Neil H. Buchanan

Neil H. Buchanan

Neil H. Buchanan is an economist and legal scholar, a Professor of Law at The George Washington University, and a Senior Fellow at the Taxation Law and Policy Research Institute, Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). He teaches tax law, tax policy, contracts, and law and economics. 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. He clerked for Judge Robert H. Henry on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. 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 George Washington Law Review, NYU’s Tax Law Review, Cornell Law Review, and Virginia Tax Review, as well as in the refereed social science periodicals The Journal of Economic Issues and The Journal of Socio Economics. He has also testified before Congress about issues related to tax reform. He has written popular articles for Tax Notes and Challenge: The Magazine of Economic Affairs, and he was a regular columnist for the now-defunct legal magazine FindLaw's Writ. In addition, he publishes twice weekly on the legal blog “Dorf on Law.”

Columns by Neil H. Buchanan

Republicans Can Save Their Party if They Can Admit to Themselves That Clinton Is Tolerable

George Washington University law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains why it is in the best interests of Republican leaders for them to admit that Hillary Clinton would be a tolerable president, rather than to support Donald Trump. Buchanan argues that for them to continue to support Trump is to risk putting a dangerous loose cannon in the White House, who at best will render the Republican party unrecognizable, and at worst could tear apart the country.

What Do “High Negatives” Mean? Or: Hillary Clinton On Her Worst Day Is Better Than Donald Trump On His Best

Neil H. Buchanan, a law professor and economist at George Washington University, discusses the negative opinions a large number of Americans hold about both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the 2016 Presidential Election. He further explains how peoples' discontent with Clinton differs from that relating to Trump, revealing a stark disparity between the two candidates' qualifications to become President. Where Clinton's naysayers frequently offer vague or unsubstantiated complaints, Buchanan argues that the criticism aimed at Trump is far more substantive.

Even After Trump Loses, Constitutional Democracy in the United States Will Still Be in Peril

George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains why, whether Donald Trump wins or loses the presidency, constitutional democracy in the United States is seriously threatened. Buchanan argues that Trump’s stated plans for the country would effectively destroy our constitutional democracy, but even a Republican-caused gridlocked Congress under a President Hillary Clinton could cause a debt crisis and economic collapse.

Is This the Beginning of the End of Constitutional Democracy in the U.S.?

In this first of a two-part series of columns, George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan considers whether the constitutional democracy in the United States is near its demise. Buchanan compares and contrasts the responses to issues faced by middle-class America given by Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton with those given by Republican nominee apparent Donald Trump.

Trump Finds a Way to Be Just a Bit More Unhinged than the Republican Establishment Is About the Federal Debt

George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains how Donald Trump’s recent comments about the federal debt reveal that he is even more irresponsible—though only slightly—than the Republican establishment on this issue. Buchanan describes the problems with repudiating the debt as Trump suggests the government do.

On Social Security, at the Very Least, the Dishonesty Is All on the Republican Side

George Washington University law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains why, contrary to claims by Republicans, Social Security is not on the brink of bankruptcy or insolvency. Buchanan points out that even in the unlikely event of the worst case scenario—where the Social Security trust fund reaches zero—retirees would still receive modest benefits.

The Kasich Moderation Burlesque

George Washington University law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan continues his series of columns evaluating presidential candidates’ claims of being moderate by looking at Ohio governor John Kasich. Buchanan cautions that although as governor Kasich accepted a Medicaid expansion for Ohio and acknowledges climate change, his actions and words with respect to issues such as abortion, the Affordable Care Act, and the federal budget—among others—reflect extreme conservative views, not moderate ones.

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

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?

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

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?

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?

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.