U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, the Democratic Oregon legislator poised to be named the next Finance Committee chairman, is headlining a one-day conference at the USC Gould School of Law titled “Income Inequality: Is Tax Policy the Cause, the Cure or Irrelevant?”
Co-sponsored by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and USC Gould, the conference takes place on Feb. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wyden will deliver the keynote address at 12:45 p.m.
Leading experts will join Wyden to assess issues in measuring income inequality and analyze how tax policy both fosters and mitigates inequality, including Emmanuel Saez, economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Center for Equitable Growth; Scott Winship, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute; Miles Corak, University of Ottawa economics professor; and Leonard Burman, director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.
“We are honored to bring together such an extraordinary group of thinkers,” said USC Gould Professor Edward Kleinbard, the former chief of staff of the U.S. Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation and conference organizer. “We will tackle some key issues in tax policy that will be extremely important in the next year.”
Conference panel topics include measuring inequality; how the tax system creates inequality; tax policy or fiscal policy; and the income tax as an anti-poverty tool.
”Rising economic inequality is one of the great policy challenges of our generation,” said Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center, which is co-sponsoring the conference. “Tax policy has played an important role in both creating and mitigating inequality, and that will be a key part of upcoming tax reform debates. For that reason, it’s especially appropriate that Sen. Wyden, a tireless leader in the effort to achieve bipartisan tax reform, will be keynoting the conference.”
Wyden, a leading voice on tax, health care, international trade and electronic privacy, currently chairs the U.S. Senate energy committee. He was recently named one of the most effective members of Congress. In 2013, The Brookings Institution found Wyden had the highest number of bills making it through committee, a major obstacle in the legislative process.
The senator is expected to be the next Finance Committee chairman after the current chairman, Sen. Max Baucus, is confirmed as U.S. ambassador to China. The position of Finance Committee chair is considered one of the most powerful in Congress.
Wyden, a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Oregon Law School, served as an aide and adviser to Oregon Sen. Wayne Morse in the 1970s. In 1980, Wyden won a congressional seat after launching a grassroots campaign out of Portland, Ore. In 1996, he captured the Senate seat that was once held by Morse.
The conference is free and open to the public. Click here to register.