Alvin Rabushka

David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow, Emeritus
Biography: 

Alvin Rabushka is the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow, Emeritus 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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Analysis and Commentary

Want To Halt The Spread Of Socialist Ideas On American Campuses? Send All First-Year Students To Hong Kong For Orientation Week.

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Friday, August 16, 2019

Let’s send the Class of 2023 to Hong Kong for Orientation Week instead of the university to which they have been admitted.  Let American students meet with their Hong Kong counterparts to see why Hong Kong youngsters are on the front line risking life and limb for Liberty and standing up against socialist Tyranny in China.

Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution Collection, Box 2, Hoover Institution Archives
Analysis and Commentary

Hong Kong Residents Are Writing Their Chapter In The Annals Of Freedom

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Against impossible odds, Hong Kong youngsters and their supporters among the population, are making a remarkable stand for Liberty.  Ten weeks and counting, they are resisting a proposed law permitting extradition of Hong Kong residents to China and demanding  the right to elect their leaders, not having them picked by China.

Analysis and Commentary

Waiting For Godot With American Characteristics For The Modern Era

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, August 5, 2019

The Inspector General’s report on the origins of the Russian Collusion story (e.g., the FISA court warrants) was imminent last spring, definitely in June, for sure in July, well past due in August, now unquestionably due in September.

Analysis and Commentary

Why Are Americans Much Richer Than Mexicans?

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, July 29, 2019

According to the International Monetary Fund, per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in purchasing power parity (PPP) in the United States in 2017 was $59,495.  In Mexico, it was $19,480, 32.7% of that in the U.S.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Could Lose His Trade Dispute With China But Win Reelection

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Chinese purchases of U.S. soybeans could influence President Trump’s reelection prospects in 2020.

In 2016, Trump won the Midwestern agricultural states of Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas.

Analysis and Commentary

The Pros And Cons Of Trump’s Tariffs On Chinese Products

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, July 22, 2019

In July-August 2018, President Trump imposed 25% tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese high-tech goods imported into the United States.  He followed in September with 10% tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese products, which he subsequently raised to 25% on May 10, 2019.  The additional $200 billion of Chinese imports included lamps, air conditioners, vacuums, personal grooming items, handbags, raincoats, knitted hats, baseball gloves, headgear, bicycles, tuna, halibut, salmon, pears, dog leashes, collars, harnesses, diaries, toilet paper, tobacco, hammers, faucets, screwdrivers, and other consumer goods.

Analysis and Commentary

Summer Reading For The College Class of 2023

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Monday, July 15, 2019

Most colleges and universities have a summer reading program.  A faculty member or high-ranking administrator typically selects three books (or more) and sends them to every first-year and transfer student.  When they arrive on campus for orientation week, they discuss the readings with fellow students, faculty, and sometimes the authors of the books.

Analysis and Commentary

Why More Than A Million Hong Kong Residents Are Demonstrating Against A Proposed Law That Would Allow Hong Kong Government Officials To Extradite Them To China For Prosecution

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

On June 12, 2019, over a million Hong Kong residents took to the streets to protest a proposed law that would permit the Hong Kong Government to extradite residents, tourists, and foreign businessmen to China for prosecution (which could mean confiscation of wealth, torture, forced confessions, imprisonment, or worse), if mainland officials charge them with breaking a mainland law. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, after meeting with mainland officials across the border in Shenzhen on June 14, 2019, announced the next day an indefinite suspension of moving forward with passage of the law. 

Friedman FundamentalsFeatured

Fellows With Friedman

featuring John H. Cochrane, Michael J. Boskin, David R. Henderson, Thomas Sowell, Richard A. Epstein, Alvin Rabushka, Robert E. Hallvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 16, 2019

In a Wall Street Journalop-ed, “America Needs an Alternative Maximum Tax,” John Cochrane proposes a new kind of tax that caps the amount that people would pay in taxes to prevent indefinite tax-rate hikes. He asks, “How much is the most anyone should have to pay? When do taxes indisputably start to harm the economy and produce less revenue—when government takes 50% of people's income? 60%? 70%?” If there is a maximum amount that an individual pays, then once past that cap they wouldn’t pay any further federal income tax for that year.

Cambridge University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Explained Why Black Students Are Failing To Apply For Admission

by Alvin Rabushka
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

In June 2018, Britain’s education minister attacked Oxford and Cambridge universities (Oxbridge) for their “staggering” failure to attract more Black students. He warned that Oxbridge faces being fined unless they enroll a more diverse (more Blacks) student body.

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