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

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Stop the Bailout

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 30, 1998

Teetering on the verge of collapse, the Russian banking system is threatening to bring the entire Russian economy down with it. Hoover fellows Michael S. Bernstam and Alvin Rabushka argue that Russia’s banks need to be reformed, not bailed out.

The Handover Hangover

by Alvin Rabushka, David Newmanvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 30, 1998

How has Hong Kong fared during the first fifteen months of Chinese rule? In almost every respect, its people are worse off. By Hoover fellow Alvin Rabushka and David Newman.

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Why Aid to Israel Hurts . . . Israelis

by Alvin Rabushkavia Hoover Digest
Thursday, July 30, 1998

The United States gives Israel roughly $4 billion a year. How is it used? “To bail out or prop up every money-losing socialist institution in the country.” By Hoover fellow Alvin Rabushka.

Hong Kong Under Chinese Rule: The First Year

by Alvin Rabushkavia Analysis
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

July 1, 1998, marks the first anniversary of Hong Kong under Chinese rule. How has Hong Kong fared during its first year as the newly created Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region of China (HKSAR)? The one positive story was the HKSAR's successful defense of the fixed link between the Hong Kong dollar and the U.S. dollar, which serves as backing for Hong Kong currency. In almost every other respect, the people of Hong Kong are worse off than they were during the last years of British colonial rule. The greatest setback was in the political arena. Nearly two million Hong Kong residents lost the right to vote in the May 24, 1998, elections for thirty of the sixty representatives of the HKSAR's legislature, who were chosen from functional constituencies. In general, the principle of one man, one vote was violated in favor of extremely complicated, three-tiered, rigged electoral arrangements to ensure that pro-China candidates would constitute a legislative majority. Several civil liberties were eliminated or reduced. Mainland Chinese cronyism was reflected in the purchase of substantial stakes in Hong Kong firms by Hong Kong branches of mainland firms at a substantial discount to market prices, until the Asian financial crisis transformed connections with mainland business and political organizations from an asset into a liability. The stock and property markets lost up to half their peak August 1997 value. English-language education was curtailed over the objections of parents and students as numerous schools that formerly taught in English were converted into Chinese-language schools.

Supply-Side Success As China's tax burden has fallen its GDP has soared

The Great Tax Cut of China

by Alvin Rabushkavia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 30, 1998

Care for definitive proof that supply-side policies spur economic growth? Take a look at communist China. By Hoover fellow Alvin Rabushka.

Fixing Russia's Banks:A Proposal for Growth

Fixing Russia's Banks: A Proposal for Growth

by Michael S. Bernstam, Alvin Rabushkavia Books by Hoover Fellows
Thursday, January 1, 1998

Failing to fix Russia's banks risks further economic stagnation or decline and financial catastrophe.

Map of China and Hong Kong

Promises, Promises

by Alvin Rabushkavia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Before taking over Hong Kong on July 1, mainland China promised to permit Hong Kong a wide degree of autonomy.Will China keep its promises? Hoover fellow Alvin Rabushka says no—and argues that it has already begun breaking them.

Freedom's Fall in Hong Kong

by Alvin Rabushkavia Analysis
Thursday, May 1, 1997

On July 1, 1997, the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong becomes the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. China has signed an international treaty with Britain and issued a Basic Law, or miniconstitution, for Hong Kong; these promise that Hong Kong can remain autonomous for fifty years after 1997, save in matters of security and diplomacy, and ensure that Hong Kong people will continue to enjoy their rights and freedoms under Hong Kong law.

China has made a mockery of these promises and guarantees. China has dissolved Hong Kong's duly elected Legislative Council and replaced it with a handpicked assembly. China has set up a mechanism that will nominate a new chief justice who will do China's bidding. China has scrapped or modified a number of existing laws, thereby rolling back Hong Kong's current civil liberties. China has placed editorial consultants inside leading Hong Kong newspapers. China has announced restrictions on press freedom, freedom of assembly, freedom of political parties to solicit funds, and freedom of demonstration. China has indicated that English education will be downgraded. And, in a marked departure from Hong Kong's level economic playing field, China's state-owned firms have acquired Hong Kong assets at substantial discount to market. These below-market acquisitions presage a new era of graft, cronyism, connections, and bribery for Hong Kong under Chinese rule.

RED FLAG OVER HONG KONG

with Alvin Rabushka, Lawrence Lauvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, February 26, 1997

Hoover fellow Alvin Rabushka and Stanford professor Larry Lau discuss the impact of China assuming control of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997.

RED FLAG OVER HONG KONG

by Alvin Rabushka, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, David Newmanvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 1996

On July 1, 1997, the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong will cease to exist, becoming instead the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Will the new Hong Kong continue to flourish or stagnate? Hoover fellows Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alvin Rabushka and their coauthor, David Newman, assert that we will all be able to learn a great deal by watching the value of a single, critical item, the Hong Kong dollar.

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