Max Sawicky

Max B. Sawicky is an economist for the Economic Policy Institute. He has worked in the Office of State and Local Finance of the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

Mr. Sawicky has studied and written about the economics of public finance, including the federal budget, tax policy, the U.S. federal system, state and local finance, privatization, and welfare reform. His reports for the Economic Policy Institute include: "The Roots of the Public Sector Fiscal Crisis"; "The Poverty of the New Paradigm"; and "Up From Deficit Reduction." He is a co-author (with Craig Richards and Rima Shore) of Risky Business: Private Management of Public Schools, and editor of The End of Welfare? Consequences of Federal Devolution for the Nation.

Mr. Sawicky has been a contributor to USA Today, Newsday, the Newark Star-Ledger, the Austin-American Statesman, the San Diego News-Tribune, the Cincinatti Enquirer, the Houston Chronicle, the Dayton Daily News, In These Times, Challenge, the Progressive Populist, Dollars and Sense, Dissent, Aging Today, Social Policy, Jobs and Capital, Education Digest, the School Administrator, Social Forces, Intellectual Capital, the Review of Radical Political Economics, New Economy, and the New Zealand Journal of Industrial Relations. He is an at-large national board member of Americans for Democratic Action.

Mr. Sawicky received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park. He currently resides with his wife and daughter in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Recent Articles

Errors Of Commission

The President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform is about to disgorge its recommendations. Early reports suggest that it will push for three general changes:

  • Simplify the individual income tax by reducing or eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and some deductions;

  • Increase the exclusion of investment income from tax;

  • Consolidate tax benefits for working families with children.

The malignant pattern underlying the first two priorities is an increasing shift of the tax burden to labor compensation used by working people to finance basic needs -- in other words, to tax nothing but the wages that most people use to finance consumption.

Simplify This

The Easy Money

The Internal Revenue Service estimates that some $350 billion in taxes owed to the federal government is evaded or otherwise unpaid every year. That sum, also known as the “tax gap,” nearly equals the current federal budget deficit.

Debt and Taxes

The long-term insolvency of President George W. Bush's budget strategy is obscured by outrage -- otherwise justified -- over gratuitous and spiteful spending cuts. These cuts are real enough, but they are the battle the Bush administration would prefer to fight. To an important extent, the cuts are targeted at politically vulnerable populations. What the administration would prefer we ignore is the longer-term unsustainability of their policies, which also endanger our largest, most important, and popular entitlement programs.

Why Pay Down the Public Debt?

Your taxonomist and my friend, Robert McIntyre, has offered us a lesson on the merits of paying down public debt ["In Praise of Debt Reduction," September 11, 2000]. Everyone knows Bob's work on tax policy is invaluable, but his class on fiscal policy is one I'd rather cut.

How Do You Spell Relief?

Big tax cuts are in the
offing. The high priests of fiscal
discipline find their flocks deserting, egged on by
President George W.
Bush, the GOP, and the Janus-faced Federal Reserve Board
chairman. But
who will get the benefit?

Critics of Bush's tax-cut plan in both parties appear to be
at
something of a loss to propose alternatives that aren't
slightly
souped-up versions of Vice President Al Gore's proposals or
scaled-down
versions of Bush's. The possibility of tax cuts that are big
and good at
the same time seems to elude them, and time is running out.

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