Donald Baird Marron Jr. is an Institute fellow and director of economic policy initiatives at the Urban Institute. He conducts research on tax policy and federal budgeting and identifies opportunities for Urban to develop policy-relevant research on economic and financial issues. From 2010 to 2013, he led the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Before joining Urban, Marron served in senior government positions, including as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and acting director of the Congressional Budget Office. He has also taught at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, consulted on major antitrust cases, and been chief financial officer of a health care software start-up. Marron has broad experience in economic policy issues, including America's fiscal challenges, tax reform, energy and environment, and the financial crisis. He testifies frequently before Congress, appears often at conferences and in the media to discuss economic policy, and works to popularize economics through his blog and writings. He is the editor of 30-Second Economics, a short book that introduces readers to 50 of the most important theories in economics. Marron currently serves on the boards of FairVote and the Concord Coalition, advises Fair Observer and YieldStreet, and is a senior research fellow at the Climate Leadership Council. He studied mathematics at Harvard College and received his PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Should you face an extra tax if you drink soda? Eat potato chips? Uncork some wine? Light up a cigarette or joint? Toast yourself in a tanning booth? Many governments think so. Mexico taxes junk food. Berkeley taxes sugary soft drinks. Countless governments tax alcohol and tobacco. Several states tax marijuana. And thanks to health reform, the U.S. government taxes indoor tanning.
With obesity and diabetes at record levels, many public health experts believe governments should tax soda, sweets, junk food, and other unhealthy foods and drinks. Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, and Mexico have such taxes. So do Berkeley, California and the Navajo Nation. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver waged a high-profile campaign leading to Britain's Sugar Tax 2018, and the Washington Post has endorsed the same for the United States.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree on one thing: Managers of private equity funds should pay ordinary tax rates on their carried interest, not the lower rates that apply to long-term capital gains and dividends. They differ, of course, on what those rates should be. But if we made that change today, managers would pay taxes at effective federal rates of up to 44 percent, rather than the up-to-25 percent rates that apply currently.
Record stock buybacks—driven in part by the corporate tax changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)—have sparked a media and political furor. Unfortunately, they’ve also created a great deal of confusion. To help elevate the debate, here are three things you should know.