Kleinbard tells us the hard truths

by Justine Dodgen

Edward Kleinbard at the lectern
Edward Kleinbard at the lectern

Edward D. Kleinbard’s solution to America’s economic inequality might seem pretty revolutionary. Last month, The LA Times quoted Kleinbard as saying, “the left sees me as a Wall Street Journal Satanist, and the right as a stealth Marxian bent on destroying free enterprise.” When you have a plan to reduce inequality without raising taxes on the rich, you can see why both sides might be looking for a catch.

On December 2, the Bedrosian Center will host Edward D. Kleinbard to discuss his new book We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money. In his book, Kleinbard asserts that the national fiscal policy debate should focus on spending as well as taxation.

Kleinbard writes, “The right focus is not how progressively we finance government spending (i.e., tax ourselves), but rather the net effect of both sides of the equation- government taxing and government spending. Does the combination of the two advance or retard Americans’ prospects for a decent standard of living and equality of opportunity?”

Kleinbard has been a professor of law and business at USC’s Gould School of Law since 2009 and is also a fellow at The Century Foundation. He is an expert on American fiscal policy and his research interests include the political economy of taxation, the taxation of capital income, and international tax issues.

Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Kleinbard was chief of staff to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s nonpartisan tax resource. JCT staff help formulate legislation, analyze legislative proposals or tax issues of interest to Congress, and also review revenue consequences of legislative proposals. He previously spent three decades in private law practice and was a partner in the New York office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

Kleinbard continues to testify before Congress and other government committees on tax policy issues. He also writes frequently for popular new outlets, including a recent New York Times article and a revealing piece on Mitt Romney’s true tax burden.

Kleinbard calls himself a “Dutch uncle,” meaning that he tells us the hard truths even if we don’t want to hear them. But according to Jared Bernstein, former economic advisor to President Obama, he’s considerably friendlier than that.

Kleinbard received his J.D. from Yale Law School, and his M.A. in History and B.A. in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Brown University.

His book will be available for purchase and signing at the event. To register for this free event, click here.