Taxing Times: Ending Cronyism in the Code
11-15-2016 02:30pm

Taxing Times: Ending Cronyism in the Code

Did you know that for the first 26 years of the federal income tax, the tax code only grew from 400 to 504 pages? Even President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Era kept the code well under 1,000 pages. Today, the code is just shy of 75,000 pages and 10 million words in length.

It’s no secret that the U.S. tax code houses numerous special carve-outs given by politicians to their favorite groups—often benefitting the privileged few. Are these preferences making the code far more complicated and costly to administer? Do the well-connected few, especially those who can afford experts to navigate the tax code for them, have an unfair advantage over ordinary Americans?

To address these and other questions, the Charles Koch Institute will host an important conversation about government-granted privilege, commonly called “corporate welfare” or “cronyism,” within the tax code and what it means for the average American. The expert panel will feature Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University; Tim Carney, senior political columnist for The Washington Examiner and visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; and Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. Dana Wade, senior research fellow at the Charles Koch Institute, will moderate what promises to be an interesting and timely discussion.



Timothy P. Carneysenior political columnist at the Washington Examiner and visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
Tim is author of Obamanomics (2009) and The Big Ripoff (2006), which won the Templeton Enterprise Award from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the 2006 Lysander Spooner Award for the “best book on liberty.” He was a 2012 Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Hillsdale College, and he sits on the board of visitors for the Institute for Political Journalism. He lives in the DC area with his wife and six children.

Steve Ellisvice president at Taxpayers for Common Sense
Steve joined Taxpayers for Common Sense in 1999, and he currently oversees programs and serves as a leading media and legislative spokesperson for the organization. A persistent critic of the mounting budget deficit and federal fiscal policy, Steve has testified before numerous congressional committees and has appeared on all the major national broadcast networks. His expertise ranges from taxes to earmarks to flood insurance, with a lot of spending issues in between. Steve served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for six years and received a bachelor of science in government from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Veronique De Rugysenior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Veronique’s primary research interests include the U.S. economy, federal budget, homeland security, taxation, tax competition, and financial privacy. Her work has been featured in ReasonNational ReviewBloombergThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal and on CNN and Stossel. In 2015, she was named one of Politico Magazine‘s Top 50 “thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American Politics.” Before moving to the United States, she oversaw academic programs in France for the Institute for Humane Studies, Europe. She received her master’s degree in economics from the Paris Dauphine University and her doctorate in economics from the Pantheon-Sorbonne University.


Dana Wadesenior research fellow at the Charles Koch Institute
Dana spent several years on Capitol Hill before joining the Charles Koch Institute. Most recently, she served as deputy staff director of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and as Republican deputy staff director of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. She also worked for Rep. Paul Ryan on the House Budget Committee and for Senator John McCain during the 2008 presidential race. Her private sector experience includes working for the Options Clearing Corporation and for Accenture. Dana graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s in economics and earned a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

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