Alvin Rabushka

David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow, Emeritus

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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Recent Commentary

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.

Analysis and Commentary

How To Ease The Growing Metal Health Crisis On Campus

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Here are some recent headlines: “Massive survey finds 1 in 3 college freshman struggle with mental health.” (Research published by the American Psychological Association) “The College Student Mental Health Crisis.” (Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors survey of counseling center directors).

Analysis and Commentary

Why Students Attending Elite Universities And Colleges Are Attracted To Socialism

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The newest categories of students receiving preferential admission at elite universities and colleges are First Generation (households in which one or both parents did not attend college) and Low Income (households that cannot afford the cost of tuition and fees). FG students make up as much as 20% of admissions and LI up to 27%.

Analysis and Commentary

An Analysis Of Admissions In Elite Universities And Colleges For The Class Of 2023

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

In the past two decades, almost every elite university and liberal arts college has reduced White admissions from a majority to a steadily decreasing minority of its undergraduate students. They boast of this achievement on their web sites and in their admission brochures. In 2019, the share of White admissions to elite schools ranges from 21% to 36% less than Whites as a share of the U.S. population. One can plot the reduction in White admissions over the past 20 years from the published numbers in their Common Data Sets.

Analysis and Commentary

Harvard President Larry Bacow Proclaimed Diversity Of Thought At A Speech At Peking University On March 20, 2019

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Harvard President Larry Bacow, speaking at Peking University six weeks before the centennial of the May Fourth Movement, stated that the purpose of a university is the search for truth, which “has to be discovered, revealed through argument and experiment, tested on the anvil of opposing explanations and ideas,” in short, academic freedom.
Analysis and Commentary

Why Rich White Parents Pay Bribes To Get Their Children Admitted To Elite Universities

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Elite universities have gone overboard in reducing White admissions to expand those of People of Color and international applicants.

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Say It Ain’t So Joe, Say It Ain’t So!

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Thursday, March 14, 2019

In 1919, a gambling syndicate led by Arnold Rothstein bribed players on the Chicago White Sox to throw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. This became known as the Black Sox scandal. Gambling on baseball remains so abhorrent that to this day Pete Rose, who had the most hits in baseball history, but who gambled on the outcome of games, has been blocked from Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Analysis and Commentary

North America Is Much Richer Than Latin America. Is This Fact Relevant For Immigration Policy?

by Alvin Rabushkavia Thoughtful Ideas
Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Economists measure gross domestic product per capita (at purchasing power parity, PPP) as the value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given year divided by the average (or mid-year) population for the same year.




The Russian Economy