs to Know, with Joel Slemrod, and The Labyrinth of Capital Gains Tax Policy: A Guide for the Perplexed, co-editor of Taxing Capital Income and Using Taxes to Reform Health Insurance, and author of numerous articles, studies, and reports. Burman’s recent research has examined US federal budget dynamics, tax expenditures, financing long-term care, the individual alternative minimum tax, the changing role of taxation in social policy, and tax incentives for savings, retirement, and health insurance. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. Twitter: @lenburman


TPC Receives A Major Gift From Bob Pozen, Establishes the Pozen Director’s Chair

By :: May 5th, 2015

I am delighted to announce a major new endowment gift for the Tax Policy Center from Robert C. Pozen. His gift will establish the Pozen Director’s Chair at TPC in perpetuity.  I’m honored to be its inaugural holder. Bob is a widely respected leader in finance and public policy and author of several books. He […]

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Do Senators Lee and Rubio Have a Secret Plan to Help Poor Families?

By :: March 27th, 2015

In its analysis of the tax reform plan proposed recently by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT), the Tax Foundation assumed the proposal would make the new personal credit ($2,000 for singles and $4,000 for married couples) fully refundable. This assumption helps explain why the group concluded the Lee-Rubio plan would be highly progressive. Full refundability […]

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“Family Fairness Tax Reform” is Hard on Poor Families

By :: March 19th, 2015

Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) made a big splash with their “Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Plan” last month, which among other things would create a new partially refundable $2,500 per child tax credit (CTC).  The plan is ambitious and expensive, but it may hurt many low-income families with children, according […]

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Cutting Capital Gains Taxes is a Dead End, Not a Step on the Road to a Consumption Tax

By :: March 3rd, 2015

One of the most useful insights of public economics is the “theory of second best.” The idea is that adopting some but not all of the features of optimal policy—the seminal article on the subject called this “piecemeal policy recommendations”—may actually make the economy less efficient. A great example is the argument for eliminating taxes […]

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Are Accrued Capital Gains Income in the Year You Die?

By :: February 2nd, 2015

The Tax Policy Center’s tables showing the distribution of President Obama’s new income tax proposals indicate that some middle-class households would pay more tax than under current law. The Administration says they wouldn’t. The reason is that TPC and the White House disagree over what counts as income. The dispute centers on the President’s proposal […]

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President Obama Targets the "Angel of Death" Capital Gains Tax Loophole

By :: January 18th, 2015

The President plans to announce in Tuesday’s State of the Union Address new proposals that would raise taxes on capital gains for the wealthiest Americans. The proposal would raise the top tax rate on long-term gains and qualifying dividends to 28-percent (including the Affordable Care Act’s 3.8 percent investment income surtax on high-income taxpayers). The […]

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TPC’s New 2015 Digital Look

By :: January 7th, 2015

As you might have noticed, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center website just had a makeover. It’s the beginning of a process that will make our careful nonpartisan analysis more engaging and easier to find and use. First, we have designed a new logo and have given TaxVox a new look. And you will begin to […]

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The Politics and Policy of Tax Extenders

By :: December 1st, 2014

‘Tis the season for bad tax policy… In what has become an annual ritual, Congress is struggling with what to do with the 70 or so “temporary” tax provisions that expired in 2013 or will expire in 2014. For a brief moment last week, there was word of a deal to make permanent the biggest […]

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What Ronald Reagan Didn’t Say About the EITC

By :: July 30th, 2014

I like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It encourages work and allows millions of low-wage workers and their kids to escape a life of poverty. Democrats support it as a critical part of the safety net. Republicans back it because it rewards work and family. Just last week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan […]

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How Progressive is Obama’s Tax Policy?

By :: July 23rd, 2014

Has President Obama’s tax policy reduced income inequality? It depends on what you are comparing it to. White House Council of Economic Advisors chief Jason Furman claims that President Obama’s tax policies have sharply reduced inequality. Today’s Washington Post Wonkblog featured some new tables from the Tax Policy Center that show Obama tax policy is […]

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