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Author:Altig, David E. 

Working Paper
Did the 2017 Tax Reform Discriminate against Blue State Voters?

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) made significant changes to corporate and personal federal income taxation, including limiting the SALT (state and local property, income and sales taxes) deductibility to $10,000. States with high SALT tend to vote Democratic. This paper estimates the differential effect of the TCJA on red- and blue-state taxpayers and investigates the importance of the SALT limitation to this differential. We calculate the effect of permanent implementation of the TCJA on households using The Fiscal Analyzer: a life-cycle, consumption-smoothing program incorporating ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2019-7

Journal Article
Is household debt inhibiting the recovery?

An examination of the pattern of household debt and asset levels in a historical context, whose results cast doubt on the presumption that heavy consumer debt loads incurred during the 1980s are the cause of the economy's current sluggishness.
Economic Commentary , Issue Feb

Journal Article
Federal credit and insurance programs: beyond the deficit diversion

An examination of the budgetary and economic effects of federal credit and insurance programs, highlighting the problems inherent in making federal budget deficits the centerpiece of fiscal decisionmaking.
Economic Commentary , Issue Nov

Journal Article
Fiscal policy and fickle fortunes: what’s luck got to do with it?

The author contends that luck has played a major role in the fiscal fortunes of the 1990s. He (along with many others) is therefore concerned about the unquestioned presumption that projected budget surpluses are as good as achieved. Such a presumption, he says, is a shaky foundation from which to launch major new budget initiatives.
Economic Commentary , Issue Apr

Journal Article
Can conventional theory explain the unconventional recovery?

An argument that the sluggishness of the current economic recovery reflects a permanent, structural change in the economy that may not be easily addressed using the standard monetary/fiscal incentives called for in the conventional view of business cycles, and that structural adjustment is a critical component of all economic fluctuations.
Economic Commentary , Issue Apr

Working Paper
Surveying Business Uncertainty

We elicit subjective probability distributions from business executives about their own-firm outcomes at a one-year look-ahead horizon. In terms of question design, our key innovation is to let survey respondents freely select support points and probabilities in five-point distributions over future sales growth, employment, and investment. In terms of data collection, we develop and field a new monthly panel Survey of Business Uncertainty (SBU). The SBU began in 2014 and now covers about 1,750 firms drawn from all 50 states, every major nonfarm industry, and a range of firm sizes. We find ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2019-13

Journal Article
Monetary policy: an interpretation of 1994, a challenge for 1995

A perspective on the Federal Reserve's policy moves in 1994 to maintain the desired rate of monetary growth in the face of other rising market interest rates and a suggestion that the Fed adopt formal multiyear commitments to specific inflation objectives to enhance its credibility and allow it to focus on long-term objectives.
Economic Commentary , Issue Feb

Journal Article
What is the right inflation rate?

The primary objective of most of the world's central banks these days is to keep inflation low, and the range of inflation rates banks find acceptable appears to be around 2.5 to 3.5 percent. While banks may have hit on this range through trial and error, economic theory and empirical observations suggest a good reason for it.
Economic Commentary , Issue Sep

Journal Article
A simple proposal for privatizing Social Security

An argument that shifting to a privatized, funded and contribution-based Social Security system could provide undiminished benefits to current retirees while simultaneously preserving the promise of a secure retirement for today's workers and their descendants.
Economic Commentary , Issue May

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