Alvin Rabushka

David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow, Emeritus

Alvin Rabushka is the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow, Emiritus at the Hoover Institution.

He is the author or coauthor of numerous books in the areas of race and ethnicity, aging, taxation, state and local government finances, and economic development. His books include Politics in Plural Societies (originally published in 1972 and reissued in 2008 with a foreword and epilogue); A Theory of Racial Harmony; The Urban Elderly Poor; Old Folks at Home; The Tax Revolt; The Flat Tax; From Adam Smith to the Wealth of America; Hong Kong: A Study in Economic Freedom; and the New China. Rabushka’s most recent publication is Taxation in Colonial America, which received Special Recognition as a 2009 Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award.

He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and in national newspapers. He has consulted for, and testified before, a number of congressional committees. In 1980, he served on President Ronald Reagan's Tax Policy Task Force.

Rabushka's books and articles on the flat tax (with Robert E. Hall) provided the intellectual foundation for numerous flat tax bills that were introduced in Congress during the 1980s and 1990s and the proposals of several presidential candidates in 1996 and 2000. He was recognized in Money magazine's twentieth-anniversary issue "Money Hall of Fame" for the importance of his flat tax proposal in bringing about passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986. His pioneering work on the flat tax contributed to the adoption of the flat tax in Jamaica, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Mongolia, Mauritius, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Kygyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Trinidad and Tobago, Pridnestrovie (Transdniestra), several Swiss Cantons, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has also drafted flat tax plans for Austria, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Canada, and Slovenia.

Rabushka received his AB in Far Eastern studies from Washington University (St. Louis) in 1962, followed by his MA and PhD degrees in political science from Washington University in 1966 and 1968. In 2007, he was honored as a distinguished alumnus of the School of Arts and Sciences at Washington University.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Conserving Water With California Characteristics

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The 2016-17 rainy season in California broke a five-year drought.  During those dry years, the state and local governments imposed a number of regulations to conserve water.  For example, new homes could not have lawns, watering outdoor plants was limited to specific hours of the day two days a week, and washing cars with running water was forbidden.  Some restrictions have been eased while others remain in place.  There are no guarantees when it comes to predicting annual rainfall in California.

Analysis and Commentary

Currency Manipulation. Who Is Manipulating Whom?

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

During the presidential campaign, President Trump repeatedly accused China of manipulating its currency, devaluing the Yuan, to gain advantage in its trade with the United States.  Devaluing the Yuan makes Chinese goods cheaper in the US and US goods more costly in China. This was, in Trump’s view, a source of the large trade deficit with China, and loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Analysis and Commentary

Protecting Chinese Americans And Other Asian Americans From Charges of Racism, Slavery And White Privilege

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Friday, August 25, 2017

Many Chinese-Americans have the surname Lee.  All of a sudden, thanks to ESPN and one of its football announcers named Robert Lee, any Asian with the first name Robert and last name Lee, spelled L-e-e, has become identified with the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and thus a symbol and presumed supporter of racism, slavery and even White privilege, as strange as that may sound.

Analysis and Commentary

President Trump Goes To War: Afghanistan Redux

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, August 24, 2017

In his maiden foreign policy speech of August 21, 2017, President Donald Trump sketched out his plan for “winning” the war in Afghanistan.  Trump also warned Pakistan that if it did not stop harboring terrorists, he would cut off several hundred million dollars in aid and attack Taliban sanctuaries inside Pakistan.  His plan marks a continuation of the war as fought under presidents Bush and Obama, but with changes in the rules of military activity favoring U.S. forces.

Analysis and Commentary

What Did Trump Do Wrong?

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trump did not launch two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Trump did not overthrow Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who had abandoned his nuclear weapons, and thrust Libya into civil war.

Analysis and Commentary

Ten Steps To Increase Conservative Ideas On Campus

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, July 27, 2017

Diversity has been and remains the watchword on America’s college and university campuses for half-a-century.  In practice, diversity means affirmative action to increase the number and percentage of women and minorities among undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and high-level administrators.

Lyrics For The College And University Classes Of 2021

by Alvin Rabushka
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In a previous post, your friendly proprietor alerted you to dozens of words that can be hurled at you if you dare to think for yourself and reject the progressive narrative.

Summer Reading List for College And University Classes Of 2021

by Alvin Rabushka
Monday, July 17, 2017

Most colleges and universities send their entering classes a list of books to read during the summer. It provides common ground for the frosh to discuss new ideas with each other and faculty during orientation.

Analysis and Commentary

Make China Great Again

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, July 3, 2017

Every Chinese knows the outlines of Chinese history from its founding four thousand years ago as the most advanced civilization in the world, to its decline under Western imperialism in the 19th century, to its rebirth in the late 20th century.

“One Country, Two Systems” Is Not A Durable Formula To Sustain The Autonomy Of A Small Entity That Is Embedded In A Much Larger, More Powerful Entity

by Alvin Rabushka
Thursday, June 29, 2017

“One Country, Two Systems” is the formula negotiated by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s for the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from Britain to China, effective July 1, 1997. The formula established Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of China, known as the HKSAR. Deng’s “One Country, Two Systems” formula guaranteed the HKSAR a high degree of autonomy for 50 years.



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