Spending in the Tax Code
Policymakers and pundits usually talk as though spending and tax breaks are distinct. Spending is what government gives out or uses for purchases, while tax breaks reduce how much revenue government collects. But fiscal reality in much blurrier. Hundreds of billions of dollars of spending are hidden in the tax code. That creates challenges for how we think about the size of government. It also points the way to fiscal reforms that could be embraced both by those who favor lower spending and by those who favor higher revenues.
Donald Marron is the director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and a visiting professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute. He has been a Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Executive Director of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC). He taught economics and finance at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and in the private sector he managed large antitrust cases (e.g., Pepsi vs. Coke) at Charles River Associates in Washington, DC and served as chief financial officer of a health care software start-up in Austin, TX. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in Mathematics from Harvard.