Now our summer-long lecture series for congressional staffers is available to everyone! Learn from today’s leading experts about the fundamentals of economics and tax policy with our Tax Foundation University video lectures.

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Tax Foundation University 2018 Curriculum

For the first time in over 30 years, federal legislators are poised to enact comprehensive tax reform. To help keep you informed, we’re offering a free, online version of this year’s Tax Foundation University curriculum specifically designed to help you understand how to think about tax policy in the context of this year’s reform efforts.

Just enroll below and every Tuesday between June 6th and July 20th, we will e-mail you an hour-long video lecture with accompanying course materials. Over the course of six lectures, our team of leading tax policy experts will guide you through these complex issues and give you a foundation for understanding and engaging in this year’s tax reform efforts. Topics covered will include:

  • Why is tax reform so important? Why is now the right time? If reform is so difficult, why not just cut rates and call it a day?
  • What should you know about current proposals, including the House GOP Tax Reform Blueprint?
  • What’s the deal with the border adjustment or the interest deduction?
  • How will legislators navigate the budget rules?

More information about each week’s lecture is posted below.

Week 1
June 6, 2017

Why tax reform? Why now? Why not just cut taxes?

This session will discuss key considerations in tax reform – balancing revenues, growth, and tax equity. It will describe the current tax system, its general framework, progressive structure, complexity, biases and distorting features. It will explore who pays the tax, and how markets shift the tax burden.

Week 2
June 13, 2017

Understanding how fiscal changes impact the economy and deciding what to tax

This session will examine how the tax system slows economic development and hampers international competitiveness. It will explain why getting the tax base right is at least as important as reducing statutory tax rates, and examine alternative tax regimes. It will estimate what economic benefits might be attainable from a reform of the system, and will compare the results of moving to a pure income tax versus a pure expenditure tax.

Week 3
June 20, 2017

Modeling tax changes – which help, which hurt, how much?

This session will explain how the consequences of policy options can be determined and why they should guide the reform effort. It will discuss the benefits and limitations of dynamic versus static analysis and scoring of tax changes, explore which tax features harm growth the most, which potential reforms help the most, and which revenue offsets hurt the least. It will also present differing views of how to predict the effects of tax changes on economic growth.

Week 4
June 27, 2017

A close look at some major reform plans

The Cardin proposal, the Nunes plan, the House Republican Ways and Means Blueprint, others. How do they compare with the basic reform criteria? What is their growth potential, their budget implications? What elements drive their growth? What elements make their math work (or fail to)?

Week 5
July 11, 2017

International taxation

Territorial versus word-wide tax systems. Deferral and international competitiveness. Deemed repatriation and tax holidays. Location of intellectual property and patents; base erosion, profit shifting, and the EOECD “BEPS” initiative. The Blueprint’s destination-based cash flow tax; border adjustment, exchange rates, and their effect on trade, manufacturing, and retail.

Week 6
July 18, 2017

Tax reform, the budget, and the budget process

How the budget rules affect how you craft a tax reform plan. How the Blueprint’s designers may have had the budget process in mind. Alternative revenue sources, spending offsets, other means of coping with budget issues. Transition issues: are the deficit effects temporary or permanent? Are credits, cost recovery provisions, debt rules retroactive or prospective? Treatment of old versus new assets.

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Praise for Tax Foundation University

“The Tax Foundation University program is an exceptional opportunity for Congressional staff to hear from leading policy experts and professors on complex economic and fiscal issues facing Congress…I recommend this program to interested Senate and House staff.”

—U.S. Senate Republican Staffer

“This program covers it all – from basic principles to consumer and business behavior, growth and employment, government fiscal and monetary policy, tax reform, and trade.”

—Andy Halataei, Former Congressional Staffer