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Friday, November 2, 2012

Are the Rich Taxed Enough?

Here's a good debate, courtesy of the folks at Intelligence Squared US. The motion being debated was, "The Rich Are Taxed Enough," and it features four excellent panelists: Glenn Hubbard (Dean, Colombia Business School), Arthur Laffer (Member, President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board), Robert Reich (President Clinton's Secretary of Labor), and Mark Zandi (Chief Economist of Moody's Analytics). Hubbard and Laffer argue on behalf of the motion, while Reich and Zandi argue against it. More detailed biographies of the debaters appear below: Here's a description of the debate (from the Intelligence Squared US website):
How do we fix the economy? The U.S. government's budget deficit is nearing a trillion dollars for the fourth straight year and unemployment remains high. With the Bush-era tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of 2012, what is the best move for continued economic recovery? President Obama says we should raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 to reduce the deficit. Others say that the richest 1% already pay more than a quarter of all federal taxes and higher taxes for job creators would slow economic growth. Are the nation's wealthiest not paying their "fair share," or should tax breaks be extended for everyone in the name of job creation?
As with all Intelligence Squared debates, those in attendance vote before and after the debate, and the winning team is decided by how many minds were changed and in what direction. Not only can you listen to or watch the debate at the Intelligence Squared website ("The Rich Are Taxed Enough"), but you can access transcripts of the debate as well. The debate can also be downloaded from iTunes. Here are the extended biographies of the debaters (from the Intelligence Squared US):

Glenn Hubbard is Dean of Columbia Business School and the Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics. Hubbard is the author of two leading textbooks on money and financial markets and principles of economics, as well as co-author of The Aid Trap: Hard Truths About Ending Poverty and Healthy (2009), and Wealthy, and Wise: Five Steps to a Better Health Care System (2006). He previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 1991 to 1993, and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors from 2001 to 2003. He is also an advisor to Presidential candidate Mitt Romney (and most likely will be a part of Romney's cabinet if Romney is elected).

Arthur Laffer is the Founder and Chairman of Laffer Associates, an economic research and consulting firm, and Laffer Investments, an investment management firm. In the 1980s, his economic acumen and influence in triggering a tax-cutting movement earned him the distinction as “The Father of Supply-Side Economics.” Laffer was a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board from 1981 to 1989 and served as Chief Economist in the Office of Management and Budget from 1970 to 1972. He is also known for his "Laffer Curve."

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. Reich was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration from 1993-1997. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers Aftershock (2011) and The Work of Nations (1992). His latest is an e-book, Beyond Outrage (2012). He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and Chairman of Common Cause. He writes his own blog about the political economy at robertreich.org.

Mark Zandi is the Chief Economist of Moody’s Analytics where he directs the company’s research and consulting activities. Zandi’s recent research has studied the determinants of mortgage foreclosure and personal bankruptcy, analyzed the economic impact of various tax and government spending policies, and assessed the appropriate policy response to bubbles in asset markets. Frequently testifying before Congress, Zandi is a trusted adviser to policy makers on topics including the economic outlook, the merits of fiscal stimulus, financial regulatory reform, and foreclosure mitigation. Zandi received his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, where he did his research with Gerard Adams and Nobel laureate Lawrence Klein.

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