Alvin Rabushka

David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow, Emeritus
Biography: 

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

The Death Of Think Tanks, Part Three

by Alvin Rabushka
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Look around at the researchers who staff the ranks of America's leading think tanks. The vast majority tout their experience in the administrations of presidents Obama, both Bushes, Clinton, going as far back as Reagan. Many who served with Bush 43 served with Bush 41. Many who served with Obama served with Clinton.

The Death Of Think Tanks, Part Two

by Alvin Rabushka
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Throughout the presidential election, with the exception of The Heritage Foundation, the overwhelming majority of think tankers across the political spectrum from liberal to conservative vigorously (viciously) opposed Trump.

Analysis and Commentary

The Death Of Think Tanks

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, February 6, 2017

The blogosphere is alive with chatter about the possible death of think tanks. In marked contrast with previous presidents, Trump has not drawn his economic advisers from think tank land.

Tax cuts and reforms
Analysis and Commentary

The Great William E. Gladstone On Tax Cuts

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Let the money fructify in the pockets of the people."

Morning in America

by Alvin Rabushka
Monday, January 23, 2017

Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen.

“Free At Last”

by Alvin Rabushka
Friday, January 20, 2017

Free from the Clintons. Free from Obama. Free from the Bushes.

Analysis and Commentary

New Year's Wish For 2017

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Sunday, January 1, 2017

From the moment Donald Trump rode down the escalator in Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, to declare his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, he has been subjected to a vicious stream of attacks and criticisms from the left, center, and Republican establishment all the way through his nomination, election, and transition.

Analysis and Commentary

The 15% Flat Tax Continues To Percolate In Italy

by Alvin Rabushkavia Flat Tax
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Armando Siri explains his 15% Flat Tax in Italian.

Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson Is An Honorable Man

by Alvin Rabushka
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

To my esteemed, award-winning colleague and friend, Niall Ferguson, I say:  Welcome back from the dark side.  It takes guts to admit one’s mistake as Niall did at the Milken Institute in December 2016, when he said he was wrong to oppose Brexit.  In future visits to Britain, he vows to spend more time in pubs and less time fraternizing with establishment politicians.

Analysis and Commentary

Think Tanks On A Shoestring

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, self-driving cars, robotic vacuums, sex dolls (sexbots), chatbots, waiterbots, and other robot applications are transforming the world. Can think tank bots be far behind?

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