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

Sub-Saharan Africa Is Really Really Poor

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

President Trump has instructed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to take an extended trip to Africa in March 2018. Perhaps the purpose of his trip is to sooth the hurt feelings and anger of African leaders over the unsavory remarks President Trump allegedly made about African countries in discussing U.S. immigration policy.

Analysis and Commentary

Prosperità Per L’Italia

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Saturday, January 20, 2018

Italy is a wonderful country.  It has spectacular monuments, museums, churches, castles, cuisine, wine, and beautiful women:  Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Claudia Cardinale, Monica Vitti, and Virna Lisi to name a few.

Analysis and Commentary

Sweden’s Cashless Economy Comes To America

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

On Tuesday morning, January 2, 2018, I went to the local post office in Palo Alto to mail a book. There was no line. I walked up to the counter, was greeted by a friendly employee, and placed the package on the scale.

Analysis and Commentary

Evaluating Trump’s Tax Cut And Tax Reform

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The commentariat has spilled millions of gallons of digital ink and spoken millions of syllables on the pros and cons of President Trump’s tax cut and the degree to which it represents real tax reform.

Analysis and Commentary

Blue State Blues. The High-Income, Liberal California Professoriate Will Pay Higher Taxes Thanks To President Trump

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, December 28, 2017

The most wonderful sight of this Holiday Season is watching high-income residents in Blue states squirm over losing some, in many cases a lot, of their prized deduction for state and local taxes to a $10,000 cap. 

Taking Stock Of 2017. Keep Winning In 2018.

by Alvin Rabushka
Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017 was a great year.  Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States.  That alone is reason enough to break out your best champagne on New Year’s Eve.

Analysis and Commentary

How Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis Would Deal With Sexual Misconduct

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

No person in the media that engages in sexual misconduct, no person in the media that entertains proposals to engage in sexual misconduct, no person in the media that sits in a conference with a bunch of sexual miscreants and where the ways and means of sexual misconduct are discussed, and does not promptly tell his employer about it, will ever again work in the media.

Analysis and Commentary

Giving Thanks

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, November 23, 2017

First and foremost, Donald J. Trump, not Hillary R. Clinton, is president. That is reason alone to celebrate every day as Thanksgiving. Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, not an ideological clone of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Sonia Sotomayor that Hillary Clinton would have appointed.

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.

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