Neil H. Buchanan

Neil H. Buchanan is an economist and legal scholar and a Professor of Law at The George Washington University. He teaches tax law and tax policy, and he has taught contract law, law and economics, and numerous economics courses. His research addresses the long-term tax and spending patterns of the federal government, focusing on budget deficits, the national debt, health care costs, and Social Security. He also is engaged in a long-term research project that asks how current policy choices should be shaped by concerns for the interests of future generations.

Professor Buchanan has held permanent or visiting positions at Rutgers-Newark School of Law, NYU School of Law, and Cornell Law School. Prior to attending law school, Professor Buchanan was an economics professor, specializing in macroeconomics, the history of economic thought, and economic methodology. He has held full-time faculty positions in economics at the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Barnard College, Goucher College, and Wellesley College.

Professor Buchanan has published articles in the Columbia Law Review, the George Washington Law Review, NYU’s Tax Law Review, Cornell Law Review, Virginia Tax Review, and the Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy, as well as other law reviews and refereed social science periodicals. He has also testified before Congress about issues related to tax reform. He publishes twice weekly on the legal blog “Dorf on Law,” and he is a featured columnist on Newsweek's Opinion page.

Columns by Neil H. Buchanan

Republicans Will Not Seriously Try to Sell Marco Rubio as a Moderate, Will They?

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In this first of a series of columns evaluating presidential candidates’ claims of being moderate, George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan argues that Marco Rubio is extremely conservative on both social and economic issues. Buchanan points to Rubio’s position on such social issues as reproductive rights, same-sex marriage, gun control, and economic issues such as tax policy and the federal budget.

Have Democrats Rediscovered Unions Too Late?

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Neil H. Buchanan, a law professor and economist at George Washington University, comments on the recent trend of mainstream liberal opinion makers to express public support for labor unions. Buchanan explains the tumultuous history of liberals and labor unions, and he wonders whether this overdue support is too little too late, in light of a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Republicans Should Learn From Flint That Governing on the Cheap Costs Too Much

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George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan discusses a set of issues raised by an op-ed on the public health emergency in Flint, Michigan, written by one of former president George W. Bush’s speechwriters. Buchanan argues that one of the takeaway lessons is that the government—and particularly the federal government—plays an essential role in responding adequately when disaster strikes.

At This Point, Would Any Republican Ever Leave the Party?

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George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan considers whether any Republican would ever leave the party in light of the increasingly extremist views of the influential party leaders. Buchanan concludes that it is highly unlikely, for a number of reasons, that even Donald Trump could drive away moderate Republicans from the GOP in any permanent sense.

Does a President Actually Need to Know Anything?

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George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan considers the importance of a president himself (or herself) actually having deep knowledge of issues. Buchanan draws upon the presidencies of Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton, Obama, and others, in concluding that the president’s advisors are crucial in determining the tone of a president’s impact.

Who Is Looking for the Easy Way Out Regarding the Debt Ceiling?

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George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan describes the easiest solution to the debt ceiling crisis: for House Republicans to repeal or increase the debt ceiling rather than using it for opportunistic purposes. Buchanan then goes on to explain what the president should do to avoid financial crisis even if House Republicans do not provide this solution.

House Republicans’ Deep Cynicism: Pay the Rich and Play Politics With Everyone Else

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George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan describes two cynical tactics by House Republicans to win the political debate over the debt ceiling: (1) redefining what it means to default, and (2) singling out the rich and Social Security recipients to receive their payments in full in the event of government default.

An Avoidable Human Rights Disaster in the Dominican Republic

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George Washington law professor and economist Neil Buchanan discusses the ongoing human rights disaster in the Dominican Republic stemming from that country’s treatment of Haitians. Buchanan argues that the United States should withdraw financial support for the Dominican Republic’s security forces in order not to provide support for human rights violations.

The Unending Task of Debunking Social Security Fear-Mongering

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George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan debunks some of the Social Security myths spread by many conservative politicians. Specifically, Buchanan makes the following arguments: (1) Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme, (2) Demographics will not overwhelm social security, (3) the Social Security trust fund is more than simply “worthless paper” and we are not better off investing it on our own, and (4) Social Security will not go broke in the coming decades.

Blaming the Victims in Greece: Part Two of a Two-Part Series of Columns

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In this second of a two-part series of columns, George Washington law professor and economist Neil Buchanan explains how the German-led policy regime is likely to hurt not just Greece’s people but also people elsewhere in the world. Buchanan also describes how the arguments from German policymakers amounts to blaming the victims of the very policies they imposed upon the Greeks.