Press Release: New Report Outlines Progressive Tax Policy Agenda

New York – One year after Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 (TCJA), a new report from the Great Democracy Initiative, Restoring Democracy through Tax Policy, offers a bold vision for progressive tax reform. In the report, Jeremy Bearer-Friend, Acting Assistant Professor of Tax Law at NYU School of Law, argues that repeal of the TCJA, or proposals aimed at closing loopholes for wealthy individuals, are insufficient. Instead, Bearer-Friend argues that progressives must respond to our country’s rampant inequality and declining democracy with policies aimed directly at wealth concentration.

“Our tax code was broken well before Congress passed more tax cuts for the rich in 2017,” said report author Jeremy Bearer-Friend. “The inequality fomented by already unjust tax laws is what enabled huge businesses and their owners to tilt tax policy even further in their favor. Rooting out this inequality will take more than TCJA repeal.”

The report’s policy prescriptions focus on three key areas:

  • Correcting our tax code’s preferences for capital over labor;
  • Harnessing the regulatory potential of tax policy; and
  • Placing taxpaying alongside voting as a pillar of our democracy.

The report’s aggressive reforms include proposals like taxing limited liability companies, applying the same tax rates to capital gains and qualified dividends as labor income, and instituting a federal wealth tax. The report also proposes ending tax subsidies for monopolies and leveling the playing field between domestic and multinational firms.

The report is the sixth from the Great Democracy Initiative, and it follows on reports outlining blueprints for regulating tech platforms, fighting corruption in government, proposing a public option for banking, and reforming trade and antitrust policy.

About the Authors

Jeremy Bearer-Friend is an Acting Assistant Professor of Tax Law at NYU School of Law, where he teaches tax policy, tax procedure, and estate and gift tax. Prior to joining academia, he was Tax Counsel to Senator Elizabeth Warren. He is the author of “Should the IRS Know Your Race? The Challenge of Colorblind Tax Data,” forthcoming in the Tax Law Review.

About the Great Democracy Initiative

The Great Democracy Initiative seeks to develop bold, progressive, and actionable policy plans for leaders seeking solutions to key issues facing our country. Instead of proposing technocratic tweaks or layering new programs on top of a broken system, the Great Democracy Initiative targets the structural problems facing our democracy, including unaccountable policymakers, corporations with outsized economic and political power, and policies that subtly stack the deck against average Americans. Learn more at www.greatdemocracyinitiative.org.