Policy Forum

Congress Should Account for Excess Burden of Taxation

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Date and Time
1st floor/Wintergarden
Featuring Christopher J. Conover, Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, Duke University; and Douglas Holtz‐​Eakin, President, American Action Forum, and Former Director, Congressional Budget Office; moderated by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

Nearly all taxes impose hidden costs by choking off economic activity. In a soon‐​to‐​be‐​released Cato Institute study, Duke University professor Christopher J. Conover estimates how much economic activity the recently enacted health care law — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — will destroy. Failing to account for those hidden costs of taxation and government spending can bias legislative decisions toward more costly policies. Conover argues that honest and transparent governance requires that Congress account for the “excess burden of taxation” in its legislative cost estimates, baseline budget projections, and budget options — much like the Office of Management and Budget already does.