The Independent Institute

 
        

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

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,...
Read More »

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...
Read More »

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...
Read More »

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...
Read More »

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...
Read More »

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....
Read More »

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...
Read More »

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...
Read More »

Will the Workday Shrink to Four Hours?



Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Chinese firm Alibaba, anticipates that in 30 years the workday will shrink to four hours. He cites as evidence the continual decline in the number of works hours of the average worker. But while average hours worked has declined, some people work 60 to 70 hours a week...
Read More »

TSA Treatment of Gun-Toting Travelers



What happens if the TSA catches someone with a firearm at one of their checkpoints? It happens a lot. Last year the TSA found 3,391 guns in carry-ons at checkpoints. This happened to a friend of mine this week. Here’s what he told me. He and his wife were going through the TSA checkpoint...
Read More »

  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org