Randall Holcombe Archive

Randall G. Holcombe is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University. His Independent books include Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis (edited with Benjamin Powell); and Writing Off Ideas: Taxation, Foundations, and Philanthropy in America .
Full Biography and Recent Publications

Sanctuary Cities and Recreational Marijuana



Sanctuary cities deliberately refer to themselves using this confrontational terminology, indicating that they provide a sanctuary for those who are in the country illegally. They do so by refusing to aid the federal government in enforcing federal immigration law. Sanctuary cities could be less confrontational if they dropped the terminology and simply said they...
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Progressive Democracy Works for the 1%



The Occupy Wall Street movement that began in 2011 protested government policies that favored the 1%, the elite, over the 99%, the masses. Their protests were justified. The Wall Street fat cats who owned mortgage-backed securities were bailed out, but homeowners who had lost their jobs and couldn’t pay their mortgages were foreclosed. But...
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The Double Tax on Saving



In an earlier post I argued for expanding tax-deferred retirement accounts because they eliminate the double tax on saving that exists under the current tax system. Here is the basic idea. People earn income and pay income tax on that income. If they save it and then earn interest (or dividends, or capital gains,...
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Tax Reform V: Eliminate the Estate Tax



The estate tax amounts to a penalty on the heirs of those who have accumulated wealth over their lifetimes. It raises less than 1% of federal revenues, so it provides almost no benefit to anybody, but imposes a big cost on a few. There are many ways for the wealthy to avoid the estate...
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Tax Reform IV: Corporate Tax Reform



The United States has one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the world. While both the Obama administration and Trump administration have criticized American companies for moving operations off-shore, and considered a variety of policies for punishing them if they do, a better approach would be to design policies that make it...
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Tax Reform III: Tax Employer Health Care Benefits; Offer a Tax Credit to Health Insurance Purchasers



In an earlier blog post I suggested eliminating all personal tax deductions, with a possible exception related to health care. One of the well-publicized problems with the American health care system is that employer-provided health insurance is not taxed, pushing us to a system in which people get health insurance from their employers. A...
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Tax Reform II: Lower Rates; Eliminate Deductions



As Congress considers tax reform, the focus on the personal income tax should be to lower rates and eliminate all deductions except for a standard deduction that applies to everyone. Lower rates enough to offset the increased revenue from eliminating deductions, and set the standard deduction at a level that raises the same amount...
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Tax Reform I: Expand the IRA



As Congress turns its attention to tax reform, one desirable change would be to expand the availability of IRA accounts to more taxpayers, with higher limits, and for purposes other than retirement. I’ll follow up with more tax reform recommendations in later posts, and apologize for making my first suggestion a somewhat technical one....
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Checks and Balances: Assessing Trump’s First 200 Days



President Donald Trump’s administration has passed the 200 day mark, a milestone that might make it reasonable to look at what he’s accomplished after making big promises in his campaign. No Obamacare repeal. No tax reform. No NAFTA repeal. No wall. No immigration reform (although he did issue some executive orders that were partially...
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Is Jeff Sessions Still Attorney General?



A few weeks ago I was hopeful that Jeff Sessions was on his way out as Attorney General, because President Trump didn’t like his recusing himself on the Russia investigation or the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. But that has nothing to do with my hopes for a short tenure for the attorney...
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