Analysis and Commentary on Tax and Economics
Can and Should States Mandate Tax Return Disclosure as a Condition for Presidential Candidates to Appear on the Ballot?

Illinois Law dean and professor Vikram David Amar considers whether states have the authority to mandate tax return disclosure in order to appear on the presidential election ballot—and if they do, whether exercising that authority is a good idea. Amar explains why the legal authority for enacting such laws is unclear and argues that they could potentially undermine the democratic process, whereas a national popular vote would strengthen the process.

Republicans Always Lose the Tax Fairness Debate, and Trump Turns It Into a Rout

George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains why, with the information that we currently have, there is no way to determine whether Donald Trump’s tax strategies were legal or illegal. Buchanan argues that regardless of the answer to that question, there are still too many special provisions for people like Trump—particularly with respect to the real estate sector.

What the Last Eight Years of Federal Government Intervention in the National Economy Has Wrought

Chapman University, Fowler School of Law, professor Ronald D. Rotunda evaluates the claims of President Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton about the country’s economic gains over the past eight years and finds that those claims lack support. Rotunda argues that the numbers indicate that the policy of federal government intervention has not worked as well as Clinton and Obama claim.

Social Security’s Political Future in a Clinton Administration

George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains why young Americans and black Americans should not believe Trump’s (and Republicans’) claims that they have nothing to lose by dismantling Social Security and Medicare. Buchanan describes the so-called reduced benefits scenario that could happen in the unlikely event that the trust balance reaches zero and contrasts that with the enhanced benefits that could result from a Clinton presidency.

An Analysis of Donald Trump’s Economic Proposa…—Wait, He Said What?

George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan evaluates Donald Trump’s economic proposal, finding it at best a regurgitation of Republican economic orthodoxy. Buchanan explains why Trump’s proposal is essentially trickle-down economics, which would simply worsen economic inequality and do nothing to improve the economy.

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.

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.

Why Can’t We Buy Cars the Way We Buy Computers?

Chapman University Law professor Ronald Rotunda comments on the law in a majority of states requiring car manufacturers to sell through dealers. Rotunda argues that Tesla Motors’ direct-to-consumer model is an excellent opportunity for the state and federal courts to invalidate laws such as these that exist only to favor entrenched economic interests.

Genuine Tax Simplification—Not Grandstanding—From Senator Warren and Friends

Neil H. Buchanan, a law professor and economist at George Washington University, praises a bill proposed by Senator Elizabeth Warren that would simplify the filing of taxes. Buchanan explains why filing should be much simpler than it is and also why efforts to simplify the process have, to date, failed.

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.

Why Clinton and Sanders Are Both Right (and Trump Is Wrong) About International Trade

George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan explains why Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both correct about international trade. Buchanan points out that there is no single set of policies that deserves to be called “free trade,” and thus that the term is incoherent.

Social Security Will Be There When Today’s Young People Retire

George Washington University law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan argues that Social Security will still be there when today’s youth retire, despite claims to the contrary by Republicans and the media. Buchanan explains the key difference between the Social Security trust fund and the Social Security system generally.

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.

Are Baby Boomers Better to Millennials Than Millennials Are to Themselves?

George Washington law professor and economist Neil Buchanan explains how the ways in which Baby Boomers have positively and negatively shaped the world for Millenials. Buchanan points out that Baby Boomers actually did well in some of the areas for which Millenials criticize them, though they also fell short in other areas.

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

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.

Budgetary Nonsense Across the Republican Landscape

George Washington law professor and economist Neil H. Buchanan describes how Donald Trump’s comments about taxes and the national debt reveal that he is hardly any different from the other Republican candidates. Buchanan argues that, in fact, Trump is in line with mainstream Republican with respect to his views on taxes.

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

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.

Meet our Columnists
Vikram David Amar
Vikram David Amar

Vikram David Amar is the Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Illinois... more

Neil H. Buchanan
Neil H. Buchanan

Neil H. Buchanan, an economist and legal scholar, holds the James J. Freeland Eminent Scholar... more

Sherry F. Colb
Sherry F. Colb

Sherry F. Colb is the C.S. Wong Professor of Law at Cornell University. Colb teaches courses in... more

John Dean
John Dean

John Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973.... more

Michael C. Dorf
Michael C. Dorf

Michael C. Dorf is the Robert S. Stevens Professor of Law at Cornell University Law School. He... more

Joanna L. Grossman
Joanna L. Grossman

Joanna L. Grossman is the Ellen K. Solender Endowed Chair in Women and Law at SMU Dedman School... more

Marci A. Hamilton
Marci A. Hamilton

MARCI A. HAMILTON is the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program Professor of Practice, and Fox Family... more

Joseph Margulies
Joseph Margulies

Mr. Margulies is a Professor of Law and Government at Cornell University. He was Counsel of... more

Lesley Wexler
Lesley Wexler

Lesley Wexler is a Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. Immediately... more