What Trump Needs to Learn About Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Splashy new projects get the attention, but the real problem is with boring upkeep and operations.

The tensions between President Donald Trump and House Republicans over whether to enact a massive infrastructure bill have slipped from the news a bit, but we should expect that debate to re-emerge this spring and summer. In the meanwhile, while the topic is temporarily off the front pages, we have time to examine what should and shouldn’t happen — which is why I’m excited to participate in a conference that the Hamilton Project is holding on infrastructure today in Washington.

From Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag

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Congress Needs a Megadeal

One way to tackle the debt limit, the budget, military spending and health care — all in September.

As Congress returns to work this week, its agenda is crowded with must-pass legislation. To avoid shutting down the government, lawmakers will have to vote for new spending bills. To avoid a debt crisis, they will have to increase the debt limit. To avoid depriving millions of low-income children of health insurance, they will need to reauthorize funding for it. And since the Trump administration on its own seems unwilling to make the Obamacare health-insurance exchanges work more effectively, Congress will need to make some fixes.

From Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag

Republicans Will Find Corporate Tax Reform Isn’t That Easy

Legislating can be so much more challenging than it seems during an election campaign. That’s becoming increasingly clear about Republican promises to repeal and replace Obamacare. And it’s about to become clearer on corporate tax reform.

Tax reform is a relatively easy concept: Most people favor lowering the tax rate and closing loopholes. The difficulty is in the details.

From Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag

Education and Taxes Can’t Reduce Inequality

Very often, proposals to even out income inequality advise one of two things: Expand people’s access to education and/or raise the top tax rates. Yet even a big increase in the share of people with a college degree would have only a minimal effect on earnings inequality, research has shown. And now it turns out that a substantial increase in the top marginal tax rate wouldn’t do any better.

The economists Bill Gale and Melissa Kearney (colleagues of mine at the Brookings Institution) and I recently looked into the tax-rate question and found that even a big increase in the marginal tax rate for top earners would have shockingly little effect on after-tax inequality.

From Bloomberg View – Articles by Peter R. Orszag