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

Analysis and Commentary

Democracy Follies, II

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, January 11, 2016

Why did President George W. Bush believe, after the invasion, overthrow of Saddam Hussein and occupation of Iraq in 2003, that he could establish a viable democracy within the artificial borders of Iraq that were drawn by the colonial powers after World War I? 

Analysis and Commentary

Democracy Follies

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The title of this post is "Democracy Follies," as in the first three definitions of folly. For decades, but especially following the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. government has tried to promote the establishment of democracies in the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere around the globe.

Analysis and Commentary

Presidential Candidates Looking For A Few Good Economic Policy Ideas And Advisers

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Friday, January 1, 2016

The annual meeting of the American Economics Association takes place in San Francisco during January 3-5, 2016. Its timing is fortuitous as it precedes the next Republican presidential primary debate on January 14, 2016.

Federal Reserve
Analysis and Commentary

The Federal Reserve Feeds The Federal Government With Free Funds

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Since the eruption of the financial crisis, the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) has increased to a factor of 5.2, from $867 billion on August 8, 2007, to $4,497 billion on December 23, 2015.

Analysis and Commentary

Secretary Of Defense Ashton Carter Must Not Have Known About Hillary Clinton's Use of A Personal Email Address To Conduct Government Business

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Sunday, December 20, 2015

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is a brilliant man. He has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, and is well known in scientific and technological circles.

Econ Log
Analysis and Commentary

Kudos To EconLog

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
EconLog is among the top economics blogs and among my favorites. I open it daily and sometimes several times a day.
Analysis and Commentary

Update: America Has No Arab Allies

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, December 10, 2015

His comments state the reality of so-called Arab allies. Carter acknowledged a missing element in the campaign: a more assertive role by Sunni Arab allies from the Gulf in the effort against Islamic State, a Sunni extremist group.

Analysis and Commentary

Swedish Banks Are Government Informants

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Sweden is the leading example of a "cashless" economy. Currency in circulation has been steadily declining in recent years, reaching a low of SEK 68.9 billion on October 15, 2015.

Analysis and Commentary

Who Are America's Arab Allies? Do We Have Any?

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, December 7, 2015

Those Democrat and Republican presidential candidates that propose to defeat ISIS by putting 10,000-20,000 troops on the ground to advise and assist our Arab allies repeat over and over again that our Arab allies will have to bear the brunt of the load in supplying troops.

Analysis and Commentary

How Democrats Can Win (Republicans Can Lose) The Senate In 2016

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Saturday, November 28, 2015

Here are the numbers. Elections will be held for 34 Senate seats. Of these, Republicans hold 24 and Democrats 10. Political analysts have identified ten states in which seats are most likely to flip between parties. Of these, 8 are Republican and 2 are Democrat.

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