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The Bush Tax Cut and National Saving

  • Auerbach, Alan J.

Following through on pledges made during his election campaign, President Bush proposed and Congress passed a substantial tax cut in 2001, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA). Much has been written about the size of the tax cut, its impact on the federal budget, its distributional consequences, and its short-run macroeconomic impact. There has been less focus on EGTRRA’s incentive effects; one of the most important potential behavioral effects is on saving. To analyze the behavioral effects of the Bush tax cut on saving and other macroeconomic variables, I use the Auerbach-Kotlikoff (1987) model in conjunction with the NBER’s TAXSIM model. An interesting by-product of this analysis is the "dynamic scoring" of the tax cut--the estimated feedback effects of behavior on revenue. By comparing the revenue losses generated by the model with those that would occur without any behavioral response, one can estimate how much of the static revenue loss would be recouped by expanded economic activity. The simulations suggest that dynamic scoring has a significant impact on estimated revenue losses, but that the tax cut’s impact on national saving is still negative in the long run.

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Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

Volume (Year): 55 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 387-407

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Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:55:y:2002:i:3:p:387-407
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  1. Alan J. Auerbach, 2000. "Formation of fiscal policy: the experience of the past twenty-five years," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 9-23.
  2. Jon Gruber & Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
  4. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Scholarly Articles 2766676, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Martin Feldstein, 1993. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the1986 Tax Reform Act," NBER Working Papers 4496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alan J. Auerbach, 1996. "Dynamic Revenue Estimation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 141-157, Winter.
  7. Calomiris, Charles W. & Hassett, Kevin A., 2002. "Marginal Tax Rate Cuts and the Public Tax Debate," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 1), pages 119-131, March.
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