In the News

Alan Auerbach in the news:

Price increase takes effect after implementation of Berkeley’s ‘soda tax’

Alan Auerbach cited in The Daily Californian, Oct. 8, 2015

Alan Auerbach … said the study didn’t account for the potential shift of soda purchases from Berkeley to Oakland in response to the tax.

Tax plan is classic Trump: Looks populist, but helps the rich

Alan Auerbach quoted in San Francisco Chronicle (registration required), September 28, 2015

The overall result of Trump’s plan, said Auerbach, “is sort of a bizarre hybrid between Obama’s plan and what Republicans want. It’s sort of Obama’s plan without the revenue.”

The top 4 things the GOP won’t tell you about Ronald Reagan

Alan Auerbach quoted on, September 16, 2015

“At the end of the day, Reagan had very strong views on issues like tax cuts and military build-up, but on the other hand he was willing to make deals,” Auerbach said. “As much as Reagan criticized the policies of his predecessor and criticized the policies of Democrats, he wasn’t going to shut the government down.”

Flat tax sounds simple, but it comes with complications

Alan Auerbach quoted in San Francisco Chronicle (registration required), Sept. 5, 2015

“The sales pitch sounds great,” said Alan Auerbach, a professor of economics and law at UC Berkeley. … “Then you’re going to have to tell people how you’re going to do it.”

China cuts interest rates as ripple effects of “Black Monday” continue

Alan Auerbach interviewed on KQED-FM, August 26, 2015

“The government of China is in a funny position. On the one hand, China has a very rapidly growing economy, and in many respects, a very capitalist economy, and yet it has a government trying to maintain control as the old Communist government did.… And sometimes that comes in conflict with a normal working of an economy.”

GOP strategist Christie: Tax revenues rose after Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003

Alan Auerbach interviewed by, June 17, 2015

Reasonable people can use different years as a starting  point for comparison. Bush didn’t take office until early 2001 and the tax cuts didn’t take full effect until the start of 2002. Plus, economist Alan Auerbach … reminded us that there was a recession between March 2001 and November 2001. “The effects of the recession on revenue are likely to swamp any effects of tax policy,” Auerbach said.

Lawmakers to vote on $117.5B budget without Brown sign-off

Alan Auerbach quoted in San Jose Mercury News, June 15, 2015

“The governor is a very good politician, but he’s not the only politician in Sacramento,” said Alan Auerbach.

State bill could raise local sales taxes

Alan Auerbach quoted in State Tax Notes Magazine, (registration required) April 13, 2015

Alan Auerbach … said the push for additional tax revenue came despite an already improving state economy. He said the cap on property tax growth in California’s Proposition 13 was to blame. “If you look at local governments in California, they’re not getting as much property tax revenues as others” in different states, he said.

Patching up the social safety net

Alan Auerbach quoted in The New York Times, March 17, 2015

The great irony, Professor Auerbach notes, is that “inequality is increasing yet our ability to do anything about it is weakening.” The main job for any Democratic president might not be to bolster the nation’s social insurance apparatus but simply to hold the line.

Finding the funds for infrastructure improvement

Alan Auerbach interviewed by WBUR, On Point, February 5, 2015

“We’ve seen evidence of collapsing bridges and crumbling highways around the country. There’s no doubt that, as we’ve spent money on a lot of other things in the U.S., infrastructure spending has really lagged behind.”

Barack Obama claims deficit has decreased by two-thirds since taking office

Alan Auerbach quoted in Tampa Bay Times,, January 20, 2015

“It’s not clear one would want to view the evolution as relating to fiscal responsibility rather than an improving economy.”

MSNBC contributor says national debt is at its lowest point since World War II

Alan Auerbach quoted in Tampa Bay Times, “The Truth-O-Meter Says,” November 14, 2013

The story is the same for the 2012 federal deficit, which fell to 7 percent of GDP but was larger than any year since the end of World War II. In fact, as … Alan Auerbach pointed out, the federal government had budget surpluses while Bill Clinton was president.

Q&A: the government shutdown and its aftermath

Alan Auerbach interviewed by Commonwealth Club Blog, October 21, 2013

“An economy, which hasn’t been growing strongly since the recession, will grow even more slowly.” Auerbach went on to say that shutting down the government will cost us money.

Digging deep into federal default scenarios

Alan Auerbach interviewed by National Public Radio, On Point, October 10, 2013

“I don’t see how the largest economy in the world defaulting on its national debt isn’t a big deal. This is likely to raise the U.S. government’s borrowing rate and lead to a severe loss of credibility that the U.S. government can deal with the important issues it faces—not just on budget issues, but on other issues. If the U.S. government can’t even handle this issue, then why should our allies around the world think that we can deal with other important questions?”

Tax earnings where products are sold

Alan Auerbach writes for The New York Times, Room for Debate, May 30, 2013

Our corporate tax is showing its age…. The fundamental problem is our reliance on the concepts of residence, or where a company is located, and source, or where the company’s assets and production activities are located. These concepts may have worked reasonably well in the 1930s, but they do not hold up when confronting a multinational company with global operations.

Some breaks for industries are retained in fiscal deal

Alan Auerbach quoted in The New York Times, January 2, 2013

“Once they get in, they tend to stay in,” said Alan Auerbach, director of the Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance at the University of California, Berkeley.

GOP lacks incentive to provide details

Alan Auerbach quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, October 16, 2012

“There’s a deeper problem, because if they preserve a lot of these middle-class deductions (like the mortgage tax deduction), and they also say they’re going to avoid lowering taxes and raising the deficit, and they’re also not going to raise taxes on savings as investment and capital gains,” Auerbach said, “then they’ve boxed themselves in such a way that they can’t meet all their objectives.”

At Stanford, answers to the political question: How’s the economy?

Alan Auerbach quoted Stanford Report, September 26, 2012

According to Auerbach, the current drag on most of these economic indicators is a lack, not of private sector growth, but of government spending…. “The general impression is that government has grown or is out of control under the Obama administration,” said Auerbach. “But what’s actually holding us back is very weak growth in the government.”

Siemens plant in Charlotte offers lessons as Obama, Romney talk job creation

Alan Auerbach quoted in The Washington Post, September 4, 2012

Auerbach, who has studied the economic effects of tax cuts, said lower taxes on savings and investment do cause people to plow more money into new investments, which “should lead to faster economic growth.” But “how much, how fast” is harder to say, Auerbach said. And that approach is, in any case, less likely to be effective in a sluggish economy, he said, when businesses are holding back on new investments not because they do not have the cash, but because they are “looking first at whether they can sell stuff.”

Economists to Romney campaign: That’s not what our research says

Alan Auerbach quoted in The Washington Post, August 8, 2012

I e-mailed Auerbach the relevant quote from the Romney campaign’s paper, and added…. Do you think that reporters like me should assume that the 0.5-1% gdp boost is a reliable base case? His response came quickly. “I did not see the [Romney campaign's] paper, but from your description the basic answer to both of your questions is ‘no’,” he replied. His paper looked at “a much bigger tax change than Romney is proposing.” It also “assumed that all tax changes were revenue-neutral on an annual basis; the size of the Romney tax cuts makes this a questionable assumption.”